Monday, July 2, 2012

Fertiliser shortage continues, farmers warn of protest

Farmers, united under the umbrella of All Nepal Farmers' Association, today warned that they will protest against scarcity of chemical fertiliser in the market.
"If the government does not ensure the fertiliser supply soon, the farmers will start protest in street," chairman of the association Bamdev Gautam said in the Reporters' Club today.
The association has also demanded to scrap the tender given to Indian Potas Ltd (IPL), a blacklisted company for supplying low weight fertiliser sacks in March. "Giving tender to the blacklisted company is like looting of state treasury and Dr Baburam Bhattarai-led government is promoting it," he blamed.
The association has put six-point demands including immediate supply of fertiliser and scraping the tender process. But the government has been maintaining silence that will cost the country heavily.
Investigation committee under the Ministry of Agriculture Development had found about 4.42 kg less weight in 50 kg sack supplied by the company in March. The government had started the process to buy 30,000 metric tones (MT) di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) from IPL in May 8.
However, Agriculture Input Company (AIC) has asked the Mineral and Mine Trading (MMTC) to supply 12.500 metric tones of DAP. "The company has supplied fertiliser but it is a drop in ocean," said managing director of the company Sashi Raj Tuladhar.
On one hand the erratic rainfall has hit the farmers and on the other the shortage of fertiliser has made it difficult for them to harvest paddy that contributes more in the agriculture gross domestic production.
Agriculture contributes 33 per cent in the total GDP and the lack of fertilizer in the paddy season, will hit the economic growth of the country for the next fiscal year.
According to estimates some 700,000 metric tones of fertiliser is needed in paddy season. "The farmers will not get sufficient fertiliser for paddy — a major crop of the country — season," he said, adding that shortage of fertiliser has been sparking protests across the country.

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