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Country Briefs

  Nepal

Reference Date: 07-June-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Wheat production expected to rebound in 2017

  2. Cereal imports in 2017/18 (July/June) marketing year forecast to decrease from last year’s average level

  3. Pockets of severe food insecurity persist

Wheat production to rebound in 2017

Harvesting of the 2017 winter wheat is nearing completion in southern low-lying areas and is expected to continue until the end of June in northern hilly areas. The 2017 wheat production is officially forecast to recover from last year’s dry weather-affected output by 6 percent to 1.8 million tonnes. The increase mostly reflects expectations of a return to average yields, supported by favourable weather conditions and adequate input supplies, such as seeds, fertilizers and fuel.

Planting of the 2017 maize is nearing completion, while that of rice just started and will continue until mid-August. Remote sensing data indicates favourable rainfall since early February, which benefited planting operations and early crop development for the maize crop. Assuming favourable weather for the remainder of the season, the 2017 maize output is forecast by FAO to increase slightly from last year’s good level to 2.3 million tonnes. Mirroring expectations of an expansion in plantings, 2017 paddy production is projected to surpass last year’s record by 2 percent to 5.4 million tonnes, although the outcome of the season will depend on the pattern of the monsoon rains.

Cereal imports in 2017/18 marketing year (July/June) forecast at below average level

Consistent with expectations of a good 2017 cereal output, total cereal imports in the 2017/18 marketing year are forecast to decrease from last year’s average level by 9 percent to 712 000 tonnes. Imports of wheat are forecast at 130 000 tonnes, a drop of 20 percent, while those of maize are anticipated to remain close to last year’s level of 200 000 tonnes. Rice imports in the 2017 calendar year are projected at 440 000 tonnes, 17 percent below the 2016 high level.

Pockets of severe food insecurity persist

Overall, the food security situation is gradually improving after the consequences of the April 2015 earthquake, which hit western, central and eastern regions of the country. Expectations of increased cereal production in 2017 and improved income from agricultural activities are expected to further ameliorate the overall food security situation of the subsistence farmers in the most affected areas. However, authorities indicate that the food security situation remains of concern in remote northern parts of Far-Western and Mid-Western regions, as well as Gorkha and Dhading districts of western and in Central regions, respectively, due to a combination of localized cereal production shortfalls and reduced income from agricultural activities.