10k tonnes of organic fertiliser unutilised

- SHIVA PURI, Chitwan

Jan 19, 2018-

A huge pile of organic manure has been sitting idle at a warehouse in Bharatpur due to the lack of governmental policy that supports organic agriculture. 

More than 10,000 tonnes of vermicompost worth Rs240 million produced by Divya Organic Fertiliser—Nepal’s largest organic manure producing plant in Mangalpur, Bharatpur—has been left unutilised for the last one year. Most of the vermicompost packed in plastic bags have been damaged.

Vermicompost is organic manure (bio-fertiliser) produced as vermicast by earth worm feeding on biological waste material like plant residues and food waste. 

The government has been importing chemical fertiliser worth more than Rs15 billion annually and the demand has been growing sharply. However, the utilisation of organic manure by farmers is insignificant. “The fault lies with the government as they failed to promote organic fertiliser use,” said Narendra Giri, the proprietor of the company. “We have not been able to supply the fertiliser to farmers despite the production. We don’t understand the government’s policy. It has been encouraging farmers to import chemical fertilisers and harmful pesticides instead,” he said.

The plant was established eight years ago and has produced more than 20,000 tonnes of organic manure. It was established after the then Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai-led government introduced policy to subsidise organic manure. Although, farmers have been directly buying fertiliser from the plant at Rs22 per kg,  sales are nominal. The company said that the organic manure enriches the soil health, increase productivity and ensures sustainable development of the environment. 

Giri said that Nepal has been spending billions in importing chemical fertiliser. “If the use of organic manure is prioritised, the government can save huge amounts of money.”  Giri said that his company had won the bids to supply organic manure at Rs26 per kg to the government under the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project. However, the tender ran into controversy after some government officials raised questions over the quality of the product. Giri, however, refuted the claim. 

The company has also filed a writ at the Patan High Court after the government pulled out the contract. “The government indecision has affected us. We have tonnes of manure left unutilised,” said Giri. 

Indra Bahadur Oli, chief of the Soil Management Directorate in Lalitpur, said that the Ministry of Agricultural Development has set a standard to produce vermicompost. Accordingly, organic fertiliser is tested before the government procures them. In the case of Divya Organic, it did not meet the required standard set by the government, he said. 

“The manure produced by the company lacks the required nitrogen level,” he said. Because nitrogen is the primary ingredient responsible for plant growth, lack of nitrogen is typically noticed when plants are young. 

“However, in such small cases, the plant should not be closed,” said Oli. “If the company produces the product as per the standard, it will not be wasted.” Besides, Chitwan, there are other five organic manure producing plants in different part of the country. 

Published: 19-01-2018 08:47

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