DHANGADHI, Oct 27: Ram Gulabi Chaudhary is worried these days after irrigating the land that he had leased to cultivate barley and mustard. It has already been a while after irrigating the land, but he cannot sow the seeds in lack of fertilizers. Now he fears the land will dry and he has to spend money again for irrigation.
“We are not getting chemical fertilizer till now, the land is getting dry and we are unable to sow barley and mustard,” Chaudhary said: "If the land dries our expenses will double for watering the land again."
He has been cultivating barley in one bigaha and mustard in 10 katthas of leased land. He said he had to pay around Rs 7000 along with other expenses for boring water to irrigate the land.
“On the one hand, production may decline in lack of chemical fertilizers and on the other, our costs will double if the land dries up while we wait for chemical fertilizers,” he said: “Farmers like us who have been leasing others' farms will be in trouble.”
Ram Gulabi Chaudary is just an example. There are many farmers in Kailali and Kanchanpur who are facing similar problem. They fear less production due to lack of chemical fertilizers, and some of them have started sowing seeds without chemical fertilizers.
“I have sowed mustard and masoor dal (red lentils) without using chemical fertilizers,” Ram Chandra Joshi a farmer from Chaumala of Kailali told Republica.
Even the Dhangadhi regional office of government-owned Agriculture Inputs Company Limited (AICL) does not have chemical fertilizers in stock. Durga Prasad Panday, chief of the AICl branch, said that around 30,000 tons of DAP and urea fertilizer are needed for winter crops but AICL store has run out of both fertilizers.
“Fertilizers in our stock finished two weeks ago, and the central office has said that it will take more time to send fertilizers here,” he said. AICL has sold 1,959 tons of urea, 5,016 tons of DAP and 35 tons of potash in the area in the last four months.
“Though our country is agriculture-based country, farmers have to face shortage of fertilizers every year. The government seems indifferent toward it,” said Ram Naresh Chaudhary, a local farmer.
According to senior agriculture development officer Yuvraj Pandey, farmers of Kailali have been using chemical fertilizer instead of organic fertilizer, which is why the production is likely to decline in lack of chemical fertilizers. He said that farmers should be encouraged to use organic fertilizers instead of chemical fertilizers.
However, Dhangadi regional office of Salt Trading Corporation, another government-owned body to sell fertilizers, said that it has received fertilizer as per the demand. Kesav Prasad Pandey, chief of the office, said they have been selling fertilizers to farmers from their store. The government-funded fertilizer is being sold via cooperative institutions. AICL sells urea at Rs 2,052 per quintal, DAP at Rs 4,752 per quintal and potash at Rs 6,352 per quintal to shortlisted cooperative organizations, who then sell fertilizers to farmers adding margin for their transportation cost.