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Country Briefs

  Nepal

Reference Date: 07-March-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Current prospects for 2018 wheat output positive

  2. Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2017

  3. Cereal import requirements in 2017/18 similar to previous year

  4. Pockets of severe food insecurity persist

Current prospects for 2018 wheat output generally positive

Harvesting of the 2018, mostly irrigated, winter wheat is expected to start by mid-March in southern low-lying areas and will continue until the end of June in the northern hilly areas. Overall, crops are in good condition throughout most of the country and production prospects are positive. Some concerns exist only for the wheat crops in central Terai plains, including the districts of Parsa, Bara and Rautahat, where water availability was limited by damages inflicted by last year’s floods to the irrigation infrastructure.

Above-average cereal harvest gathered in 2017

The 2017 national cereal output is estimated at about 9.5 million tonnes, slightly below 2016’s record level but still above the five-year average. The overall decrease is the result of lower paddy production estimated at 4.8 million tonnes, 8 percent less than the 2016 record high, reflecting a combination of erratic monsoon rains between June and July and successive floods in August, which affected the crops in the southern Terai plains. By contrast, maize output for 2017 is officially estimated at 2.6 million tonnes, 9 percent above 2016’s high level. The increase is the result of an expansion in plantings supported by strong demand from the feed industry and higher yields reflecting overall favourable weather conditions and adequate use of fertilizers. Similarly, the 2017 wheat output is estimated to have recovered from the 2016 reduced level and reached 1.8 million tonnes, close to the five-year average.

Cereal import requirements in 2017/18 similar to previous year

In current 2017/18 marketing year (July/June), cereal import requirements, mainly rice, are forecast at about 930 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year’s level and 12 percent above the five-year average. While imports of wheat and maize are anticipated to remain close to the 2016/17 level of 150 000 and 200 000 tonnes, respectively, rice imports are projected to increase by 5 percent in 2018 to 580 000 tonnes.

Pockets of severe food insecurity persist

The overall food security situation is stable. However, there are some concerns for the most vulnerable households that live in remote northern parts of Far-Western and Mid-Western regions.

Severe floods in August 2017 affected 38 out of the country’s 75 districts, mostly concentrated in the southern Terai plains. The floods displaced about 460 000 people and caused severe damage to housing and infrastructure, including irrigation canals, roads and bridges. Losses of food stocks and livestock were also reported. According to an official post-flood assessment, as of late September 2017, about 778 000 people were estimated to be food insecure (IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”), mostly in the districts of Bardiya, Dhanusa, Mahottari, Sarlahi and Rautahat.

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