KATHMANDU, Aug 27: Chemical fertilizers that were stuck in Indian sea ports for the past few months have started to arrive in Nepal. As per the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), the imported fertilizers started arriving on Tuesday.
Hari Bahadur KC, spokesperson of the ministry, said that 3,000 tons of urea was brought in on Tuesday. According to him, the imported fertilizers will be provided to farmers from Thursday.
Although the Ministry announced to ease the fertilizer availability, it is still uncertain if farmers receive them on time. In addition, the Ministry said that it will take another two weeks to bring in all the needed fertilizers.
The Salt Trading Corporation is importing a total of 32,500 tons of fertilizers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although the consignment was expected to arrive two months ago, it was stuck at Kolkata Port and Kandla Port in Gujarat, India, due to the threat of the pandemic.
Chemical fertilizers were in short supply during rice plantation, and farmers are waiting to use the fertilizer for top dressing. Farmers struggle to get the fertilizer on time almost every year.
According to the MoALD, the annual demand for chemical fertilizers stand at around 800,000 tons, while official imports stand at 450,000 tons only. Farmers are provided with subsidies. For this monsoon season, the government has allocated Rs 10 billion to purchase fertilizers, up from Rs 8.99 billion last year.
The government provides subsidies of 65-70% of the original cost in urea, 25-30% in Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and 30-32% in potash. However, the subsidized fertilizer covers only half of the total need, and the remaining is met by informal imports or shipments smuggled through the open border with India.