KATHMANDU, Nov 22: Farmers are likely to face a shortage of chemical fertilizers this year too as the importers turn reluctant to purchase adequate quantities of the agricultural input citing soaring prices in the international market.
According to the Agriculture Inputs Company Limited (AICL), the contractor companies have been complaining of the price hike of fertilizers in the international market. “On an average, the price has increased by USD 300 per ton in the international market,” said Netra Bahadur Bhandari, managing director of AICL.
Bhandari said the AICL had awarded the contract to the importers on the basis of the existing prices which were far cheaper than the present prices. “Showing the possible huge losses, the contractors have been refusing to import fertilizers,” he added.
Over the past few months, the purchase price of chemical fertilizers has increased from USD 670 per ton to USD 948 per ton. Nepal needs 750,000 tons to 800,000 tons of chemical fertilizers during the plantation seasons.
According to the AICL, the government has allocated Rs 15 billion to import fertilizers this year. However, the amount is sufficient to purchase only 200,000 tons, said Bhandari.
Almost every year, the government expresses its commitment to implement some new policies, expressing its promptness to resolve the recurring problem of fertilizer shortage, when the plantation seasons approach near. But farmers face the same perennial problem when the plantation begins in their rice fields.
Last year, the government even announced to bring in fertilizers on a government-to-government agreement basis. In the line, it also imported 50,000 tons of fertilizers from Bangladesh. However, no further progress has been observed in this mechanism to supply the agriculture inputs in the domestic market.