The government has suggested the farmers to use the available fertilizers sparingly, saying that there is shortage of chemical fertilizers in the international market and excessive price hike.
The request has been made considering a likely shortage of chemical fertilizers as many countries that Nepal has been importing fertilizers from have said there is a shortage of raw material and hence difficult to provide as per the demand. However, the government has increased the budget for the purchase of chemical fertilizers this year as compared to the previous year.
A total of Rs 13 billion was allocated last year but Rs 15 billion has been allocated for this year. Shedding light on the demand and supply situation of chemical fertilizers, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Gangadatta Acharya said, “15 billion rupees has been allocated for the purchase of fertilizers this year.
And the price of chemical fertilizers remains the same in the country though the cost price has doubled compared to the previous year.” Suggesting to increase the use of organic manure and not to rely only on chemical fertilizer, the Ministry has assured that food production can be increased by balancing the chemical fertilizer with organic manure.
Due to international market prices and shortages, bids have been invited for 100,000 metric tonnes to 300,000 metric tonnes this year. An additional budget of Rs. 13 billion will be required to obtain this amount of fertilizer. The government had imported 4.2 million metric tonnes of chemical fertilizer in the previous fiscal year. There is demand of 300,000 metric tonnes of urea, 200,000 metric tonnes of DAP and 20,000 metric tonnes of potash annually, the ministry said.
More than Rs. 60 billion will be required to meet the demand for fertilizer in the country based on the international market price. Fertilizer demand and consumption has been increasing in the country especially for paddy, wheat, maize, millet, sugarcane, tea, mustard and vegetables. There is some disruption in the import of chemical fertilizers as they have to be brought from the international market after completing various stages.
Under normal circumstances, it takes a period of six months for the fertilizer to reach the country. “There is a shortage of fertilizers in the international market. China has urged a halt in export citing its shortage while it is the same in India as well,” Acharya said. Nepal has been importing fertilizers from Gulf countries as well as from China, India and Morocco through contractors.
The government is currently giving subsidy of more than Rs 100 per kg to farmers for chemical fertilizers. The highest fertilizer consumption in the country is in Province No. 2 and the lowest is in Karnali Province.