KATHMANDU, AUGUST 26

A total of 3,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser have arrived in the country in the last one week.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), recently 2,500 tonnes of urea fertilisers were delivered at Birgunj Port, while 500 tonnes of urea fertiliser have been delivered at the Biratnagar Port.

Meanwhile, 32,000 tonnes of urea fertilisers ordered by Salt Trading Corporation (STC) have reached Kolkata and will arrive soon, said Hari Bahadur KC, spokesperson for MoALD.

“We are trying to bring fertilisers as soon as possible, but border protocols and other procedures are creating obstructions. However, we vow to bring and distribute fertilisers to the farmers over the next seven to 10 days,” he said.

Indeed the border restrictions, lockdown in both the countries and transportation hurdles affected import of chemical fertilisers.

While diammonium phosphate (DAP) is in higher demand for paddy plantation than urea fertilisers, the government has enough stock of DAP, KC had said earlier. Back then, he had even said that there could be shortage of urea, but the ministry would figure out a way to bring it within a few days.

That was two months ago.

Left red-faced as it could not deliver on its earlier promise of ensuring that farmers do not face shortage of fertilisers this year, the MoALD had recently sought clarification from the Agriculture Input Company Ltd (AICL) and Salt Trading Corporation (STC) for the delay in imports.

As per KC, AICL said that the COVID-19 pandemic delayed supply of fertilisers.

The company has informed the ministry that fertilisers ordered from Oman will reach Kolkata within two weeks, from where the fertilisers will be imported into the country.

Meanwhile, the STC also gave a similar response to the ministry, he added.

According to MoALD, Agriculture Minister Ghanashyam Bhusal has directed both the authorities to sort out the issues as soon as possible and monitor their own respective importers.

Each year, the country needs around 600,000 tonnes of fertilisers and Nepal has to import it from India.

But the Indian market has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and factories there are not operating properly. Moreover, import/export to Nepal has also not been eased yet.

Because of all this, fertiliser import has been affected, stated MoALD.