May 29: According to the latest estimates of the Central Statistics Office, the contribution of the agriculture sector to the country's GDP is 23.95 per cent. Agriculture is also the main source of livelihood for more than half of the country’s population. However, the government has been highly negligent regarding the supply of chemical fertilizers which is very essential for agriculture. Due to this, farmers have been facing shortage of fertilizer every year during the season of planting major crops like paddy, maize and wheat.
This year, the paddy-planting season is around a month away. However, they are not getting essential chemical fertilizers for paddy.
Each year, the government has failed to provide fertilizers to the farmers on time.
It is clearly evident that the government has failed in the management of chemical fertilizers this year as well. However, the government has not stopped repeating its assurance of providing fertilizer on time.
At a program organized by the Association of Nepali Agricultural Journalists on Friday, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Mahindra Raya Yadav claimed that farmers would get fertilizer by July at any cost. However, the government does not seem to have made proper preparations to supply fertilizer.
The Agricultural Inputs Company Limited, the state-owned company responsible for supplying chemical fertilizers, has only 15,000 metric tons of DAP in stock. Officials of the company say that they are preparing to import 40,000 metric tons of DAP.
The company claims that the first 20,000 tons of fertilizer brought through global tender will take months to arrive in Nepal, and another 20,000 tons will arrive by the first week of July.
The company's current stock of 560 metric tons of urea is supplied to only eight districts. There is a scarcity of fertilizer all over the country. Around 60,000 tons of urea to be imported in the first phase from India through G2G process has not been finalized yet
Acting Managing Director of the Agriculture Inputs Company Limited Rajendra Bahadur Karki, said that preparations are being made to bring urea through the fast track but India is closing the Haldia port for 11 to 45 days from next July. Stakeholders say that this has ruled out the possibility of importing fertilizer under the G2G model.
Meanwhile, the Salt Trading Corporation, another company in charge of importing and selling government-subsidized fertilizer, also does not have sufficient stock of chemical fertilizers.
The government and its subordinate bodies responsible for importing fertilizers have been blaming the Russia-Ukraine war for the delay in supply of fertilizers. However, stakeholders claim that the lack of preparation on part of the government is to blame for the inordinate delay in supply of fertilizers.
One of the stakeholders Chandrakant Dallakoti is not ready to buy the government’s claim of war for the inordinate delay.
“If the government had failed to supply fertilizer on time this year, we would have believed that it was due to the Russia-Ukraine war. But the government has been failing to supply fertilizers on time since many years,” said Dallakoti, adding, “The government is well aware that we need fertilizer in July. The government must make preparations since winter. But the farmers have always been troubled due to inadequate preparations of the government.”