Money

Farmers rag on AIC for inflating fertiliser prices

- DR PANTA, DHANGADHI

May 27, 2018-

The Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) in the south western Nepal has been charging higher for state-subsidised chemical fertiliser, farmers have claimed.

Farmers said that they are compelled to pay more than Rs1,000 for a sack of fertiliser (50kg) which only costs Rs826.

Even when farmers are willing to pay higher rates, they are not able to get stock of fertiliser. The lack of chemical fertilisers are affecting farmers as the paddy transplantation season has already begun.

The AIC distribute fertiliser through local cooperatives. There are 226 cooperatives involved in distributing chemical fertiliser in Kailali.

Many farmers claimed that cooperatives have been charging up to Rs1,200 per sack.

“AIC is creating artificial shortage despite the fact that it has enough quantity of fertiliser stock in its warehouse,” said Narayan Joshi, a farmer in Pratappur, Kailali. “It has increased the rates by 20 percent for management expenditure,” he said. “It’s against the rules.”

The company has been found selling urea at Rs1,652 per quintal, DAP at Rs4,752 quintal and potash at Rs3,352 per quintal to the designated cooperatives.

AIC is providing 25 percent discount per quintal to the cooperatives. However, these cooperatives have been charging an extra 20 percent on the price set by the AIC.

“The AIC has been creating artificial shortage so that they can make more profit,” said Naresh Rana, a local of Dhangadhi sub-metropolitan city. Rup Bahadur Kunwar, a senior assistant of the AIC, said that they have found the cooperatives selling fertiliser at the higher rates during the inspection.

According to him, they have been receiving complaints from areas like Pratappur, Gauriganga, Narayanpur, Devariya and Manahara of the district. 

Meanwhile, AIC said that there is no scarcity of fertiliser this year.

The company has sufficient stock of farm’s vital inputs. Currently, the AIC has 2,500 tonnes of DAP, 4,000 tonnes of urea and 243 tonnes of potash in Kailali, the company informed.

“As farmers have been routinely facing shortage of chemical fertilisers, this year many of them have kept fertiliser in stock on time,” said Kunwar. “If the cooperatives distribute fertiliser on time and efficiently, there will be no scarcity this year.”

Nepal’s annual imports of chemical fertilisers are worth around Rs16 billion. According to the Agriculture Ministry, the annual demand for chemical fertilisers currently stands at 723,000 tonnes.

Subsidised fertilisers cover only one-fourth of the country’s total requirement, and the rest is met by informal imports, or shipments smuggled through the porous border with India.

Published: 27-05-2018 08:30

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