Farmers leave fields fallow after not getting subsidised fertiliserThe Agriculture Knowledge Centre could not purchase farm inputs for lack of working procedure, officials said.
Kedar Prasad Sah, a farmer of Sirsiya Khalwa Tol, Birgunj Metropolitan City-26, was forced to leave his 1.5 bigha farm fallow this year after not getting fertiliser.
He had wanted to plant wheat on his field after getting organic fertiliser from the Agriculture Knowledge Centre, Parsa, but he could not procure any soil fortifier and had to give up his plans.
“I waited for a long time after getting assurances from the centre of obtaining organic fertiliser with a 75 percent subsidy,” he said. But he got no fertiliser and was unable to grow wheat in his field.
Uday Bahadur Silwal, a farmer who cultivates papaya and other fruits commercially at Chorni, also complained that he could not get organic fertiliser from the centre.
He waited a long time to get fertiliser from the centre to apply on his field. After giving up hope of obtaining the farm inputs from the centre, Silwal bought them on his own before it became too late to use them.
The government introduced the policy of providing a 75 percent subsidy on organic fertiliser through the centre to encourage farmers to use organic fertiliser as an alternative to chemical inputs. But most of the farmers complained that they could not get any of the environment-friendly fertiliser from the centre.
The centre issued a list of eight companies from where farmers could buy the subsidised fertiliser, but they didn't have any in stock. Among the listed sellers was Tara Prasad, proprietor of Captain Krishi Firm of Birgunj.
The farmers had been purchasing Rukh brand organic fertiliser from the company in the past, but this time it did not have this brand of fertiliser as the centre had not procured any, leaving the farmers in a lot of trouble.
“Despite Nepal being named an agricultural country and Parsa being the home district of Chief Minister Lal Babu Raut, farmers are being deprived of the facility of obtaining subsidised fertiliser,” he said, adding that no action was being taken against the officials concerned.
Ram Chandra Yadav, head of the Agriculture Knowledge Centre, said that the centre could not purchase organic fertiliser for lack of work procedure even after appointing the companies to sell it.
“The previous work procedure is being amended as it was not useful,” he said. “It is difficult to perform our job because we have to complete the process. There is fear that the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority will take action and we will lose our jobs if the proper procedure is not followed,” Yadav said.
According to the data released by Nepal Rastra Bank, the country imported chemical fertiliser valued at Rs14.3 billion during the first seven months of the current fiscal year.
The figure represents a 35 percent jump from the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year when imports amounted to Rs10.6 billion.