Kathmandu, June 27 The Agriculture and Water Resources Committee of the Legislature-Parliament, today, instructed the government to manage smooth supply of chemical fertilisers during paddy plantation and weeding. Plantation of paddy has already started in the country due to early monsoon this year. However, the country is facing shortage of chemical fertilisers as the government has failed to manage proper distribution. The parliamentary panel has issued this instruction to the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) as the imported cargoes have been stuck at the Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) Birgunj since long because of importers failing to clear ground rent and terminal handling charge (THC) that had accrued during the border blockade. “The Ministry of Agricultural Development had written to the MoC some two weeks back to get the fertilisers released from ICD citing nearing paddy plantation season. But the MoC has not responded,” Agriculture Secretary Uttam Kumar Bhattarai said during the discussion in house panel. The ICD Birgunj is operated by the Nepal-India joint venture company Himalaya Terminal, which has been refusing to dispatch cargoes till the importers clear the charges accrued. Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) and Salt Trading Corporation (STC) are authorised to import chemical fertiliser into the country. According to importers, over 20,000 tonnes of urea fertilisers imported by AIC and 2,600 tonnes of the diammonium phosphate (DAP) have been stranded at ICD. The government extended subsidy worth Rs 5.47 billion this fiscal for fertilisers so that farmers will be able to buy chemical fertilisers easily and at subsidised rates to enhance production. This subsidy has been granted for around 300,000 tonnes of chemical fertilisers — urea, potash and DAP. AIC and STC have been importing more fertilisers eyeing the high demand during paddy plantation and weeding time. The government-owned company Nepal Transit and Warehousing Company Ltd has 20 per cent stake in Himalayan Terminal and MoC’s instruction to release the cargoes should put an end to the issue, according to importers. They have said that they are not in a position to clear over Rs 100 million claimed by the Himalaya Terminal. The house panel has also formed a subcommittee to study effective utilisation of subsidy in fertilisers. The subcommittee has been formed under the leadership of lawmaker Kashinath Adhikari.

85pc imported pesticides used in veggies KATHMANDU: A random survey of Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) has shown that 85 per cent of pesticides imported into the country are used in vegetables. The country imports 450 tonnes of pesticide a year. Excessive use of pesticides in veggies causes adverse impact in human health in three layers — users of pesticides, collectors and consumers. Sanjeev Kumar Karna, director general of DFTQC said use of pesticides has been growing rampantly due to lack of proper monitoring mechanism. Recently, Plant Protection Directorate (PPD), in support of DFTQC, has started pesticide inspection in major entry points to Kathmandu Valley. Apart from this, pesticide inspection lab has been launched at Kalimati Fruit and Vegetables Development Board few years back. Dilli Ram Sharma, programme director at PPD, said they are preparing to launch pesticide inspection lab in major cities outside Valley as well. Agriculture and Water Resources Committee has also formed a subcommittee Dhungel to study rampant use of pesticides and submit its report.