Farm output hit by fertiliser shortageBharat Mahato from Lalparsa, Ratnanagar-6 had applied chemical fertilisers to his paddy crop thrice last year and reaped a bumper harvest. However, this year, there was only enough fertiliser for one time, and production fell sharply.
Bharat Mahato from Lalparsa, Ratnanagar-6 had applied chemical fertilisers to his paddy crop thrice last year and reaped a bumper harvest. However, this year, there was only enough fertiliser for one time, and production fell sharply.
“I could not purchase fertilisers due to a shortage,” he said. They are still in short supply, and the scarcity has prevented me from planting mustard and musuro pulse.
Many farmers have been complaining that paddy production went down this year as they could not buy fertilisers. They also complained that they could not apply fertilisers to their banana crops.
Fertilisers started becoming scarce three months ago when Madhes-based parties imposed a Tarai banda. The situation worsened after India mounted an unofficial trade embargo against Nepal.
Bishnu Hari Pant, chairman of the Chitwan Banana Producers’ Association, said that farmers were facing difficulties in cultivating banana. “If the current situation continues, production will go down by 50 percent,” he added.
According to the regional office of Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) in Birgunj, most of the fertiliser shipments are lying at Birgunj dry port. Chief of the office Rajendra Bahadur Karki said that they had failed to deliver fertilisers to 22 districts of the country. “Even during the earthquake, fertiliser delivery was not a problem,” said Karki. “The situation has worsened since the blockade.”
According to him, 406,900 sacks of urea and 250,000 sacks of DAP are stuck at the dry port. Likewise, 50,000 sacks of urea are stuck in Raxaul. “We have only 3,000 sacks of DAP stored in our godown at present,” said Karki. The AIC regional office in Birgunj dispatches fertilisers to all the districts in the Central Region from its warehouses located in Nawalparasi, Pokhara, Parbat, Syangja and Tanahun. The branches of AIC and Salt Trading Corporation have been providing fertilisers in Chitwan through cooperatives. Now the godowns of both the companies have become empty. As a result, farmers cannot decide whether or not to plant mustard which grows well in the district.
“We have run out of fertiliser,” said Rabindra Gautam, branch chief of AIC in Chitwan. “It has not been dispatched from Birgunj due to the strikes.” According to him, his office has distributed the available fertiliser through 105 cooperatives. In the last fiscal year, AIC’s Chitwan branch had sold 7,000 tonnes of fertilisers. “This is the season for growing mustard and pulse. We need 700 tonnes of fertilisers between mid-October and mid-November,” said Gautam. As the wheat cultivation season will also begin soon, fertilisers are urgently needed.
Likewise, Buddhi Binod Dahal, branch chief of Salt Trading, said that they had not been able to supply fertilisers to farmers as the shipments are stuck at the border.
The District Agriculture Development Office has said that a situation of food insecurity could arise due to the shortage of fertilisers as production would drop. “The impact on cereal crops could invite food insecurity in the country,” he said.