GIEWS Country Brief: Nepal 6 May 2022 – Nepal

FOOD SECURITY OVERVIEW

  • Fertilizer and fuel shortages and high prices raise concerns about 2022 crop performance

  • Average cereal production obtained in 2021

  • Cereal import requirements for marketing year 2021/22 forecast above average

  • Food security has improved after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

Fertilizer and fuel shortages and high prices raise concerns about 2022 crop performance

Harvesting of the mainly irrigated 2022 wheat is underway in the south of the country, while in the north crops are still at the grain-filling stage and harvesting is expected to start in early May. Heavy rains in mid-October caused flooding in western and eastern provinces, delaying planting by about two weeks. Weather conditions were generally favorable from November and, together with an adequate supply of irrigation water, favored crop establishment and development. However, there are concerns about final yields due to reduced application of (mainly imported) fertilizers, caused by their high prices and limited availability.

Planting of the 2022 maize crop is underway and will be completed by mid-May, while planting of paddy, the country’s main staple, will start at the end of May. Farmers’ planting intentions are feared to be negatively affected by high fertilizer and fuel prices.

Average cereal production obtained in 2021

Harvesting of the 2021 season crops was completed last December and total cereal production is estimated at 10.3 million tonnes on average.

Paddy production, which represents the bulk of the country’s cereal production, is estimated at 5.1 million tonnes, down 9% from the 2020 level, due to lower yields following the rains and to the off-season flooding last October which affected crops almost ready for harvest. Maize production in 2021 is estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, above average, reflecting extended plantings driven by strong demand from the feed industry and above-average yields, sustained by favorable weather conditions. Wheat production in 2021 is forecast at an exceptional level of 2.1 million tonnes, due to above-average levels of planted area and yields.

Cereal import requirements for marketing year 2021/22 forecast above average

The cereal import requirement for marketing year 2021/22 (July/June) is expected to be above average at 2.3 million tonnes. Rice imports in calendar year 2022 are estimated at 1.35 million tonnes, up 13 percent from 2021 levels. Maize imports are expected to be close to average at 400,000 tonnes, while wheat imports are expected to more than double from average levels to 500,000 tonnes due to strong local demand for bread and bakery products.

The food security situation has improved after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

Since April 2020, WFP has conducted five surveys to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on household livelihoods and food security in the country. According to the latest survey results from October 2021, overall food security conditions have improved compared to 2020 and the first part of 2021. However, limited economic growth is likely to continue to negatively affect livelihoods and income-generating activities. Food insecurity issues exist for about 2.8 million food insecure people, or about 10 percent of the total population, mostly concentrated in remote areas in the north of the mountainous regions of the far west and Midwest. These regions are characterized by low agricultural productivity and poorly functioning markets that limit access to food for the most vulnerable populations. In addition, the expected decline in agricultural production in 2022 is expected to affect farmers and casual workers, due to reduced incomes and job opportunities.

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