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Farmers press district admin for fertilisers

- SUDIP KAINI, GORKHA

Sep 19, 2014-

Frantic farmers have been pressing the district administration to make subsidized chemical fertilisers available in the market as they have been hit by a shortage at a critical time.   

Insufficient rains during the paddy transplantation season in July-August had already given the farmers enough worries, and now their hopes of a good yield have been dashed with the authorities failing to supply soil enrichers just when the standing paddy plants are beginning to mature.   

The farmers complained that state-subsidized fertilizers were being sold by traders in the district headquarters although only cooperatives were authorized to do so. They have demanded that farm inputs be supplied through cooperatives in the villages.

Rameshwore Dhakal, a local farmer, said they were unable to get fertilisers at a time when the plants had grown to maturity phase.

Bhumi Regmi, chairman of Ghyalchok Krishi Sahakari, said the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) had authorized cooperatives run by traders to sell fertilizers instead of farmer cooperatives.

Regmi charged DADO officials of working in the interest of merchants. “If we ask the officials to issue fertilizer sale permits to farmer-run cooperatives, their reply will be ‘Don’t envy the profits made by traders’.”

As per the legal provision, only agricultural cooperatives can sell subsidized fertilizers to farmers with the recommendation of the DADO and District Fertilizer Supply and Management Committee.

With the recommendation of these two bodies, Agriculture Inputs Company and Salt Trading Corporation distribute fertilizers to agriculture cooperatives.

The government provides a 25-30 percent discount on fertilizers. More than Rs 5 billion has been set aside to subsidize fertilizers this fiscal year.

The DADO has not been able to issue permits to cooperatives to sell subsidized fertilizer even though two months have passed. This has led to a delay in the supply of these inputs to farmers.

Adarsha Savings and Credit, District Consumer Cooperative and Lok Kalyan Agriculture Cooperatives have sold 55 tonnes of subsidized fertilizers this year. They were issue a permit to sell farm inputs last year.

According to DADO sources, Adarsha Savings and Credit had procured the products from Anita Agrovet, while Chandra Jyoti Dairy Cooperative had obtained them from Pokhrel Agrovet.

Last year, 11 cooperatives were certified to sell subsidized fertilizers. Only a few of them were agricultural cooperatives.

Prakash Bastakoti, monitoring officer at the DADO, said that 15 cooperatives had applied for a supply permit this year. The district’s fertilizer requirement amounts to 3,200 tonnes this year.

Chief District Officer Bed Prasad Kharel, who is also the chairman of the fertilizer management committee, said they would distribute fertilizers on a proportional basis to agricultural cooperatives after identifying the actual requirement of the villages.

Published: 19-09-2014 09:20

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