A preliminary report on summer crops released by Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) on Friday states that production of paddy, which commands more than 50 percent in total cereal production, would increase to 5.05 million tons in 2013/14 from 4.5 million tons of last year.
The production is worth Rs 110 billion as per the existing market rate. Paddy production had hit an all time high of 5.07 million tons in 2011/12.
Hem Raj Regmi, senior statistician at the MoAD, said sufficient enough rainfall and use of improved seed as well as expansion of plantation area were the major reasons behind rise in paddy production.
Agriculture Scientist Bhola Man Singh Basnet said easy availability of chemical fertilizers is the other reason behind growth in paddy production.
Total paddy production is estimated to increase by 542,000 tons as plantation area and productivity have increased by 4.7 and 7 percent, respectively. Paddy was cultivated in 1.4 million hectares, up by 66,000 hectares compared to last year.
According to MoAD, average price of paddy has increased to Rs 21,670 per ton this year from last year´s Rs 20,830 per ton.
Experts say rise in paddy production will increase contribution of paddy to total Gross Domestic Production (GDP) by 0.85 percentage points to 7.95 percent.
Economic Keshav Acharya said rise in paddy production by 12 percent will push agriculture growth by 2.49 percentage points provided that other contributing sectors remain unchanged.
Statistics of 2012/13 shows agriculture contributes 34 percent in GDP and paddy contributes 7.1 percent in GDP.
Basnet said growth in paddy production indicates higher economic growth as economic growth is proportion to paddy production. When paddy production hit record high in 2011/12, national economic grew by 4.6 percent. However, the economy grew by only 3.5 percent when paddy production went down by 11 percent in 2012/13.
He further said better crop yields speak of better food security. He, however, urged the government to launch ´paddy mission´ to concentrate on paddy, a major food crop, like in other crops like maize and onion.
Despite rise in overall production, paddy production in Saptari, Dhanusha, Mahottari and Sarlahi was affected due to lack of sufficient rainfall in main plantation season.
The report shows that 50 districts reported growth in production, while 10 districts said production went down.
Similarly, production was unchanged in 15 districts.
According to the report, maize production increased by 9.8 percent to 2.2 million tons due to the use of improved seed, favorable weather and expansion of plantation area.
Maize plantation area increased by 6 percent to 928,761 hectares and productivity improved by 3.4 percent this year.
Likewise, production of buckwheat also posted positive growth by 2.8 percent to 10,335 tons. However, production of millet marginally went down by 0.5 percent to 304,105 tons.