Farmers sigh with relief as fertiliser shipment arrives

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA

Nov 22, 2017-A consignment of 2,500 tonnes of fertiliser has arrived at Sirsiya Dry Port, bringing relief to anxious farmers who have been facing a shortage of soil nourishers. The shipment reached the dry port on Monday.

Farmers need to apply chemical fertiliser to their cash crops like potato and vegetables at this time. However, cultivation of the key winter crop wheat, which requires larger amounts of fertiliser, is yet to begin.  

Ajay Kumar Srivastava, chief of the Birgunj regional office of Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC), said that the fertiliser made in China had been supplied by Singapore-based Wilson International. 

The consignment belongs to AIC and Salt Trading Corporation. AIC has taken delivery of the fertiliser and will be shipping it to its warehouse in Birgunj on Wednesday, he said. Demand for fertiliser is high in Kavre which is a large producer of potato. 

“Besides, we have received orders from Nuwakot, Janakpur and other areas,” he said, adding that fertiliser would be supplied to the districts as soon as possible. 

“As the wheat cultivation period is yet to begin, we expect all the fertiliser on order to be delivered on time.” Demand for fertiliser is expected to pick up from mid-December. 

According to him, nearly 34,000 tonnes of fertiliser has been stranded at Kolkata Port in India. “As Indian Railways failed to arrange an adequate number of railway racks, it has been difficult to bring the shipment stuck at Kolkata Port.” 

A big quantity of fertiliser shipped by Wilson International from China has remained piled up at the port for the last two months. “It is surprising that the fertiliser has been held up at the port for such a long time,” said Srivastava. “We don’t know the reason behind it.”  

Recently, Nepal had 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.

As per a treaty signed in 2009, India will 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 following a global tender call under the Public Procurement Act. 

Published: 22-11-2017 08:20

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