Government pledges steady fertilizer supply for upcoming rice planting season

KATHMANDU: The government has assured farmers that there will be a smooth supply of chemical fertilizers for the upcoming rice planting season, despite current stock levels being less than ideal.

Every year, Nepali farmers face challenges in obtaining agricultural inputs on time due to delays in the government’s tendering process, issues with contractors, and an inequitable distribution mechanism. In Nepal, rice planting starts in mid-June and continues until the end of July.

Mahanand Joshi, Information Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), stated that the government has adequate stocks of chemical fertilizers. “Additionally, we are importing more than 350,000 tons of fertilizers, which will arrive in Nepal by the end of June,” Joshi said.

The MoALD reports that the country currently has 78,179 tons of urea in stock. Of this, Agriculture Inputs Company Limited (AICL) holds 52,018 tons, while Salt Trading Corporation (STC) has 26,050 tons.

For the rice planting season this year, there are 9,527 tons of DAP (diammonium phosphate) available. AICL has 5,434 tons and STC has 4,092 tons. Additionally, the stock of potash stands at 11,800 tons, with 8,696 tons held by AICL and 3,106 tons by STC.

Joshi mentioned that both government entities are importing a total of 242,119 tons of urea, 97,865 tons of DAP, and 20,604 tons of potash. “The government’s existing stock will be utilized in the first half of the planting season, while the imported supplies will be sent to districts where planting will start later,” he said.

Nepal requires an estimated 600,000 tons of fertilizers annually, with the country fulfilling almost all its demand through imports.

Agriculture accounts for nearly one-fourth of Nepal’s economy, with rice crops making up a significant portion of the agricultural harvest, serving as the main livelihood for most farmers.

The country achieved its largest paddy production in the current fiscal year 2023/24, with a total of 5.724 million tons produced. This surpasses the 5.621 million metric tons produced in the fiscal year 2020/21, according to MoALD data.

Fiscal Nepal |
Monday May 20, 2024, 11:59:50 AM |

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