Kathmandu, June 26
The production of paddy and maize in Nepal is likely to go down this year as compared to last year. This is mainly because of the scarcity of chemical fertilizers during the farming season, an official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) said.
The widening gap between the demand and supply f fertilizers is a major factor behind growing shortage of chemical fertilizers, said Dr. Hari Dahal, Spokesperson at MoAC.
He, however, could not specify the quantity of reduction in the production of paddy and maize.
The production of paddy and maize had surged this year, which has also contributed to increasing the country’s GDP.
The scarcity of chemical fertilizers has been growing annually in the country due to the bourgeoning demand despite increasing the quantity.
Although the Agriculture Input Company Limited (AICL) has said that it has supplied chemical fertilizers for a couple of days, farmers have yet to get the fertilizers.
The AICL had said that around 42,500 metric tonnes of chemical fertilizers would start arriving to the country from June 25. But the fertilizers have yet to be imported.
According to Dr. Dahal, around 12,500 metric tonnes of chemical fertilizers would have arrived to the country by Friday this week.
"We are in the process of bringing in about 12,500 metric tonnes of chemical fertilizers from the MMTC, an Indian company. The fertilizers would have arrived by the end of this week, and the remaining 30,000 metric tonnes of Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) will be imported gradually," he said.
He said that the government was effortful in importing about 42,500 metric tonnes of chemical fertilizers from the MMTC under the government-to-government agreement signed in 2011.
Last year, the Government of Nepal and the Government of India signed the deal to import around 100,000 metric tonnes during the current fiscal year, he said.
"Out of the total quantity, around 57,500 metric tonnes has already been imported," he said.
He said that Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the AICL were trying to import the chemical fertilizers as soon as possible considering the start of the paddy plantation season.
But due to lack of funds, they have failed to import the fertilizers to be sold for subsidized rates, he said.
The AICL has supplied around 140,000 metric tonnes of chemical fertilizers this year, while it had supplied only 110,000 metric tonnes last year, he said.
The national demand for fertilizers is about 500,000 metric tones. Out of it, about 100,000 metric tonnes is needed annually for paddy crops across the country, he said.
According to him, they have already requested the government to provide additional budget for supplying the fertilizers during the paddy season. But the government has been unable to release the funds.