Reference Date: 13-May-2020
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable production prospects for the 2020 wheat crops
Cereal production in 2019 estimated at a record level
Near-average cereal import requirements forecast for 2019/20 marketing year (July/June)
Overall, food security situation is good
Prospects for 2020 wheat output favourable
Harvesting of the 2020 wheat crop started in March 2020 in the southern low‑lying areas and is expected to finalize by the end of June in the northern hilly areas. Current prospects for the 2020 wheat crop are generally favourable. The area planted is estimated at an above‑average level, driven by strong local demand. Since the beginning of the season in October, precipitation amounts have been above average in the southern plains (locally known as Terai Region), which account for more than 60 percent of the total annual wheat production. In the hills and mountains agro‑ecological regions, snowfall was adequate during the winter months, protecting crops from freezing temperatures and providing soil moisture during the critical spring months. In addition, adequate supplies of high‑yielding seed varieties and fertilizers increased productivity. As of late April, remote sensing data shows above‑average vegetation conditions throughout the country (see VHI map), inferring generally favourable yield prospects for the wheat crops.
The 2020 maize crop, for harvest from August onwards, is growing under generally favourable weather conditions. The area planted is estimated at a high level, continuing the steady increase observed during the last eight consecutive years, reflecting the strong demand by the feed industry. Assuming average yields, the 2020 maize output is expected to reach a new record level.
Cereal production in 2019 estimated at record level
The 2019 cropping season finalized in last December and the aggregate cereal output, including wheat, paddy rice and maize, is estimated at a record level of 10.8 million tonnes.
Near‑average cereal import requirements forecast for 2019/20 marketing year
Cereal import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at a near‑average level of 1.1 million tonnes. Rice (refers to calendar year 2020) and maize imports are forecast at 570 000 and 400 000 tonnes, respectively. Wheat imports, normally accounting for minor quantities, are forecast at a five‑year low, in line with the expected bumper output.
Overall food security situation is good
The overall food security situation is good, following four consecutive years of bumper harvests. However, concerns remain for an estimated 4.6 million food insecure people, accounting for 15 percent of the total population, mostly concentrated in the remote northern parts of Far‑Western and Mid‑Western mountainous regions. In these regions, generally low agricultural productivity and poorly functioning markets limit the access to food for the most vulnerable population.
COVID‑19 and measures adopted by the Government
As of early May 2020, the number of confirmed positive cases of COVID‑19 was minimal.
On 23 March 2020, as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus, the Government imposed a ban on domestic and international flights and closure of land border crossing as well as prohibited large gatherings of people and closed schools and universities. Transportation of goods and agricultural activities are authorized to continue in order to ensure adequate market availabilities.
On 30 March 2020, the Government set up several social support measures, including the provision of daily food rations for the most vulnerable households, subsidies for utility bills for low‑usage customers and the extension of filing deadlines for taxes.
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