AIC up to its neck in unsold fertiliserAgriculture Inputs Company (AIC) is having a hard time finding warehouse space to keep its mountains of unsold chemical fertiliser imported from third countries, the state-owned enterprise said.
Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) is having a hard time finding warehouse space to keep its mountains of unsold chemical fertiliser imported from third countries, the state-owned enterprise said.
Demand for soil fortifiers has gone down as the wheat planting season is over, and the company has piles of unsold stock with further shipments scheduled to arrive in the near future.
The AIC warehouse in Birgunj is bulging with 32,000 tonnes of chemical fertiliser, and more is on the way from India. There is no more space to store the additional imports, it said.
According to Ajay Kumar Shribastav, chief of the AIC regional office, there are 15,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser, 17,000 tonnes of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 55 tonnes of potassium in stock in Birgunj.
“All the warehouses of the company are filled with fertiliser,” said Shribastav. “As we had no more space, we rented the warehouses of other government institutions like National Trading Company and Birgunj Sugar
Mill, and they are also filled with fertiliser now.”
With government-owned warehouses all full, Shribastav said the company had recently rented the warehouses of local business people to store its fertiliser.
AIC imported a large quantity of fertiliser anticipating immense demand during the wheat
planting season. But the shipment was delayed, and farmers had already finished planting their wheat crops by the time the fertiliser arrived.
Farmers said they were forced to buy poor quality fertiliser from private companies at high prices as they were running late to plant their crops. Now, their crops are almost ready to be harvested, and they don’t need fertiliser anymore. As there is no practice of planting spring paddy in the region, demand for fertiliser will re-emerge only after three to four months when farmers start planning their monsoon paddy. Therefore, AIC will have to hold on to its fertiliser stock for another four months.
The state-owned company faces a major headache as another 36,000 tonnes of urea purchased from third countries through global tender is slated to arrive in Birgunj soon.
The urea dispatched by four companies has already reached Kolkata and Visakhapatnam ports in India. There the fertiliser will be repacked in sacks and transported to Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj by rail.
According to the Agricultural Ministry, the annual demand for chemical fertiliser currently stands at over 720,000 tonnes. Subsidised fertiliser fulfils only one-fourth of the country’s total requirement, and the rest is met by informal imports that are smuggled through the porous border with India. A study conducted by the Finance Ministry in 2006 has put the share of informal fertiliser imports at 71.6 percent of total supplies.