Kailali farmers struggle to find chem fertilizers

July 06, 2018

Ganesh Chaudhary,The Kathmandu Post, 06 July 2018

Farmers in Kailali are struggling to get adequate amount of chemical fertilizers as the paddy transplantation season kicks in.

According to the Agricultural Inputs Company (AIC) in Dhangadhi, the district has 20 percent chemical fertilizer deficit.

“Many farmers have stocked piled more chemical fertilizer than they actually require. This panic buying has created shortage,” said AIC chief Durga Prasad Pandey.

According to Pandey, the district’s demand of diammonium phosphate (DAP) for paddy plantation used to be 25,000 tonnes and the company has already sold the same amount. Besides, Salt Trading Corporation has distributed an additional 1,000 tonnes of fertilizers.  

At present, the AIC office has 700 tonnes of urea and 150 tonnes of potash in stock, but it has run out of DAP, Pandey said.

Farmers in the district complained that the lack of fertilizer has affected the paddy plantation. “We are not getting enough fertilizer, particularly DAP,” said Raj Kumar Chaudhary, a local farmer. “As we are not getting subsidized chemical fertilizers from the AIC, we are forced to buy it from the Indian market at higher prices.”

Around 225 agricultural cooperatives registered at AIC and Slat Trading Corporation are involved in chemical fertilizer trading in the district. The AIC determines the quantity of supplies based on the recommendation of these cooperatives and local bodies in the district.

However, following complaints from the farmers about the shortage, we are preparing to bring additional 500 tonnes of DAP to meet their demand. “We will start distributing DAP within a couple of days,” said Pandey. “Farmers will get the fertilizer as per their demand.”

Due to the lack of irrigation facility and chemical fertilizer only 12 percent of paddy plantation has been completed in the district, according to Gauri Shanker Gupta, an agriculture extension officer in the district. “There was no water when there was fertilizer and there is no fertilizer when there is water,” Gupta explained the irony.

Although the district has 95,000 hectares of cultivable land, paddy is planted on 39000 hectares of land with irrigation facility.

Nepal imports chemical fertilisers worth around Rs16 billion every year.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, the annual demand for chemical fertilisers stands at 723,000 tonnes. Subsidised fertilisers cover only a fourth of the country’s total requirement and the rest is met by informal imports or shipments smuggled through the porous border with India.