KATHMANDU, June 26 -- Early and heavy monsoon rains in Nepal have caused death and destruction, but farmers in Kathmandu Valley are happy to plant paddy terraces ahead of the official Asar 15 date.

Farmers in Bhaktapur braved torrential rain on Saturday morning to transplant rice seedlings.

Rice is the primary source of livelihood and income for more than two-thirds of people in the country, contributing more than 7% to the total GDP, making it the most important crop of Nepal.

Annual monsoon and subsequent paddy production is one of the determining factors for economic growth. The good news is that favourable monsoon in the recent years have increased paddy production. Only past year, Nepal's rice harvests increased by 1.3% to over 5.62...