By Laxman Kafle Kathmandu, Sept. 15: There is an acute shortage of chemical fertilisers in the country as both public enterprises -- Agriculture Inputs Company Limited and Salt Trading Corporation (STC) -- have run out of stock. The stock of fertilisers in these public enterprises altogether amounts to less than 8,000 tonnes at present, the officials said.
The AICL and STC have been importing fertilsiers and distributing them to the farmers at a subsidised rate through cooperatives across the country. According to Netra Bahadur Bhandari, managing director of AICL, all fertilsier depots of AICL are turning empty.
“We have only 2,600 tonnes of urea, 500 tonnes of DAP and 1,100 tonnes of potash is in stock at present and this quantity will be enough for only three days,” he told The Rising Nepal. He admitted that there was shortage of fertiliser in the market. However, some cooperatives might have some fertiliser in their stock. According to him, only a few warehouses in the mid-Hills and Terai have negligible amount of fertilisers.
But they will be without fertilisers after mid-September, he said. "We have been informing the concerned authority about this situation for three months, but the ministry did not pay attention to our appeal. Today, there is no fertilizer in the country,” he said. Bhandari, however, said that they were effortful to bring fertilisers at the earliest in consultation with the selected contractors.
As the fertiliser warehouses are turning empty, the farmers could not get the fertiliser during the time of top dressing of paddy and there was a discussion on how to solve it. He said that the fertiliser which is in process of import would start arriving only in the first or second week of October, only then will we have comfortable stock of fertilisers.
About 15,000 tonnes of fertiliser, including 10,000 tonnes urea and 5,000 tonnes DAP being imported from northern border is expected to arrive from the first week of October, he said. Likewise, 30,000 tonnes of fertiliser is in the pipeline which is expected to entre Nepal after a month and 32,000 tonnes DAP would also come shortly.
Bhandari said, “The increase in the international price of chemical fertilisers has caused problems in the supply of fertilisers in Nepal. When bidding, the contractors do not accept it. Fifteen tenders have been canceled and only one has been accepted. There is still a long way to go.” The fertilisers arriving from Bangladesh was supported to manage by the date, he said, adding that the government should pay attention to overcome the recurring problems of fertiliser with allocating required budget and other possible measures.
The government had purchased 50,000 tonnes of urea from Bangladesh in government to government (G2G) modality last year. Similarly, a discussion and process is underway to purchase fertiliser from India through government to government channel to address the problem. Information officer of STC Kumar Rajbhandari said that the STC has only 2,000 tonnes of fertilisers in different warehouses across the country.
He, however, said that around 75,000 tonnes of urea and 25,000 tonnes of DAP was in the process of arriving. “The fertiliser is expected to start arriving in Nepal within a month,” he said. The AICL and the STC were able to import a maximum of 400,000 tonnes of fertiliser from the budget of Rs. 11 billion allocated by the government in the last fiscal year, he said.
Due to increase in the price of fertilizer in the international market, around 225,000 tonnes of fertiliser can be imported from the budget allocated by the government for the current fiscal year. Nepal needs at least 520,000 tonnes of fertilisers annually.