DHADING, May 15: Shortage of chemical fertilizers in the middle of farming season has forced many farmers in the district to camp at the district headquarters Dhadingbesi.
Setimaya Gurung of Dhuwakot in Nilkantha Municipality has been staying in Dhadingbesi for the past two days. "It was easier to get chemical fertilizers last year. But there is no chemical fertilizer in stock this year," he said, adding: "We don't know what to do as we need chemical fertilizers for maize and paddy planted last month."
Farmers had somehow planted crops despite lack of rainfall. Shortage of chemical fertilizers has further aggravated their situation. There is high demand for Urea fertilizers in the district. In the lack of Urea, plants are turning yellow, say farmers.
Shortage of chemical fertilizers and other farming inputs is a recurring problem in rural areas of Nepal. After sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings, farmers need chemical fertilizers while weeding their crop.
While many farmers are staying district headquarters Dhadingbesi in the hope of getting chemical fertilizers, others have gone as far as Gajuri, Nuwakot and Chitwan.
Sher Bahadur Gurung, another local of Dhuwakot who is at Dhadingbesi, said that he might have to return empty-handed. "This is my fifth visit to the district headquarters this season," he rued.
Nilkantha Cooperatives, which has been distributing chemical fertilizers to farmers since long, does not have chemical fertilizers in stock this season. Officials of the cooperative say they have no idea when they will get fertilizer supplies.
According to Agriculture Knowledge Center, Dhading, the district needs 12,000 tons of chemical fertilizers. Of the total demand, Agriculture Inputs Company Limited supplies only around 4,000 tons to the districts. Remaining quantity is supplied by fertilizers traders at inflated price, say local farmers.
Agriculture provides around 33 percent of Nepal's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Paddy alone contributes more than half of agriculture GDP. Farmers say paddy production is likely to fall this year due to shortage of Urea.
Paddy farming is done in 26,000 hectares of land in the district. Dhading produces around 70,000 tons of rice annually.