Complaints grow as fertiliser crisis worsensThe current stock is not enough to fulfil farmers' demand, say the local units' heads.
The winter wheat sowing season has begun but farmers in Saptari have been facing a shortage of chemical fertiliser amid poor supply arrangements by the government.
On Sunday, the head of all 18 local units of Saptari district in Madhesh Pradesh issued a memorandum to the prime minister through the chief district officer to provide fertilisers immediately.
According to them, the law doesn’t allow local units to procure and supply chemical fertiliser.
“The agricultural production has been decreasing in Saptari due to the scarcity of chemical fertilisers,” said Bidhyananda Chaudary, the chairman of Chhinnamasta Rural Municipality. “We have submitted a memorandum to the prime minister to manage the supply of chemical fertiliser at the earliest,” he said.
“The federal government should be more serious about the issues of farmers.”
Situated in the southeastern plains, around 81,668 hectares of land in the district is arable.
Though the annual demand for fertiliser in the district stands at around 23,857 tonnes of urea, 12,784 tonnes of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 9,024 tonnes of potash, the Krishi Samagri Company Limited and Salt Trading Corporation have only received 283 tonnes of urea, 409 tonnes of DAP and 84 tonnes of potash to distribute to farmers in the district for planting winter crops.
The current stock is not enough to fulfil farmers' demand, say the local units' heads.
“We want the provincial and federal governments to manage the supply of required fertilisers,” they said. “The inadequate fertiliser supply will result in reduced harvest and push the farmers into hunger and poverty.”
“While some farmers have been compelled to leave their fields uncultivated, those who have sowed the crop are also likely to be at loss due to the unavailability of fertilisers,” said Birandra Majhi, mayor of Hanumannagar Kankalini Municipality.
“The federal and provincial governments should take responsibility in case the wheat crop is affected this season.”
Nepali farmers had to suffer in the monsoon after the government failed to supply adequate fertilisers in the peak paddy transplantation period. Officials say Nepal may see a reduced output due to a severe fertiliser shortage. The harvest has already started.
As farmers rush to plant their winter crops—wheat, maize, mustard and pulses—with the chill setting in, several districts across the country are reporting shortages of chemical fertiliser, particularly urea.
The newly elected representatives for federal and provincial assemblies from the district, heads of the local units and other concerned stakeholders have decided to meet on Tuesday to discuss the fertiliser issue.