Nepal starts getting more fertiliserThe frequency in arrival of consignments of chemical fertiliser is gradually increasing, providing a big relief to the country which was witnessing rapid depletion in the stock of the key agricultural input.
The frequency in arrival of consignments of chemical fertiliser is gradually increasing, providing a big relief to the country which was witnessing rapid depletion in the stock of the key agricultural input.
In the last one week alone, the Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj received two rakes of chemical fertiliser.
A rake can carry around 2,500 tonnes of fertiliser.
These consignments of fertiliser include both urea and diammonium phosphate (DAP). They will be divided equally among Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) and Salt Trading Corporation (STC), two state-owned companies engaged in supply of fertiliser in Nepal.
“Of the two rakes of chemical fertiliser that have entered Nepal, one is meant for Bhairahawa,” said Ajay Kumar Shribastav, chief of AIC Birgunj. “We will soon send it.” At the moment, Nepal is receiving fertiliser from two different sources. One is from the Indian government. The Nepal government has been purchasing fertiliser from the Indian government under a government-to-government deal. The other source is Wilson International Company, the contractor selected by AIC and STC to supply the crop nutrient.
Wilson International was supposed to supply chemical fertiliser to AIC and STC long time ago. But the process was delayed, because the consignments, which were originally shipped from China, remained stranded at the Kolkata Port for around
three months due to congestion. The consignments started arriving in the country after Indian Railways agreed to dedicate two rakes for Nepal per week to supply fertiliser following a number of requests to the Indian government through the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu and the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi.
“Since the cargoes of fertiliser stuck at Kolkata are gradually being released, we are expecting around 15,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes of chemical fertiliser to enter Nepal soon,” said Shribastav. Currently, the demand for urea is relatively lower than DAP. “Therefore, it will be easier to manage the urea demand,” he said. “However, we will keep stocking DAP to ensure there is no shortage during the upcoming wheat plantation season.”
Nepal had previously requested India to provide additional chemical fertiliser through a government-to-government deal to prevent a possible shortage during the winter growing season. This is the second time this year that the government has asked the southern neighbour for crop nutrients.
The government fears that the small number of international bidders that were awarded contracts to supply fertilisers may pull out due to sharp price fluctuations in the global market.
Importing fertilisers through a government-to-government deal will eliminate lengthy procedures. According to AIC officials, chemical fertiliser prices have jumped $80-90 per tonne in the global market. If the market price of fertiliser rises more than 20-25 percent, the supplier usually prefers to forfeit the bid bond instead of fulfilling the contract, said officials.
A supplier has to deposit 5 percent of the bid amount as security. The supplier thinks that it is better to forfeit the 5 percent deposit than incur losses of 20-25 percent of the contract amount. Nepal’s annual fertiliser demand stands at 700,000 tonnes, of which 90,000 tonnes are required for winter crops.