Nepal imported agricultural products worth Rs 2 trillion in 11 months

KATHMANDU: Nepal imported agricultural products worth Rs 2 trillion in the past 11 months.

Although Nepal is predominantly an agricultural country, it has imported paddy and rice worth Rs 48 billion in 11 months of the current fiscal year.

Nepal has imported most of the products from India. Similarly, Nepal has also been importing goods from South Korea, America, China, Myanmar, Vietnam and Japan among other countries.

Agriculture expert Dr Krishna Paudel said that Nepal had imported paddy and rice worth Rs 26 billion in the last fiscal year. The country has imported almost the double this year.

“This is the result of policy makers not paying attention to increase the production,” he said.

Nepal has imported vegetables worth Rs 34 billion in 11 months of the current fiscal year.

Paddy and rice are the most imported food products and potato is the most imported vegetable product in the country.

Nepal has imported potato worth Rs 8 billion in a span of 11 months.

The country imported 530 million kg maize from different parts of the world in the same period. Nepal had sent around Rs 14 billion to foreign countries to buy maize in the 11 months.

Meanwhile, Nepal used to export paddy and rice till the Panchayat system. The government used to export paddy and rice from Nepal by establishing a company in 1976. The government closed the export company in 1981. The government has been importing food products since 1983.

Agro expert Dr Paudel said that the production of agricultural products have declined due to the excessive use of chemical fertilizer.

“Government is planning to open a fertilizer production factory in on hand and on the other hand Nepal is importing chemical fertilizer worth billions of the rupees. This will have a long-term effect in the country,” he said.

China is the largest country which produces and consumes rice in the world. China produced 146 million metric tons of rice in the fiscal year 2019/20 while India produced 118 million metric tons of rice.

China produced 146 million metric tons of rice in 2019/20, while India produced 118 million metric tons.

India stands at the top to export paddy in the world. India exports 155 million metric tons to different countries in the world.

A few decades ago, people used to eat maize, millet and wheat in Nepal. But, their consumption have been declining of late, Dr Paudel said. People have started giving priority to the rice.

Nepal is one of the most rice consuming countries in South Asia. A person consumes around 138 to 40 kg of rice in a year in Nepal.

The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market receives 800 tons of vegetables everyday. Nepal imports 45 percent of vegetables and 75 percent of fruits only from India.

Dr Paudel said that the agriculture sector has always been neglected in Nepal. He said that the policy should be changed to achieve long-term success in agriculture sector.

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