Farmers in eastern hills wary over fertilizer scarcity
UDAYAPUR, Aug 4: Farmers of poverty stricken eastern hill districts like Khotang, who suffered 50 percent loss in maize productions, fear loss in productions of paddy as well as they have not been able to get hold of fertilizer even as the plantation season is fast approaching its end.
As maize is the main crop in those districts, sharp drop in its production meant farmers needed better paddy harvest to safeguard themselves from food insecurity. However, the scarcity of fertilizer has poured cold water to their aspirations.
Scarcity of fertilizer surfaced in Udaypur, the main commercial hub from where the farmers of those districts source their essentials, mainly as traders supposed to make the supply diverted their consignments and black marketeered the subsidized chemical fertilizer in Sindhuli.
“The traders are selling the chemical fertilizer on the way. They were suppose to bring it here for distribution from the District Agriculture Office (DAO),” Ramesh Poudel, a local farmer told Republica. “We fear we might not get fertilizer for paddy plantation as well.”
Farmers had failed to get fertilizer when they required it during maize plantation season around two months ago. That has already resulted in drop in maize productions in districts like Khotang by 50 percent.
"We fear if we will be able to produce enough to feed our children and family members," said Poudel.
According to local officials, Saraswati Construction Service (SCS) was assigned to deliver chemical fertilizer in Udaypur, but it has been selling it in other places. “This has prevented us from getting chemical fertilizer,” Ganesh Silwal, another local farmer said, expressing concerns over its possible impact on paddy output.
According to DAO statistics, chemical feritilizer is widely used in two-third of of the 76 VDCs.