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Farmers face shortage of chemical fertiliser

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA

Jan 26, 2019-

Farmers are facing a shortage of urea at a time when winter crops are in dire need of chemical fertiliser. Lack of urea at the warehouse of state-owned Agriculture Input Company for the last three weeks is likely to affect the productivity of wheat.

Currently, farmers are not getting urea even if they are ready to pay a hefty price for the chemical fertiliser.

It has been around three weeks since the urea stock got cleared at the regional office of the company. Although Salt Trading Corporation—another government entity that retails the fertiliser—distributed some urea, it was not sufficient to meet the farmers’ demand.

Gorakh Nath KC, information officer at the Agriculture Input Company (AIC) said that 25,000 metric tonnes of urea was stranded at the dry port of Visakhapatnam in India due to a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, creating scarcity of the chemical fertiliser.

“We are trying to bring in the fertiliser as soon as possible,” said KC. “Currently, three railway racks have been loaded with urea and two of them are ready to move towards the dry port in Sirsiya, Birgunj.”

Indian Potash Limited (IPL) of India is supplying the fertiliser to Nepal from third country purchase.

Similarly, the stock of fertiliser at Salt Trading Corporation is not enough to meet the demand, according Amoj Lamichhane, head of the corporation’s zonal office. He said that the corporation has distributed 32,680 sacks of urea till Wednesday for the planting of wheat.

“We have already distributed more than half of the total quota of 46,400 sacks that we had at our warehouse,” he said, adding, 1,800 sacks of fertiliser were sold from Monday to Wednesday at Parsa district only. Out of the 12,500 metric tonnes of urea that corporation is importing, 5,000 metric tonnes will arrive in mid-February, according to Lamichhane.

Earlier, urea used to enter the Nepali market from India through illegal channels. However, this illegal movement of urea has stopped due to the cheap urea found in Nepal, further fuelling the shortage.

Prithvi Shah, district secretary of Farmer Rights Struggle Committee said that farmers are in deep trouble due to the scarcity of urea. “This is a crucial part of the season where farmers need to use urea in wheat production but we are not getting the chemical fertiliser. This will decrease the productivity of our crops,” he said. “We used to purchase urea at Rs16 per kg until last year. These days, we have to buy it at Rs25 per kg. Still we are not getting the quantity we need.”

Published: 26-01-2019 10:19

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