Nir Bahadur Parajuli, a farmer from Kanepokhari in Morang, has been visiting different agriculture cooperatives for several weeks in order to get chemical fertiliser, which he desperately requires in order to sow his winter crops.
Due to the fact that it is planting season, only farm cooperatives are authorized to deal in government-subsidized fertilizer, and Parajuli is in severe need of assistance.
He requires two 50 kilogram bags of diammonium phosphate (DAP), which is the most widely used phosphorus fertilizer in the world, to use on his one-hectare field where he intends to plant mustard. DAP is the most widely used phosphorus fertilizer in the world. He is quite concerned that he may miss the sowing season.
The time of the winter crop sowing season is theoretically tied to the timing of the winter crop planting season. Farmers must grow and harvest crops at the appropriate times, according to industry experts.
Farmers in Nepal mostly plant wheat, mustard, and pulses, which are the most important winter cash crops. The seeding season officially begins in October. Despite having prepped the area, Parajuli is unable to plant mustard on his field since he lacks the necessary plant nutrients.
The amount of fertilizers I was able to procure was 25 kg. And it was with this sum that I was able to sow mustard on five katthas of farmland. It is still uncultivated on the remaining 15 katthas of my farm.”
A global shortage of nitrogen fertiliser is driving up prices to record highs, prompting countries such as Nepal to postpone the importation of farm inputs until the situation improves. Because the government has complete control over the chemical fertiliser market, there is a chance that farmers will not receive the crop nutrients they require before the planting season this year.
Gajendra Bhattarai, another farmer from Hoklabari, has 2 bighas of land that is uncultivated due to a scarcity of chemical fertilizer, according to the local media. He intends to plant mustard and will require four sacks of DAP.
A similar situation exists for Rudra Bhattarai of Aamtola, Rangali, who owns 2 bighas of land and is in a similar state of financial trouble.
Thousands of farmers around the country have prepped their fields for the winter crops, but there is little fertilizer available, which has been a common narrative in recent years.
Jit Bahadur Khadka of the Barju rural municipality in Sunsari used illicit fertiliser that he obtained from the Indian market and put it to his farm in the region. However, because the contraband is of poor quality, he is concerned about its impact on production.
‘Because fertilizer was not readily available in the local market, I was driven to get it from border markets in India,’ he explained. Despite the fact that the product’s quality is inferior, “I don’t have any other options.”
A shortfall of farm inputs has emerged this winter, according to Rajendra Upreti, a spokeswoman for the Province 1 Agriculture Ministry. He explained that the issue is due to a lack of supplies. In order to grow mustard crops, the province has a requirement for 8,000 tonnes of chemical fertilizer.
However, just 4,500 tonnes of chemical fertiliser have been assigned to Province 1 by the state-owned Agriculture Inputs Company, which is the country’s sole importer of chemical fertiliser. Farmer’s are scrambling to find fertiliser as a result of this.
Because of the scarcity of fertilizer, fertilizer sellers have begun to ration it. One person is only permitted to purchase a total of 25 kg of chemical fertiliser. However, in many parts of the world, this vital plant nutrient is not available.
Agriculture Inputs Company’s Biratnagar office is headed by Navaratna Gautam, who says only a shipment of 1,200 tonnes has been delivered out of the quota made aside for Province 1. According to the company, “we are unable to meet the demand for fertilizer.”
According to Gautam, the shortage has arisen as a result of the increase in the pricing.
The price of diammonium phosphate increased by an astounding 80 percent in November when compared to the same month the previous year, according to news sources. In November, the global average price of diammonium phosphate averaged $825 per tonne, an increase of $375 per tonne over the same month the previous year.
Nitrogen fertiliser sales are expected to reach $53 billion in 2020, with prices rising by at least 80 percent so far this year compared to last year.
In November, the price of urea increased by 140 percent as compared to the previous year. On the global market, the average price of urea is currently $859 per tonne, representing a $500 increase in a year’s time. The price hike was partly due to rising input costs, particularly electricity, which has more than doubled since May of last year, according to multiple energy benchmark rates.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, Nepal’s yearly requirement for chemical fertiliser is currently more than 700,000 tonnes, while imports are only approximately 300,000 tonnes. This is a disparity between the two countries.
Officially subsidised fertiliser meets 40% of the country’s overall demand, with the remaining 60% supplied by smuggled supplies across the open border with India.