Kathmandu, Apr. 27
Agriculture Input Company Limited (AICL) has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) around Rs.4 billion to import chemical fertilisers for the next fiscal year.
According to Sashi Raj Tuladhar, acting managing director of the AICL, the company had asked the ministry to allocate the said budget to import 200,000 metric tonnes of chemical fertilisers to sell at subsidy rates.
The amount would fulfill only 25 per cent of the national demand, he said.
However, he said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives had fixed the ceiling of the budget to be allocated to the AICL only at Rs.3.7 billion under the chemical fertiliser purchase.
Talking to The Rising Nepal, Tuladhar said that they would increase the budget to Rs 8 billion for the chemical fertiliser if the government doubled the budget of the agriculture sector as committed by Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.
Recently, Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai had committed to double the budget for the agriculture sector in the next fiscal year.
However, the Ministry of Finance has fixed the ceiling of the MoAC budget at only around Rs. 14.60 billion.
The government had allocated only around Rs. 2.83 billion to import the chemical fertiliser in the current fiscal year.
Tuladhar said that the AICL by now has imported around 90,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers of the total target of around 150,000 tonnes.
"Additional 10,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers will arrive soon," he said.
The increment in the prices of chemical fertiliser resulted in the reduction of its import, he said. "We are unable to meet the target of 150,000 metric tonnes for this year due to price rise,"
AICL has been meeting only 25 per cent of the demand of chemical fertiliser till date, he said and added that they would fulfill the demand of around 50 per cent if the government doubled the budget in the agriculture sector.
He said that the annual national demand of chemical fertilise is 700,000 metric tonnes.
"AICL needs Rs.15 billion to meet the domestic demand," he said.
He however said that demand of chemical fertiliser is increasing by around 14 per cent every year but the supply of chemical fertiliser could not increase as per the rising demand.
He said that the productivity of the country could not increase significantly due to huge gap between the demand and supply of chemical fertiliser.
The gap between the demand and supply of chemical fertiliser has been at 75 per cent.
Tuladhar said, "Normally, around 45 kg chemical fertiliser is required for a hectare of land but the country has been able to supply only around 24 kg of chemical fertiliser for a hectare."
He further said that per hectare productivity of land would reach to 5 metric tonnes from existing 2.5 metric tonnes if the per hectare supply of chemical fertiliser was increased to 200 Kg.
He suggested that the agricultural expenditures should be increased for improving agricultural productivity in line with the growing food demand.
He said that the farmers could not get chemical fertiliser easily until the government allocated the needed budget in time.