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Production and marketing of rice in different development regions of Nepal.

Among the cereals, rice comes first in terms of area and production in Nepal. It is also the most important staple crop; thus the main objective of this study was to assess production and marketing efficiency of rice. The household survey was conducted in the 12 districts representing five development regions and three ecological zones of Nepal. Forty farmers from each district were surveyed. The sample was selected by using simple random sampling technique. Similarly, 10 traders from each district were selected in order to collect information on marketing systems. Average family size of the sampled household was found 6.56. Eighty seven percent of the respondents were involved in agriculture, whilst 64.58 percent of the respondents grew rice. The average land holding of sampled household was 1.57 ha with 1.01 ha under rice cultivation. The study revealed that majority of farmers were adopting improved technology without adequate knowledge on it thereby unable to derive benefit from the use of such improved technology. Western development region dominated all other development regions in terms of average production and marketable surplus. However, far-western development region dominates in terms of productivity, i.e. 3.7 t/ha. Area under rice cultivation, FYM and irrigation has positive association with rice production. The items of total cost include male labor, female labor, draft power, tractor, FYM and chemical fertilizer having positive association with total cost of production. On other hand area under rice cultivation had negative association with total cost of production. The gross margin per hectare was the highest in mid-western development region, however, the benefit-cost ratio was the highest in central development region, which signals the most efficient production practice. The overall average gross margin was Rs. 16,766 per hectare. The marketing system was purely private based except the distribution of processed rice through Nepal Food Corporation. Marketing system was totally dominated by traders. Marketing margin was higher due to the marketing function of processing involved in marketing. Average marketing margin was Rs. 16.77 per kg. Producers' share was 35.5 percent. The highest marketing margin and producers' share was in mid-western development region. The findings of this study showed that farmers were facing several production problems such as lack of technical know-how, lack of irrigation, lack of organized credit facilities, lack of quality inputs and diseases and pests. Likewise, reported marketing problems were: low price of produce, unorganized market and lack of appropriate transportation facilities. Food insufficiency remains the major problem in mid-western development region. Around 59 percent of the farmers were producing sufficient food in their own farmland. Rests 41 percent of the respondents had to search the alternative source to meet their food demand. The food insufficiency was mainly due to the small size of land holding; low productivity; cultivation of cash crop, and lack of credit facilities. Purchasing was the most dominating means to meet the food demand. Some respondents were meeting their food demand by borrowing from village lenders, for which they had to work in return. The multivariate regression analysis showed that food sufficiency was positively and significantly associated with land holding size.

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