Kanchanpur farmers face urea shortageFarmers of the country’s far western district of Kanchanpur are facing shortage of chemical fertilisers in the peak wheat plantation season, compelling them to purchase low-quality inputs imported from India at double the price.
Farmers of the country’s far western district of Kanchanpur are facing shortage of chemical fertilisers in the peak wheat plantation season, compelling them to purchase low-quality inputs imported from India at double the price.
State-owned Salt Trading Corporation is one of the major fertiliser suppliers in the district. But it has not been able to import urea for winter crops, such as wheat. Urea is a type of synthetic chemical fertiliser that is widely used by farmers in Nepal to boost crop productivity.
Agriculture Inputs Company, another state-owned enterprise, is also a major supplier of fertiliser in the district. But this firm too has emptied its stock of urea.
“We ran out of stock before December 25,” Bisan Chand, head of Agriculture Inputs Company, said. “We do not expect fresh supplies to arrive till the next week.”
Farmers of Kanchanpur were hoping to purchase subsidised urea at an affordable rate after its price was recently cut by Rs400 per 100 kg. But since the price was reduced farmers have started witnessing acute shortage of fertilisers.
Lately, farmers have started queuing up in front of offices of Agricultural Inputs Company and Salt Trading Corporation, but they are compelled to return empty handed. Farmers of Kanchanpur currently require additional 500 to 700 metric tons of urea, according to Chand.
“Kanchanpur has not received fertilisers of any sort for the past three months,” Dhruva Shrestha, head of Salt Trading Corporation said. “We hope this situation to continue for at least two to three weeks.”
Kanchanpur is one of the major wheat producers of the country, where around 30,000 hectares of land has been allotted for wheat production.
Annual harvest of wheat in Kanchanpur ranges from 1.5 to 3 metric tonnes. Urea is generally applied to plants after 20 to 25 days of plantation.
Since plantation of wheat has already begun, shortage of urea is likely to reduce harvests this season, according to agricultural technicians.
“We never get fertilisers when we need them,” Suresh Joshi, a farmer of Bhimdutta Municipality, said. “So, we are always forced to use fertilisers imported from India.”
Farmers, according to Joshi, have to pay almost double the price to purchase low-quality fertilisers illegally imported from India through various border points.
These fertilisers not only reduce the harvest, but also degrade the fertility of the soil, agricultural technicians said, adding, these low-quality Indian fertilisers also affect vegetable farms in the vicinity.