June 10: Farmers have not been able to get fertilisers even though there is sufficient stock in the warehouses of the state-owned Salt Trading Corporation (STC) and the Agriculture Inputs Company Limited.
The farmers have not been able to get fertilisers because the distribution system has become inconvenient due to the lockdown imposed by the government for controlling coronavirus.
At present, the Salt Trading Corporation and the Agriculture Inputs Company Limited have more than 85,000 metric tons of chemical fertilizer in stock. However, the farmers have not been able to receive any of them. Although the government claims that the distribution of fertiliser is easy, the employees of the two state-owned companies have admitted that the supply is not easy.
Kumar Rajbhandari, spokesperson of Salt Trading Corporation, said that the farmers were suffering due to the inconvenient distribution system.
“The distribution has not been smooth due to the impact of lockdown in transporting fertilisers. If the lockdown eases from July, the distribution can be easier,” he said.
Farmers across the country are preparing for the planting season in July. But, they have not been able to get the required fertilizer for paddy. Farmers are obliged to return home empty-handed, even after waiting in long lines all day for fertilizer.
Complaints of farmers not getting fertilizer are increasing in districts like Sunsari, Morang, Jhapa, Panchthar, Ilam, Sarlahi, Chitwan, Banke and Bardiya.
Bhubaneswar Yadav, a farmer of Sunsari, is preparing to plant paddy on 6 bighas of land from mid-June for which he needs about 20 bags of fertilisers including urea, Diammonium phosphate (DAP) and potassium. However, he has not been able to get a single bag of fertilizer so far.
"Even the cooperatives do not have enough fertilizer here. How can they give it to us? It is necessary to create an environment whereby the fertilisers in Kathmandu can reach here to us,” he told New Business Age.
Farmers of Morang, who are preparing to sow paddy, have said that they are also having lots of problems to acquire fertilisers. Man Bahadur Magar, a farmer of Kanepokhari, Morang also complained that he has not received any fertilizer yet.
He said that as the cooperatives could not provide fertilisers in the midst of planting season, the farmers were obliged to go to the Indian border market amidst the risk of coronavirus pandemic to buy fertilisers.
However, the situation in Chitwan district is different. Despite the easy supply of DAP, the farmers here are facing shortage of urea fertilizer. Rajan Dhakal, chief of Agriculture Knowledge Kendra Chitwan, says that the supply of fertilizer has eased this year but only half of the demand has been met.
“Not all places have a balanced distribution of fertilisers,” Dhakal said, adding, “But, the distribution system has been affected as the fertiliser is distributed on the basis of local units’ recommendations.”
"Distribution and management should be more efficient and accurate. Those who have access are benefited more and those who do not have access are not benefited," he said.