KATHMANDU, July 01: After weeks of delays, a train container carrying a consignment of 2,500 tons of urea fertilizer left the Indian state of Assam for Nepal Friday. Nepal is witnessing an acute shortage of fertilizers in the midst of key paddy planting season.
Mineral and Mine Trading Company (MMTC), which is to supply total 12,500 tons of urea at Import Parity Price (IPP) to Nepal, dispatched the first batch -- 50,000 sacks of 50-kg sacks -- from Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Ltd (BVFCL) of Asam.
“MMTC has sent a letter via e-mail to us Friday stating that a rail container loaded with 2,500 tons of urea has already left for Nepal. We expect the first consignment to arrive in Birgunj by Monday,” A R Khair, procurement manager of Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) told Republica Saturday.
He said a total of 12,500 tons of urea, for which the government had already made payment a couple of months back, would have been received within 25 days of the payment had the situation been normal.
India had agreed to sell 100,000 tons of fertilizers (60,000 tons urea and 40,000 tons DAP) to Nepal at IPP for the current fiscal year. Out of the total agreed quantity, 47,500 tons of urea and 10,000 tons of DAP has already arrived.
However, import of the remaining 30,000 tons of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) is still uncertain as the state-owned AIC has remained indecisive over procuring the fertilizer from Indian Potash Ltd (IPL), which had supplied underweight sacks for months prompting the Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to investigate into the matter and parliamentary Public Account Committee (PAC) to instruct the government to blacklist the tainted firm.
AIC´s scheduled board meeting, which is supposed to take the decision on whether to buy DAP from IPL, couldn´t be held Friday. In response to a request from AIC for clear instruction on whether to procure the fertilizers from IPL, the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) chose to stay away from the dispute and told AIC that it doesn´t need the ministry´s nod for procuring fertilizers.
AIC, which is fast running out of stock of chemical fertilizers amid rising demands, had distributed 50-kg urea sack per head to around 2,000 farmers from its office in Kathmandu on Friday. “We distributed fertilizers to around 2,000 farmers and distributed around 2,000 coupons on Friday. We are planning to distribute the fertilizers to coupon holders on Saturdays,” said Chandika Bhattarai, chief of AIC´s Main Branch in Kathmandu. AIC officials said around 2,000 tons of fertilizers are in stock in AIC depots across the country.
To cope with the growing demand for fertilizers in the Valley, AIC has been importing 1400 sacks of fertilizers per day from Bhairawa Regional Office for the last couple of days.
Supply to ease soon: PM
KATHMANDU, July 01 : Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said supply of chemical fertilizers would ease soon after the consignment from India arrives.
“Arrival of planned fertilizers from India was delayed due to technical reasons. We are concerned about the shortage of fertilizer in the market. Fertilizers supply will gradually improve,” PM Bhattarai, who is also looking after the MoAD portfolio told Reporters. He also said process of delivering 30,000 tons of DAP to Nepal from India would resume soon.