The overall outlook for the current fiscal year 2013-14 winter crops remains positive, according to a report.

Conditions for sowing and crop growth for winter crops like wheat and barley were reported as normal, largely on the basis of a prolonged monsoon that provided adequate soil moisture for germination and crop growth, said the Crop Situation Update prepared jointly by Ministry of Agricultural Development, World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The report that was prepared also with the help of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) that took part in the field missions, as part of the methodology review, also revealed that the 2013 summer crop – paddy, maize, millet, and buckwheat – output was estimated at 7.67 million metric tonnes, an increase of 12.10 per cent compared to last year and 11.90 per cent compared to the five-year average or ‘normal’ level.

Out of the total summer crop production of 7.67 million metric tonnes, the production of paddy, maize, millet, and buckwheat was estimated at 5.04 million metric tonnes, 2.3 million metric tonnes, 0.30 million metric tonnes, and 0.010 million metric tonnes, respectively.

Compared to the normal level, the largest production gain was observed in maize at 13.80 per cent followed by paddy at 11.74 per cent, buckwheat at 7.22 per cent and millet at 0.33 per cent.

The largest crop output was from the eastern region – some 2.16 million metric tonnes – followed by the central and western regions, the report stated, adding that Jhapa and Bhojpur are the largest paddy and maize producing districts with their respective production estimated at 365,000 metric tonnes and 124,000 thousand metric tonnes.

Adequate and timely rainfall coupled with better availability of fertilizers is considered the key reason for increased production in 2013. Average rainfall during July-September 2013 was the largest in the last five years and was recorded at 115 per cent of the normal level, it added.

Despite aggregate production increases, some districts, especially Dhanusa, Bhaktapur, Kavre, and Jumla, observed localised production drops in paddy.

The value of cereal imports during the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year stood at Rs 4.7 billion, a marginal drop compared to the same period last year. “With an import value of Rs 2.4 billion, rice occupies the largest share at 51 per cent in total cereal imports,” it added.

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