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Tempers flare due to shortage of fertiliser

  • Wheat plantation season
- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Nov 13, 2017-Farmers of the far-western district of Kanchanpur have flared up, as they have not been able to get hold of fertilisers during the peak wheat plantation season. 

A group of farmers on Sunday visited Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC), the District Administrative Office and the District Agricultural Office and demanded that adequate quantity of fertilisers be supplied immediately.

“We have been visiting offices of Agriculture Inputs Company and Salt Trading Corporation every day for the last several days. But the officials always tell us to visit tomorrow or day after tomorrow. This is not done,” said Bir Bahadur Kunwar, a farmer of Shuklaphanta Municipality.

The district had received 214 tonnes of diammonium phosphate (DAP) last week. Of this, 120 tonnes of DAP were distributed to farmers and remaining 94 tonnes to cooperatives. “On a single day, 1,400 farmers bought the fertiliser. So, the stock vanished in two days,” Babita Upadhyaya, chief of AIC Mahendranagar, said. Farmers, on the other hand, complained that cooperatives were taking undue advantage of the current situation and selling fertilisers at inflated prices.

AIC Kanchanpur is receiving additional 42 tonnes of DAP in the next three days. “But considering the demand here, the supply will not be enough,” Upadhyaya said.

Kanchanpur needs around 1,000 tonnes of DAP and similar quantity of urea per plantation season.

But the regional office of AIC in Bhairahawa has been sending limited quantity of fertilisers, according to Upadhyaya. “Hence the shortage.”

Salt Trading Corporation, which also sells fertilisers, is facing the same problem. The regional office of the corporation had received 500 tonnes of DAP last week. But the stock vanished in two days, said Keshav Pandey, head of the regional office of Salt Trading.

“We always face this problem during plantation season,” Madhu Devi Aair, a farmer of Bhimdatta Municipality, said, asking, “Why can’t the AIC and Salt Trading Corporation keep enough stock of fertilisers?”

The problem faced by farmers like Aair in the far-western region is just the tip of the iceberg. Farmers across the country are facing this problem.

In the first week of November, AIC had reported that its fertiliser stock across the country had dropped to 2,000 tonnes. Nepal’s annual fertiliser demand stands at 700,000 tonnes, of which 90,000 tonnes are required for winter crops. 

Earlier this month, Nepal had requested India to provide chemical fertilisers through a government-to-government deal to prevent a possible shortage during the winter growing season. The request was made after two international suppliers pulled out of the supply contract due to sharp fluctuations in international fertiliser prices. According to AIC officials, chemical fertiliser prices have jumped $80-90 per tonne in the global market.

As per a treaty signed in 2009, India should supply 100,000 tonnes of chemical fertilisers (60,000 tonnes of urea and 40,000 tonnes of DAP) to Nepal annually at the international parity price to avoid procedural hassles. It normally takes six months to procure chemical fertilisers as per the provision on competitive bidding in the Public Procurement Act.

Published: 13-11-2017 09:00

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