As Rice Day was observed across the country on Friday, June 30, the saplings of rice were planted in different parts of the country including Kathmandu valley as a celebration. As per the Nepali calendar Asadh 15, which falls towards June end, is observed as Rastriya Dhan Dibas or National Rice Day. Farmers as well as general public take beaten rice with curd while celebrating the occasion. Monsoon is supposed to arrive towards second week of June and usually June end receives abundant rain, which is sufficient for planting rice. Many parts of the country including Kathmandu valley largely depends on natural rain water for planting rice, the main food-grain of the country. Irrigation facilities are lacking in most of the fertile lands across the country.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal “Prachanda” said, the government is working towards making Nepal self-reliant in rice, the main food item of the country. The government has stressed on acquiring climate adopted rice, developing farming technology and handing over appropriate agricultural technology to the farmers, the Prime Minister said in a message to the nation on the National Rice Day. “Use Climate Adopted Agriculture, Friendly Technology to Increase Rice Production.” was this year’s National Rice Day slogan.
Nepal imported 724,000 metric tons of rice in 2022-2023 while the domestic production reached 5,486,000 ton, which is insufficient to meet the demand. As the country received late monsoon rain so far rice sapling was planted in only 11 percent of the total cultivable land.
“Keeping in mind the important role played by rice in maintaining food security and food sovereignty, the government has been prioritizing expansion of irrigation facilities, subsidy in chemical fertilizer and seeds, expansion of technology, research and development and implementation of minimum supporting price for rice,” pointed out the Prime Minister in his message.
The rice plantation was organized at community level in various parts of the country. In the field of Jesse’s International Secondary School situated at Chandragiri Municipality in Kathmandu dozens of students joined local farmers to plant rice saplings, according to Ramesh Chandra Pradhan, chairman of the school.