KATHMANDU, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The total paddy production in Nepal has reached 5.23 million metric tons this year, the highest harvest in the country's history and the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has attributed the record-high paddy output to cultivation of Chinese hybrid rice.
Timely rainfall and availability of developed seeds and chemical fertilizers have attributed to the rise in paddy production by nearly 30 percent as compared to the harvest of 2017-18 fiscal year, officials claimed.
Though the Nepali government had projected the paddy production of only 5 million metric tons, the higher output has been regarded as a significant contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country and economic growth in overall. The agriculture sector constitutes 33 percent of the total GDP in which paddy accounts for as high as 20 percent.
According to the agriculture ministry, the record harvest would help cutting down the rice imports from different countries and contribute to reduction of rice deficit.
The optimism comes at a time when the Chinese hybrid rice, spreading over 300 hectares of land, is doing excellent performance in the country.
On Monday, a team of government officials from both Nepal and China, and research scientists and representatives of the World Food Program (WFP) visited the high-yield demonstration field of Chinese hybrid rice located within the premise of the National Agricultural Research Council in Lalitpur.
Noting that the performance of Chinese hybrid rice is excellent in Nepal, the Nepali side expressed willingness to produce hybrid rice in large scale to have large yields and resolve rice scarcity.
"The performance of Chinese hybrid rice is very nice and exciting," Baidya Nath Mahato, executive director of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, told Xinhua.
Under the first phase of three-year long China-Nepal agricultural technical cooperation project that started in February 2016, China has been providing economic and technical assistance in the agricultural sector for Nepal, especially for cultivating rice and maize.
The Chinese government has also been helping Nepal promote adoption of hybrid rice varieties and conducting technical demonstration and training on post-harvest processing technology, farm machinery operation and maintenance technology.
For this end, Yuan Longping High-tech Agriculture Co. Ltd, a Chinese implementing agency, is working in cooperation with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council.
According to the officials, in the past two years, 67 hybrid rice varieties have been introduced from China and tested in various parts of Nepal. Among them, one variety has already been approved by the Seed Quality Control Centre under Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.
Chinese hybrid rice has been popular among the farmers of the country due to higher yield, strong tillering ability, straight leaves with no drooping, more effective panicles per unit area, more grains and good taste, among others.
Ananda Kumar Gautam, a senior scientist of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, told Xinhua that "we are very much impressed by the performance of Chinese hybrid rice and the response from the farmers is very positive."
In the budget for the current fiscal year, the Nepali government has announced a plan to make the country self-reliant in food within next few years. Experts believe that Chinese hybrid rice can resolve the food deficit and help Nepal ensure food security.