Kathmandu, June 18
Agriculture Minister Chakrapani Khanal has directed the concerned authorities to prevent possible scarcity of chemical fertilisers.
After receiving massive complaints from farmers about difficulties in getting sufficient amount of fertilisers, Minister Khanal called a meeting with State Agriculture Minister Ram Kumari Chaudhary, representatives from Salt Trading Corporation and Agriculture Inputs Company Ltd.
The meeting held on late Monday evening has circulated a three-point direction to all the concerned authorities.
The first direction is not to let anyone misuse the budget allocated for import of chemical fertilisers in other activities. As Minister Khanal had been informed that concerned authorities are using the budget allotted for chemical fertilisers in other works, he has emphasised that this direction be implemented strictly.
Secondly, Minister Khanal has directed dealers not to sell chemical fertilisers outside their particular areas.
According to the minister, dealers have been found to be selling fertilisers without any regard to their specified areas. This in turn, as per the agriculture ministry, is also causing shortage of fertilisers in certain areas.
Minister Khanal has also directed the concerned authorities to ensure that traders are not overcharging customers when selling chemical fertilisers.
In order to implement these directions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development will conduct strict inspections and action will be taken against those found to be disregarding the minister’s directions.
Minister Khanal has directed the concerned authorities to implement all these three directions immediately in order to prevent scarcity of chemical fertilisers in the market.
This year the Ministry of Finance has allocated a total of Rs nine billion for chemical fertilisers. Of the given amount, Rs 1.50 billion will be spent to clear last year’s dues. As per the ministry, the remaining Rs 7.50 billion will be enough to buy around 327,500 tonnes of chemical fertilisers.
So, as per the ministry, it is currently planning to make price adjustment on chemical fertilisers this year. Currently, farmers are buying urea fertiliser at Rs 14 per kilogram, diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertiliser at Rs 43 per kilogram and potash at Rs 31 per kilogram from the government.
As per the ministry’s plan, if the price of urea fertiliser is hiked to Rs 20 per kg and price of DAP to Rs 49, then the government could buy a total of 456,500 tonnes of chemical fertilisers this year.
However, the ministry is yet to present this plan to the Cabinet. According to the ministry, the price adjustment will be carried out only after receiving approval from the Cabinet.
A version of this article appears in print on June 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.