Govt requests India to supply fertiliserThe government has formally requested India to provide 30,000 tonnes of urea in order to prevent a possible shortage of the farm input for winter crops.
The government has formally requested India to provide 30,000 tonnes of urea in order to prevent a possible shortage of the farm input for winter crops.
The government recently wrote to India’s Ministry of External Affairs making such a request. “We have requested the Indian government to provide the said quantity of fertiliser, and are awaiting its reply,” said Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhaya.
Urea is mostly used for winter crops like vegetables, wheat, maize and spring paddy (chaite dhan).
Nepal’s annual fertiliser demand stands at 700,000 tonnes, while winter crops need 90,000 tonnes.
Narayan Marasini, spokesperson for Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC), said they currently have 6,000 tonnes of urea stock. “As winter crops spill over up to mid-May, the total urea requirement stands at 30,000 tonnes.”
The demand for the fertiliser picks up from March when farmers start to plant wheat and maize.
According to Marasini, AIC faced deficit of urea as UAE-based Commodities Trading Company, which had bagged the contract to supply the fertiliser, failed to do so after prices jumped $25 per tonne in the global market.
“We have seized the performance bond of $215,000 from the company,” he said, adding, however, that there is no shortage of Diammonium phosphate (DAP).
Even as the government has requested India to supply urea, it is not sure Nepal would be able address immediate demand. “However, we are doing our best to speed up the procurement process,” said Upadhaya.
Under the Nepal-India treaty signed in 2009, India has agreed to sell 100,000 tonnes of chemical fertilisers (60,000 tonnes of urea and 40,000 tonnes of DAP) to Nepal annually at the international parity price to avoid procedural hassles.
Marasini said it normally takes six months to procure chemical fertilisers following a global tender call under the Public Procurement Act.
State-subsidised fertilisers fulfil just 25-30 percent of the total demand, and the rest is met from informal imports or smuggled products through porous Nepal-India border. A study conducted by the Finance Ministry in 2006 has put the share of informal fertiliser imports at 71.6 percent.