After celebrating the International Year of Rice in 2004, the Government of Nepal officially declared 30 June as National Rice Day. Since then the National Rice Day has become an important event in the country.
On its 12th anniversary, the National Rice Day was observed in many parts of the country with Mechanization in Rice cultivation, minimization of cost of production as this year’s theme. As part of the event, Hari Prasad Parajuli, head of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) honored five outstanding progressive Nepalese farmers with the Presidential Award for their significant work in agriculture. This was the first time that the award was given to farmers.
The awardees were Mr. Kalu Hamal (Kailali district), Mr. Chhyam Bahadur Thapa (Kaski district), Mr. Prakash Panta (Chitwan district), Mr. Chandra Bahadur Tamang (Dhankuta district), and Mr. Chhaya Datta Bhusal, (Bardiya district).
Minister Parajuli also emphasized the value of research and technology. “Research is important for the development of agriculture in Nepal,” he said. “While modern technology and mechanization will help in the commercialization of the country’s agriculture.”
Uttam Bhattarai, secretary of MoAD, also cited the quality of research at NARC that aims to minimize yield gaps in research centers and farmers’ fields. At the same event, Dr. Bhartendu Mishra, member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) for agriculture, said the country should focus on its self-sufficiency in rice.
To achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, MinisterParajuli mentioned MoAD’s special program for increasing the production and productivity of fine and aromatic rice in Nepal and thus minimize the import of Basmati rice from India. The ministry will also launch special rice production programs in 12 districts across Nepal.
The awarding ceremony was held at the NARC Research Centre in Khumaltar on 30 June. Dr. Yubak Dyoj GC, director general of the Department of Agriculture (DoA); Dr. Y.R. Pandey, executive director of NARC; officials and staff of different ministries, NARC, and DoA; and representatives from the International Rice Research Institute, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, and farmers’ groups from different districts attended the event.
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