शनिबार, बैशाख १, २०८१

Govt says improved varieties of paddy seeds to be provided to quake-hit farmers

Kathmandu, May 19: The government is to provide improved varieties of paddy seeds to the poor farmers of the 14 districts hardest hit by the earthquake at subsidized rate. Speaking in the meeting of the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee of the Legislature-Parliament today, officials at the Ministry of Agricultural Development said the Ministry has already stockpiled 423 metric tonnes of paddy seeds meant for the affected ditricts.

The meeting was focused on the government’s preparation and readiness in terms of the paddy seed and fertilizer with the time for preparing paddy nurseries fast approaching.

The Ministry officials briefed the committee that additional 20 tonnes of paddy seed meant for the hardest hit districts has been ordered from the Philippines.

It is said the seed to be made available by the government would be enough to plant in some 10,000 hectares of land. Fifty kilogrammes of paddy seed is required for a hectare of land.

The annual paddy production in the country is 4.5 million metric tonnes. The Ministry officials also said that informal talks have been initiated regarding the Government of India providing 100,000 quintals of fertilizer for the disaster-hit farmers, and if that amount of fertilizer is received then the government would provide it at subsidized rate.

The Ministry has assured that there would not be shortage of fertilizer for paddy this year as it has 86,000 metric tonnes of it in stock.

In the meeting, the lawmakers urged the Ministry to formulate an immediate plan taking into consideration the difficulty of farmers as the oxen for ploughing fields have died and the tiller tractors have been damaged by the earthquake. They asked the Ministry to incorporate alternative to this in the plan.

The Ministry officials informed the meeting that food grains worth Rs 8.11 billion was destroyed and cattle and fowls worth Rs 1.39 billion perished in the earthquake. One hundred and seventy eight buildings under the Ministry have been completely damaged and 327 partially damaged, causing a loss of over Rs 11.90 billion. Committee president Gagan Kumar Thapa urged the Ministry to announce new programmes for supporting the livelihood of the farmers in the quake-affected districts along with their rehabilitation. He also asked the Ministry to make arrangements for mobilizing the agriculture experts to the villages as volunteers.

प्रकाशित मिति: मङ्लबार, जेष्ठ ५, २०७२