Nepal is marking the 14th National Rice Day today, Ashar 15, as per Nepali calendar. Ashar is the favourable season/month Nepalis engross in cultivating rice. The Ashar 15 is also known as the day of dahi chyura- curd and beaten rice- feast. Fourteen years back, as many as 43 countries had requested the UN General Assembly to announce the Year of Rice. With the announcement, Nepal also began celebrating the National Rice Day.
It was December 14, 2004, the meeting of the Council of Minister declared to mark the National Rice Day every Ashar 15 from 2005, reminds rice expert Bholaman Singh Basnet. Nepal is the only country among the UN members to mark the day as the national day, he added. Rice is the staple for more than three billion-half the world population. Asia alone grows nearly 90 percent of rice in the world. Half of the produce is consumed in Asia itself.
According to expert Basnet, when rice production increases, the economic growth rate obviously increases. Agriculture contributes 29.4 percent to the gross domestic product in Nepal, while 60.4 percent population is dependent on it, said the Ministry of Agriculture, adding that Nepal is growing rice in 1.5 million hectare of land, which is 50 percent of the arable land.
As per the season, varieties of rice as Chaite, Barkhe, Bhadaiya, and Hiude are popular in Nepal. A total of 73 districts cultivate rice here. As many as 65 species of rice produced by Nepal Agriculture Research Council are grown in southern plains, hills and upper hills of the country. Manang and Mustang districts have very hostile climate for rice. In the current fiscal year, the country grew 5.2 metric tonnes of rice, the Ministry recorded.
Spokesperson at the Ministry, Shankar Sapkota said, Nepal has estimated the production of rice to stand around 5.4 million tonnes for the next year. The economic growth of the country is expected to surpass over 7.5 per cent next year due to the prediction of growth in paddy production. Hence, the theme for this year’s National Rice Day’s is determined- “expansion of rice harvests in two seasons: a base for economic prosperity” – bearing resonance with country’s economic growth.
From the food and nutrition security point of view, we can obtain 20 per cent of the calorie from rice. Paddy is planted in 114 countries across the globe. Over 740 million metric tonnes rice is yielded from around paddy planted across 160 million hectares of land across the world. China is the biggest producer of rice while India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, Brazil and Japan are also ranked as other biggest rice producers.
Dahi Chyura feast among farmers during paddy plantation
In an agricultural country like Nepal where 66 percent people are engaged in farming according to the Food and the Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, farmers toil hard with the onset of monsoon to plant the paddy that ought to last throughout the year. Today signifies a special day for such farmers who huddle in their farmland to plant the paddy with great alacrity.
Splashing muds each other and singing folk songs not only glorifies agriculture but also gathers villagers for merriment in fields. Coupled with this is the dahi chyura feast at home and in fields. Curd and beaten rice are believed to reduce the heat of the body and provide energy.Farmers apart, other members of public from other occupations in general in the country, also observe the day by relishing the dahi chyura delicacy on this day. RSS
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