2008/09 Winter drought in Nepal: Crop and food security assessment (2009)

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Nepal, one of the least developed countries in the world, is only recently beginning to emerge from a decade-long civil war. The country was particularly hard hit by the global food crisis and experienced steep food price inflation in 2007/08 as a result. Compared to other countries in the region, Nepal has not yet experienced the considerable price deflation which occurred across much of the region during late 2008 and early 2009. Agriculture production contributes to nearly 40 percent of Nepal's GDP and employs two-thirds of the work force. However, only one-third of Nepal's agricultural land is irrigated which means that much of the agricultural output relies on favourable weather conditions, especially during the winter. The agricultural output growth is weak compared to other countries in Central Asia, and in recent years the rate has slowed. While the growth rate is still positive overall, it has not kept in-line with the population growth rate. The 2008/09 winter drought in Nepal was one of the worst on record. According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, rain monitoring stations across the country received less than 50 percent of average precipitation during the period November 2008 to February 2009. The winter drought had significant impact on crop production across Nepal. This assessment suggests a national decrease in wheat and barley production (the two major winter crops) of 14.5 and 17.3 percent respectively compared to last year. Despite a strong summer harvest, yearly crop production for 2008/09 resulted in a negative production balance of 133,000 metric tons of cereal (-2.5%) for all of Nepal.The poor crop harvest comes on-top of sustained high food prices for over a year; current year-on-year food price inflation is over 17 percent. Sixty-six percent of rural households surveyed as part of this assessment are already experiencing food shortages; the worst hit areas are in the Far- and Mid-Western Hill and Mountain Districts. It is estimated that in addition to current WFP programming, an extra 707,000 people are in urgent need of immediate assistance.
Language: English
Imprint: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Wolrd Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Joint Assessment Report, May 2009: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/retrieveattachments?openagent&shortid=MYAI-7SL7L6&file=Full_Report.pdf 2009
Series: Report,