KATHMANDU, Dec 27: Though Agriculture Inputs Company (AIC) has sufficient stock of chemical fertilizers for winter crops, the farmers might have to face shortage of fertilizers for summer crops.
The state-owned fertilizer supplier is not in a position to procure additional fertilizers from international market due to insufficient budget, officials said.
With the government´s recent decision to allow Salt Trading Corporation (STC), a partially state-owned entity, to import 85,000 tons of chemical fertilizers, AIC is preparing to cancel the procurement agreement with an overseas firm for 30,000 tons of urea meant for the coming summer.
“We´d be compelled to cancel the procurement deal with a Singapore-based fertilizer supplier that has agreed to supply 30,000 tons of urea from China for summer crops if the government goes ahead with its recent decision,” A.R Khair, procurement manager of AIC told Republica on Wednesday.
Of the Rs 5 billion budget promised to AIC for procuring additional 135,000 tons of fertilizers this year, only around Rs 2.5 billion has been sanctioned so far.
AIC was also planning to procure 90,000 tons of urea and 15,000 tons of Diammunium Phosphate (DAP) from India under the Import Parity Price as agreed by the southern neighbor.
According to Khair, AIC has 30,000 tons of urea and 20,000 tons of DAP in its stocks across the country. Total 40,000 tons of DAP and 80,000 tons of urea were imported by AIC from China and India targeting crops of last summer and the ongoing winter. Total 5,000 tons of potash is coming soon from Uzbekistan.
“Out of the total 135,000 estimated to require for winter crops, we have stocks of 50,000 tons after selling around 85,000 tons of fertilizers to farmers in the last couple of months. Though we can ensure a comfortable supply for winter, the scarcity will hit farmers if we fail to procure additional fertilizers,” said Khair.
Meanwhile according to our Banepa correspondent Madhusudan Guragain, the AIC´s Dhulikhel branch has kept comfortable stock of chemical fertilizers in its godown for this winter season after three years of insufficient reserve.
“We are in a position to supply fertilizers to farmers for the winter season,” said Nabaraj Mahat, a senior assistant at the branch. Out of the total 64,000 sacks (50 kg each) of urea and 22,700 sacks of DAP supplied from Birgunj godown, the Dhulikhel branch has already disbursed 35,267 tons of urea and 17,196 tons of DAP to farmers through local cooperatives.
“We have no scarcity of fertilizers as we have a stock of around 42,000 sacks of urea and 5,000 tons of DAP which includes old stocks,” said Mahat. Total 552 cooperatives have got dealership to sell the AIC´s fertilizers to farmers. However, Mahat said the branch could not maintain enough stock of potash for winter crops.