KATHMANDU, June 28: Fertilizer crisis is likely to further deepen in days to come as the government has failed to make timely decision on procurement of 30,000 tons of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP).
The Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD), which is responsible for supplying fertilizer to farmers, is still to decide whether to procure the DAP fertilizer from Indian Potash Ltd (IPL), a tainted Indian firm.
Then parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had directed the government to blacklist the company. Subsequently, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the constitutional anti-graft body, had initiated an investigation. Despite this, MoAD had picked the controversial Indian firm for procurement of the fertilizer.
Following this, Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC), the state-owned importer and distributor of fertilizers, had begun the procurement process. But when contacted on Wednesday, AIC said it has not received clear instructions from MoAD on whether to procure fertilizers from the controversial Indian supplier.
"MoAD has not given us any instructions. We can do nothing until MoAD gives us clear instructions," said Shashi Raj Tuladhar, managing director of AIC. MoAD Secretary Nathu Prasad Chaudhary couldn´t be reached for comments.
A high-level source at MoAD told Republica on Wednesday: "There is a slim chance for MoAD to give permission to AIC to procure the fertilizer from the controversial firm. Even CIAA has instructed the government to procure the fertilizers as per the existing rules."
Source at MoAC said the price quoted by IPL for DAP is US$ 727 per ton. This is higher by US $30 compared to Import Parity Price (IPP).
"Procurement of DAP from IPL at a rate higher than IPP is against the agreement between Nepal and India," said the source. India had agreed to supply the DAP as per the IPP through IPL.
Similarly, arrival date of 12,500 tons of urea fertilizer from Mine Trading Mineral Company (MMTC) is still uncertain though AIC officials claimed that first consignment would arrive by Wednesday. India had agreed to supply 60,000 tons of urea and 40,000 of DAP to Nepal at IPP.