The Terai region is considered as the ‘bread basket’ of Nepal. However, it too is facing deficit food production this year. Even the ten major food surplus districts in the Terai region have insufficient production right now. A total of 43 out of 75 districts are facing food deficit in Nepal.
Since the major food producing region itself is facing food deficit, it will impact food availability and food security throughout the country. Also, food import bills will rise, further increasing total trade deficit. The table below shows that Mountain and Hill regions have deficit food production. Apart from the production in Terai region, a large amount is imported to meet total food demand. [Note that one ton= 1000 kg and 1mt = 10^6 tons].
|Cereal production (mega tons) in FY 2009/10|
|Region||Total edible production||Total requirement||Balance||% balance of total requirement|
Food insufficient districts in Terai region: Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusa, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Chitwan, Dang and Kailali
Districts with decreasing food surplus in Terai region: Jhapa, Morang, Bara, Parsa, Nawalparasi, Banke, Bardia, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Kanchanpur
Reason for deficit production: uncontrolled urbanization and plotting of agriculture land for real estate
Nepal imported 350,000 tons of food grains during fiscal year 2009/10. Nepal´s average food grains import for the past five years before 2009/10 was 250,000 tons a year. The government had estimated food deficit of 316,000 tons across the country in 2009/10.
Good prospect in FY 2010/11 (adapted from Republica)
Buoyed by 11 percent rise in cereal crop production in 2009/10, the government expects food surplus of 10,000 to 15,000 tons in 2010/11. The government has put paddy, maize, wheat, millet, barley and buckwheat under cereal crop category.The MoCA has projected rise in production of all crops except jute, tobacco and black cardamom.
According to MoCA´s projections, total cereal production increased to 8.61 million tons during 2010/11, up from 7.76 million tons recorded in the last fiscal year. Maize and paddy production increased by 10.85 percent and 11.45 percent respectively to 4.46 million tons and 2.06 million tons respectively compared to the figures of last year.
Production of wheat increased by 12 percent to 1.74 million tons, while barley production rose by 10 percent to 30,000 tons. Production of millet and buckwheat increased to 303,000 tons and 8,841 tons respectively.
Reason for good harvest: favorable monsoon, increasing use of improved seeds, easy availability of chemical fertilizers and lower rates of crop damage due to natural disasters.