Govt reiterates its commitment to maintain smooth supply of fertilizers to farmers during upcoming rice plantation season

Published On: May 20, 2024 10:15 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The country has stock of over 100,000 tons, while more than 350,000 tons will be imported by June end: MoALD

KATHMANDU, May 20: The government has expressed its commitment to maintain a smooth supply of chemical fertilizers for the upcoming rice plantation season despite having less than sufficient stock of fertilizers.

Almost every year, Nepali farmers have to struggle to get the agricultural inputs on time due to the government’s delay in the tendering process in addition to the issues with contractors and the inequitable distribution mechanism. In Nepal, rice plantation starts from mid-June while it continues till July end.

Mahanand Joshi, information officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), said the government has adequate stocks of chemical fertilizers at present. “Additionally, we are importing more than 350,000 tons of the fertilizers, which will be arriving in Nepal by the end of June,” Joshi said.

According to the MoALD, the country now has 78,179 tons of urea in stock. Out of the quantity, Agriculture Inputs Company Limited (AICL) holds a stock of 52,018 tons whereas Salt Trading Corporation (STC) has 26,050 tons in stock, according to Joshi.

Likewise, there is a stock of 9,527 tons of DAP targeted for the rice plantation season this year. Of the amount, AICL has 5,434 tons and STC has 4,092 tons. Similarly, the stock of potash stands at 11,800 tons, including 8,696 tons with the AICL and 3,106 tons with the STC.

Joshi said both the government entities are importing a total of 242,119 tons of urea, 97,865 tons of DAP and 20,604 tons of potash. “The stock with the government will be utilized in the first half of the plantation season, while the imported ones will be sent to the districts where the plantation will be started late,” he said.   

Nepal requires an estimated 600,000 tons of fertilizers annually. The country fulfills almost all its demand for the agriculture inputs through imports.

Agriculture accounts for nearly one-fourth of Nepal's economy. Rice crops involve major shares in its agricultural harvest, which is the main basis of livelihood of most of the farmers.

The country produced the largest quantity of paddy in the current fiscal year 2023/24. According to the MoALD data, a total of 5.724 million tons of paddy was produced in the country. Earlier in the FY 2020/21, a total of 5.621 million metric tons of paddy was produced in the country.

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