KATHMANDU, JUNE 29
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development Ghanashyam Bhusal today observed the 17th National Paddy Day by inaugurating a land pooling farming scheme in Udayapur District.
Inaugurating a farm comprising over 160.5 bigha land developed via land pooling at Triyuga Municipality, Minister Bhusal said land pooling farming should be promoted to minimise farming costs and increase production and productivity.
“The government has adopted the policy of promoting land pooling to increase production in the country,” he said, adding, “Farming through land pooling should be practised to discourage the import of rice in the country.” It will also help promote commercial farming, he said.
According to Baldev Chaudhary, mayor of Triyuga Municipality, the land pooling farming that started in the municipality is a 25-year project with an estimated budget of Rs 50 million.
So far, a total of Rs 5.4 million has been invested, of which the Agriculture Development Directory has chipped in Rs 3.4 million.
Farming has started in coordination with Agriculture Knowledge Centre, Village Development Centre and 15 farmers of the municipality.
According to Chaudhary, the team plans to farm throughout the year.
Along with paddy, other vegetables and fruits will also be cultivated in the farm. “We expect this project to be a success and we are also preparing to begin land pooling in other wards of the municipality,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture celebrated the National Paddy Day at National Agriculture Research Centre, Khumaltar, today with the slogan ‘Paddy production growth for self-dependency and prosperity of the country’.
The department held the celebrations following the health protocol of using face masks and sanitisers and maintaining social distance among participants.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, paddy plantation has been completed in over around 300,000 hectares land across the country so far. This year, the ministry expects both the plantation and production of paddy to increase.
Last year, paddy had been planted on 1.4 million hectares land and production of rice was 5.5 million tonnes. However, it is to be noted that each year the country has to import around Rs 1.5 billion worth of rice.
Paddy production alone contributes over 20 per cent to the total agricultural production of Nepal, while the agriculture sector contributes around 27 per cent to the national gross domestic product.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 30, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.