Encounter with Kushal Gurung
At a time when the country is hit by acute shortage of chemical fertilizer even as the rainy season arrives, organic fertilizer producer Kushal Gurung is not finding market for his home grown product. Gurung, who studied Environment Science and Carbon Management, along with his team has established a Rs 250 million factory at Pokhara, that has the capacity to produce daily 15 tons of organic fertilizer.
“As the government has not provided any kind of support, we have to face a number of problems including competing with the imported chemical fertilizer and scarcity of raw materials,” shares Gurung, who is the chair of Gandaki Urja. The factory produces Annapurna organic fertilizer as well as cooking gas as its by-product. The largest organic fertilizer producer is facing unfair competition due to the negligence on the part of the concerned government body.
We have to run under capacity of just 5 ton per day as it is hard to find the market and compete with the imported heavily subsidized chemical fertilizer, pointed out Gurung.
There is scarcity of fertilizer in the country and the government is unable to import fertilizer from foreign countries including India on time. The government spends heavy amount, around Rs. 13 billion on the imported chemical fertilizer to fulfill the demands of the farmers. If only Rs. 1 billion out of Rs. 13 billion subsidy is spent on domestically produced organic fertilizer it would be a great relief for us and most of the domestic demand for fertilizer could also be resolved, says Gurung.
We can even use garbage and waste materials if they are properly separated in the origin itself, he pointed out. “We have to go to different districts to collect cow dung and other raw materials to operate our factory, and the raw material we collect is too little to meet our capacity.”
Annapurna organic fertilizer is available at Rs. 30 per kg, which is cheaper as compared to other organic fertilizers.
The main problem is lack of coordination among different government bodies. If we could support organic fertilizer producers and address their demand we would have resolved the problem of shortage of fertilizer in the country.