Urea shortage hits paddy crop

Biratnagar, July 6:

Paddy plantation has been adversely affected due to the shortage of urea in Morang district.

Farmers are helpless today as they could not carry out paddy plantation in time. Urea, usually provided to farmers at a subsidised rates, has been out of stock for the last two years, said head of the Agriculture Inputs Company Ltd in Biratnagar, Hari Regmi.

Lack of urea and drought have hampered paddy plantation on thousands of bighas of land, district agriculture office said.

However, farmers used low quality urea, imported from India at places where irrigation facilities are available.

Farmers are disgruntled with the government for its failure to supply them urea. A farmer of Morang, Babiyabirta-3, Tanka Bhattarai grumbled about the non-availability of subsidised urea.

Farmers today have no option but to use substandard fertilizer brought from India, he said. Farmers use urea, DAP and potassium for paddy plantation.

The Agriculture Inputs Company Ltd in Biratnagar has no stock of urea and potassium, while it has only 10 metric tonnes of DAP.

Its head, Regmi said that urea would arrive within 15-20 days.

Saying that the tender process with India for importing urea has been concluded, he said 300 metric tonnes of urea would soon arrive in Morang district from India.

Morang district has an annual demand for 6,000 metric tonnes of urea for sugarcane, paddy and wheat cultivation.

Farmers in border areas bring urea from India on bicycles across the open border, the company said.

Bogus fertilizer from Siliguri, Ramgunj and Maldah bazaar in West Bengal, India comes to Nepal.

Similarly, fake fertilizers are being produced in Bihar’s Purniya and Arariya districts, meant for Nepal, Agriculture Development Office said.

Use of such substandard fertilizer is taking toll on the productivity of land in Tarai, which is known as the granary of Nepal.

According to district agriculture development office in Morang, paddy production in the district has been on a steady decline.

While, it was 3.49 per cent per hectares in 2060-61, it declined to 3.4 per cent in the fiscal year 2061-62.

Similarly, its decline was at the rate of 0.19 per cent in 2062-63, the office claimed. Morang district produces 3,22,000 metric tonnes of paddy on 1,45,000 hectares of land.