KATHMANDU, Nov 20: The government is procuring around 49,000 tons of additional chemical fertilizers through Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) - state-owned importer and distributor of fertilizers to avert its possible shortage in the winter season.
“We will be in a comfortable position to distribute fertilizers during the winter seasons as we are going to maintain sufficient stocks as per the demands from farmers,” said Shashi Raj Tuladhar, managing director of AIC.
Around 5,000 tons of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) and 15,000 tons of urea are in stocks at different outlets of AIC, which has been arranging distribution of chemical fertilizers through its outlets and agriculture cooperatives across the country.
Tuladhar said farmers were expected to demand around 130,000 tons of chemical fertilizers during the winter season. Famers demand chemical fertilizers mainly for wheat, barley, buckwheat and various vegetables farming during the winter.
According to Tuladhar, AIC is procuring 32,000 tons of DAP and 7,000 tons of urea from China and 10,000 tons of urea from Mineral and Mine Trading Company (MMTC) of India targeting the winter crops.
The government had planned to procure 30,000 tons of DAP from MMTC as part of the plan to procure 100,000 tons of chemical fertilizers from India.
“Out of the total amount of fertilizers which are in pipeline to enter the country, 32,000 tons of DAP and 7,000 tons of urea have already arrived at Kolkata port and the fertilizers will start arriving at the Nepali borders within this week,” said Tuladhar. AIC has already distributed around 40,000 tons of chemical fertilizers to farmers for winter crops.
Tuladhar also claimed that farmers don´t have to face shortage of chemical fertilizers in winter unlike during paddy and maize season when farmers took to the street demanding fertilizers. The absence of chemical fertilizer factory in the country and lengthy import process are the major causes behind the recurrent scarcity in the domestic market.
Though the annual demands for chemical fertilizers hovers around 700,000 tons, the government is arranging less than 300,000 tons through formal procurement process leaving huge gap between demands and supplies.
The recent estimation of the Minister of Agriculture Development (MoAD) shows that production of paddy and maize will drop by 14.2 percent and 10 percent, mainly due to shortage of chemical fertilizers and insufficient rainfall during the plantation season.