By Narayan Dhungana, KATHMANDU:- The 18th National Paddy Day and Paddy Cultivation Festival is being observed only symbolically tomorrow in view of the risk of COVID-19.
Therefore, the occasion this year will be marked without the usual traditional cultural programmes as singing, throwing mud at each other and merriment.
The Department of Agriculture has directed all stakeholders and its units in the districts to mark the Festival limiting within the government managed paddy farms as far as possible.
The 18th National Paddy Day and Paddy Cultivation Festival this year is being celebrated around the slogan – ‘Growth in Paddy Production: Food Security, Self-reliance and Prosperity’.
The Department has prepared the health safety protocol for observing the Festival this time owing to the COVID-19 risk, said Officiating Director General of the Department, Januka Pandit organising a news conference here on Sunday. So, the Festival will be celebrated with the participation of only few people as far as possible.
She said the Festival will be marked at the central level at the National Agricultural Research Council (NARC)’s farm in Khumaltar, Lalitpur on Tuesday, in the presence of Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Basanta Kumar Nembang.
The Festival will be celebrated fully abiding the health safety protocols in order to highlight the significance of the National Paddy Day and Festival, to publicise it and to continue the tradition, the Department has stated.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has come to the conclusion that the agricultural and farming activities have to be continued by adopting the health safety standards to reduce the possibility of food and nutrition insecurity in future. In this connection, the Ministry has been facilitating in the regular operation of all agricultural activities even during the lockdown period imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Ministry spokesperson Dr Shreeram Ghimire said the Ministry has brought programmes for expanding the area of paddy cultivation, for increasing its production and for promoting paddy crop. According to him, the Ministry is working to attain self-sufficiency in rice production by conserving the land for rice cultivation, promoting clean and healthy seed, expanding the irrigation programme and developing hybrid and disease resistant varieties.
Paddy is cultivated on 47 per cent of the total cultivable land in Nepal. The Department stated that rice is cultivated on total 1 million 473 thousand hectares of land in the country and the production is 5 million 621 thousand metric tonnes from this.
It is said the area under paddy cultivation has increased by one per cent and the production by 1.3 per cent compared to the previous year. RSS
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