By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Feb : 16 Nepal has been spending billions of rupees in the import of cereals for consumption.
According to the trade statistics of the Department of Customs, the county imported cereals worth Rs. 26.62 billion during the first six months of the current fiscal year.
During the review period, rice worth Rs. 15.23 billion, wheat worth Rs. 3.45 billion and maize worth Rs. 7.93 billion imported.
The import of rice slightly decreased in the review period compared to the same period last fiscal year. Rice worth Rs. 17.33 billion was imported in first six months of the last fiscal year 2018/19.
However, the import of maize and wheat increased; the country imported maize worth Rs. 6.7 billion and wheat worth Rs. 3.09 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year 2018/19.
The country imported cereals wroth Rs. 27.12 billion in the first six months of the last fiscal year.
According to spokesperson of Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Dr. Hari Bahadur KC, the import of rice has decreased this year due to increase in its production in the country in last two years.
“Last year, about 5.61 million tonnes of paddy was produced which might be a reason behind the decrease in import of rice. This year, the paddy was produced nearly as much as last year, which will support to reduce its import in the coming months as well,” he said.
People’s food habit has contributed to import of rice by spending billions of rupees even though production has increased as people like to consume fine rice instead of rough local production, he said.
“The import of rice could be reduced if we could promote the production of fine rice. The share of fine rice stands at 80 per cent of total rice import,” he said.
The maize import has increased due to the growing number of feed industries, he said.
Nepal is importing rice from China, India, Thailand, South Korea and maize from India, Nigeria, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Brazil and Argentina.
He said that the challenge of the agriculture sector was that it had failed to increase agro production in line with the demand resulting in the growing import of agriculture products.
“The productivity of all agro products has increased but the tendency to leave the arable land uncultivated is affecting our agro production,” he said.
It is necessary to increase the production of agriculture items not only to make the country self-reliant in agriculture but also to reduce the widening trade deficit, he said.
From The Rising Nepal