KATHMANDU, Oct 7: The supply of the chemical fertilizers that Nepal is importing from Bangladesh on a refundable basis seems to be delayed by an additional few months as the government bodies are yet to ink an agreement with the company contracted for transporting the fertilizers to Nepal.
According to Agriculture Inputs Company Limited (AICL) officials, Gentrade FZF, a United Arab Emirates-based firm has been entrusted to transport 50,000 tons of urea from Bangladesh. “Though the tender was finalized last week, no agreement has been reached with the company yet,” said Bishnu Prasad Pokhrel, spokesperson for the AICL.
The government maintains that the contracted company needs to import the fertilizer within two months from the date of awarding the contract. As the fertilizer could not be imported on time and could not be used for this year’s paddy crop, AICL is now saying that the fertilizers will be used for wheat cultivation.
Paddy contributes approximately seven percent to the gross domestic product and more than 60 percent of the working population is engaged in paddy farming which lasts for at least six months of the year. In addition, rice provides nearly 50 percent of the calorie requirements supplied by cereals in Nepal.
However, due to the negligence of the government bodies, farmers face a shortage of fertilizers during the main paddy plantation season almost every year. This rainy season, too, the government failed to maintain the supply of the agricultural input, citing the issues related to Shailung Enterprises Pvt Ltd and Honiko Multiple Pvt Ltd. Following the incident, the government turned to Bangladesh to import fertilizer on a refundable basis.