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Stranded fertiliser being transported to Nepal

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 5, 2017-A shipment of chemical fertiliser stranded in Kolkata Port, India for the last three months is being transported to Nepal as Indian Railways has dedicated a rake for Nepal-bound cargo, Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) said.

Lack of freight wagons had led to a huge quantity of chemical fertiliser being stuck in Kolkata, raising fears among farmers of a possible shortage of the soil nourisher during the winter growing season.

AIC Managing Director Amar Raj Khair said that Indian Railways had set aside two rakes per week for Nepal. A rake can carry around 2,500 tonnes of fertiliser.

“We had made frequent requests to the Indian government through the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu and the Nepal Embassy in Delhi,” he said. “The Indian Railway Board has agreed to reserve two dedicated rakes for Nepal.”  

According to AIC officials, nearly 34,000 tonnes of fertiliser destined for Nepal are piled up at Kolkata Port.

Khair said that the fertiliser had started arriving, and that they had received 10,000 tonnes of urea so far. “We are expecting another batch of 10,000 tonnes to arrive soon.” Likewise, 20,000 tonnes of diammonium phosphate (DAP) are expected to be delivered soon.

“If these consignments arrive in time, we will not face a shortage of fertiliser this winter growing season.”

Nepal has also requested India to provide chemical fertilisers through a government-to-government deal to prevent a possible shortage during the winter growing season. This is the second time this year that the government has asked the southern neighbour for crop nutrients to tide over the country.

The government fears that the small number of international bidders that were awarded contracts to supply fertilisers may pull out due to sharp price fluctuations in the global market.

Importing fertilisers through a government-to-government deal will eliminate lengthy procedures.

According to AIC officials, chemical fertiliser prices have jumped $80-90 per tonne in the global market. If the market price of fertiliser rises more than 20-25 percent, the supplier usually prefers to forfeit the bid bond instead of fulfilling the contract, said officials.

A supplier has to deposit 5 percent of the bid amount as security. The supplier thinks it better to forfeit the 5 percent deposit than incur losses of 20-25 percent of the contract amount. Nepal’s annual fertiliser demand stands at 700,000 tonnes, of which 90,000 tonnes are required for winter crops.  

Published: 05-12-2017 08:49

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