Fertiliser crunch unlikely to ease soon

KATHMANDU: The valley has been facing a fertilizer crunch for the last couple of months. Though fertilizer has arrived, Sajha outlets have not been able to purchase it.

The Sajha Mal distribution centre at Bhadrakali is lying shut for months now due to lack of fertilizer. The government has brought in about 15,000 metric tonnes of urea which are available with Agricultural Inputs Company Limited (AICL), “We have brought in 15,000 metric tonnes of urea and it is available but probably due to lack of funds Sajha has not been able to buy it,” said Hari Dahal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture.

The demand for fertilizer is about 4,00,000 metric tonnes, but the government has offered subsidy on only 100,000 metric tonnes and plans to bring it in by this year. “With 15,000 metric tons already available another 12000 metric tons is on it way. We have tied up with an international contractor who will bring it in very soon,” added Dahal.

Sajha Mal distributors are government authorised dealers and are supposed to buy the fertilizer from AICL. The price for urea currently available has been set at Rs 15 per kg.

“Either it is dissatisfaction at the price setting or lack of funds, but Sajha has not been able to purchase fertilizers which may be the cause of their outlets being shut,” said Dahal. He added that about 200 metric tonnes have already been sold in Kathmandu, and more fertilizer is available but there is no one coming to buy it from AICL.

The government gives subsidy on one lakh metric tonnes of fertilizers only and as the demand is four lakhs metric tonnes, any private organisation can go ahead and purchase the required amount but without subsidy.

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