Nepali and Indian firms sign pact for fertiliser supplyDeal, however, won’t assure the availability of urea for the top dressing of paddy.
Nepal's Krishi Samagri Company Limited and India’s Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited on Wednesday signed a commercial agreement for the supply of chemical fertilisers to Nepal, four months after the two neighbours had signed a government-to-government deal.
The commercial agreement, however, will not assure the farm inputs, particularly urea for the top dressing of the paddy crop. Agro experts say urea needs to be applied during the first top dressing—three weeks after paddy transplantation.
Nepal had been making efforts to bring the fertilisers through a government-to-government deal targeting the paddy transplantation season, but the two sides failed to sign commercial agreements on time due to various legal hurdles.
On February 28, Nepal had signed a government-to-government deal with India to procure chemical fertilisers for five years, raising hopes that the constant nightmare of shortages during planting season will finally end for Nepali farmers.
“After a long discussion, a commercial agreement has been signed,” said Rajendra Bahadur Karki, general manager of Krishi Samagri Company. “We hope that the fertilisers will be available from the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Company.”
He, however, said that the fertilisers could be available for the wheat plantation period in the winter.
As per the memorandum, Nepal can buy 150,000 tonnes of crop nutrients—100,000 tonnes of urea and 50,000 tonnes of diammonium phosphate (DAP)—from the southern neighbour in the first year.
In the second year, Nepal will be able to procure 170,000 tonnes, in the third year 195,000 tonnes, and in the fourth and fifth years, 210,000 tonnes each.
But, the two sides had differed over where the Indian company would deliver the fertilisers. The Indian company had proposed that it would deliver the fertilisers at Kolkata port, but Nepal had been insisting the fertilisers should be delivered at Nepal’s border towns.
Karki said that the Indian side would deliver the inputs to border towns, including Birgunj, Biratnagar and Bhairahawa.
“We will start the procurement process to avail fertilisers for the wheat plantation season,” said Karki. “The Indian company will start supplying fertilisers 30 days after receiving the supply order from us.”