KAILALI, Oct 19: Farmers of Sudurpashchim Province get 50% less chemical fertilizers against their demand, as the federal government has been limiting its quota to the provincial body by half the demand.
In Sudurpashchim, there are 320,000 hectares of arable land, for which 15,000 metric tons of urea, 10,000 metric tons of DAP, and 1,000 metric tons of potash are required on average every year. But the Agriculture Inputs Company Limited (AICL) based in Kathmandu, which is under the federal government, sends 50% less chemical fertilizers than demanded to its subordinate body in Sudurpashchim, which in turn distributes it to local farmers.
The company sends 8,700 metric tons of urea, 7,050 metric tons of DAP, and 275 metric tons of potash for use by the farmers in Sudurpaschim.
“Every year we ask the central government to provide us the required quantity of chemical fertilizers so that we could distribute it to the farmers,” said Nawal Singh Bogati, provincial head of AICL Dhangadi, “But we get only half of it.”
The total arable land of Sudurpashchim is 162,000 hectares, but the farmers cannot make the best use of it due to lack of fertilizers. According to a Dhangadhi-based farmer Nanda Raj Bhatta, getting fertilizers from the AICL is a challenge for the farmers.
“The government cannot even provide us enough fertilizers,” he said. “And it is talking about an agricultural revolution.”
The Sudurpashchim provincial government has put agriculture among its priority programs. It has brought Chief Minister Farming Program for modernization of the farming sector.
“So far, the Chief Minister Farming Program has failed to address the problem of farmers,” said Tanka Koirala, Sudurpaschim Coordinator of All Nepal Farmer’s Federation (Revolutionary). “The provincial government has tried to bring programs for revolution in farming,” he said, “But what can we expect when we get only 50% of our fertilizer demand?”
“It is the time to plant mustard, wheat, and split red lentil,” he said, “The provincial government should ensure that farmers get enough chemical fertilizers before they plant winter crops. Otherwise production will be affected.”
In Sudurpashchim, 181,000 hectares of land are used for rice farming and 85,000 hectares for wheat farming. The province requires 561,745 metric tons of food grain annually, but it produces only 494,689 metric tons.