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Agriculture Ministry to increase budget to import chemical fertilizers

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development is going to increase the budget to import chemical fertilizers and to improve their supply in the country.

“The ministry has proposed a budget of Rs. 7.63 billion for the next fiscal year to import and distribute the chemical fertilizer to the farmers at a subsidized rate,” said spokesman at the ministry Tej Bahadur Subedi.

The ministry is going to increase the budget allocation for the next fiscal year compared to the current fiscal year to increase the import of chemical fertilizers to overcome the problem of the shortage of fertilisers that the farmers face every year, he said.

The government has allocated Rs. 6 billion to purchase fertilizers this fiscal year.

“We are planning to provide chemical fertilizers as per the farmers’ need even by reducing the subsidy rate,” he said.

Currently, the government is selling a sack of urea (per 50 kilogram) at Rs. 700 in a subsidy rate and DAP at Rs 2,150. The government subsidizes Rs. 28 in a kilogram of urea and Rs. 16 in a kilogram of DAP.

“We can distribute additional amount of fertilizers from the budget allocation and supply as per the farmers’ demand at a reduced price,” Subedi said.

The national demand of fertilizer stands at around 700,000 tonnes annually, he said, adding that the 500,000 tonnes of fertilizers can fulfill the demand as the area of barren land is increasing in the country over the years.

He said that there would be no scarcity of chemical fertilizers in the coming paddy plantation season as the AICL is importing additional amount of fertilizers soon.

He further said that the merger process between the two government entities- AICL and National Seed Company Limited (NSCL) had reached its final phase.

The merger process of both the institutions will complete soon and joint transaction will begin from the next fiscal year, he added.

According to Bishnu Prasad Pokharel, spokesman at the AICL, low budget from the government to distribute chemical fertilizers at a subsidized rate had prevented the AICL from meeting the needs of the farmers.

“The AICL and the Salt Trading Corporation are importing and distributing chemical fertilizers to the farmers based on the government budget allocation. We are supplying around 300,000 tonnes of fertilizer annually against the national demand of 700,000 tonnes,” he said.
He said that the government should allocate budget to import at least 500,000 tonnes fertilizers to meet the needs of the farmers.

“We will not be able to supply DAP as per the demand of the farmers even in the upcoming paddy plantation season as we have only 10,000 tonnes DAP in stock. However, we have 55,000 tonnes urea in the stock, which will be enough to meet the demand of the season,” he said.

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