Farmers struggle to find fertiliser

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA
The regional office at Birgunj which supplies fertiliser compounded the problem by jumping the gun and selling fertiliser stock ahead of time

Sep 3, 2017-Farmers of more than half of the dozen districts of Tarai who are struggling to get over the devastating floods which damaged their crops are now marred with the shortage of chemical fertilisers. 

As life resumes some semblance of normalcy in flood devastated areas, farmers are preparing to use urea fertiliser on their crops for the second time.

This has led to sharp rise in demand for urea and Agriculture Inputs Company, the government entity tasked with supplying the fertiliser in the region is struggling to meet the surge in demand. 

The regional office of the company at Birgunj which supplies fertiliser to three dozen districts of central and western Nepal has a stock of only 450 tonnes of urea. This stock, according to the office, can’t meet the demand of farmers. “The water level that had gone up at the paddy field after the flood is gradually coming down and it is the appropriate time to use fertiliser,” said Ajay Kumar Shribastav, chief of the regional office of the company. “That is why the demand is high and we are struggling to meet it.”

The regional office compounded the problem by jumping the gun and selling fertiliser stock ahead of time. For example it was supposed to evenly distribute fertiliser during the first four months of the fiscal year but it did so in just one and a half months. Parasa district received 3,103 tonnes of urea when it was supposed to receive only 2,100 tonnes. Similiarly, Bara was supposed to receive only 1,575 tonnes of fertiliser but it received 2078 tonnes from the office instead. 

If the office supplies urea as per the farmer’s demand, according to Shribastav, the current stock of the company will be drained immediately. “Therefore, we are rationing the supply of fertilisers,” he added. The shortage has been aggravated after a consignment of urea nearly 2500 tonnes that the company was importing was stranded at Kolkata port due to documentation error.

Shribastav said the consignment will leave the port for Nepal within a couple of days and it will ease the supply of the fertiliser in the districts. However, as there are no further consignments for the company, there will be the shortage in near future again. In order to solve the problem, the government must negotiate with India directly to ease the shortage of fertiler, according to Shribastav. 

Published: 03-09-2017 08:18

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