Shortage of fertilizer hits eastern region

Biratnagar, November 16:

Farmers in the eastern region could not cultivate wheat this season due to shortage of Di-Amonium Phosphet (DAP) fertilizer here.

farmers complained that the government has failed to supply fertilizer on time. “The season is almost off for the cultivation of wheat this year,” they said.

They resort to wheat farming as cash crop after the rice harvesting season each year. Farmers visit the Agriculture Inputs Centre (AIC) daily but they return empty handed due to shortage of fertilizer. Hari Regmi, head at the AIC, Biratnagar office said that the office has no immediate plan to bring fertilizer. “The fertilizer could come only after 15 days, even if there was an agreement between Nepal and India,” he said adding that it takes three months to import fertilizer in normal process.

“The farmers should pressurise the government to import DAP fertilizer as early as possible,” he added. The farmers were forced to use low quality fertilizers from across the border due to the shortage of fertilizer in the market.

The DAP fertilizer distributed by the AIC consists 47 per cent of phosphorus and 18 per cent nitrogen. According to the AIC, the DAP it sells has credibility among the users as it sells only after the lab test.

However, urea is available at AIC offices in Mechi, Koshi and Sagarmatha zones, AIC office, Biratnagar said. “We also have enough stock of urea fertilizer,” he said.

Tanka Bhattarai, a farmer at Morang Babiyabirta-3, said that the farmers were left with no option but to buy low quality DAP fertilizers at high price from across the border. “The AIC used to supply DAP fertilizer at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,295 per sack,” Bhattarai said adding that the price has now increased to Rs 2,000 per sack in the market across the border.

The AIC also said that some private businessmen have imported expensive DAP fertilizer from China and the Philippines. According to the statistics, 5,000 MT of fertilizer is required in the eastern region annually.