HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Agriculture Input Company (AIC) — the state entity responsible for the smooth supply of chemical fertilisers — has claimed that the shortage of chemical fertilisers will ease from Thursday.
AIC is importing about 12,500 metric tonnes of fertilisers to end the crisis, said deputy general manager of the company Shashi Raj Tuladhar at Reporters’ Club today. “We will receive the fertilisers on Wednesday,” he said, adding that AIC will distribute them from Thursday.
According to him, the company will distribute one sack (50kg) of fertilisers from the stock that it currently has to farmers from Monday. “Those who received coupons from the company will be able to avail the fertilisers,” he explained. AIC had distributed coupons five days back to end the sit-in protest in front of its central office in Kathmandu.
He claimed that the monsoons had been delayed in the country, so there is no acute shortage of fertilisers as published in the media. “Farmers will get adequate amount of fertilisers in the coming days,” he said. “The major reason for the shortage is insufficient budget.”
The country needs about 700,000 metric tonnes of chemical fertilisers annually but the government has been importing only 150,000 metric tonnes. “This is the real cause for the shortage,” he said. He said that AIC is planning to import more than 300,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers from next fiscal year.
Former agriculture minister Chhabilal Bishwakarma blamed the government for the shortage. “The irresponsible government is the main culprit for the current shortage,” he said, adding that the government cannot escape from its duty to maintain smooth supply.
However, former agriculture minister Ahmad Ikabal Shah blamed the bureaucracy for the fertiliser shortage. “Bureaucrats are more interested in holding discussions with non-governmental organisations rather than performing their duties,” he said.
President of National Farmer Association Uddhav Adhikari urged for the smooth supply of fertilisers throughout the year. The government must increase the budget for fertilisers, he said. Other farmers present in the programme echoed the same view.