As a response to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world, the Government of Nepal (GoN) ordered a national lockdown from the 24th of March, urging people to stay at home and closing schools while restricting the operation of businesses and markets. The lockdown has since been extended through May 7th.
While the restrictions on movement and activity in Nepal may be exacerbating food security issues across the country, they are steps designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to mitigate potentially devastating economic and social effects in Nepal, and reflect measures taken by most countries.
Maize sowing is in progress, though there are reports of Fall Army Worm infestation in newly germinated maize crop in Khotang, Okhaldhunga, Udayapur and Dhankuta. Wheat harvesting is completed in about 80-90% of areas, especially in Terai and mid-hills. Localized hailstorms and strong wind have affected winter crops, vegetables and fruits in some parts of Provinces-1, 2, Bagmati,
Gandaki, Karnali and Sudurpaschim.
The Food Management and Trading Company (FMTC) has 19,686 Mt of rice in stock as of 24 April, and has called for bids for the further supply of 10,000 Mt of rice. Private sector traders have 102,570 Mt rice and 20 large scale Rice Industries have 61,054 mt of paddy in their stock. A total of 82,101 Mt of food goods were imported since the lockdown as of April 22nd .
The FMTC is planning to open fair price shops in some food insecure districts to provide essential food items to the poor and vulnerable people due to COVID. This will help to stabilize prices of essential food commodities and also help to provide foods to poor and food insecure people in low and fair prices than markets