Nepalese farmers felt a kind of relief during this year’s paddy planting season as sufficient amount of chemical fertilizers were available in the market. Unlike in the past, this year the government was able to bring in fertilizers on time through tender.
“The government has allocated Rs. 20 billion for procurement of chemical fertilizer for the current fiscal year,” according to Shabnam Shivakoti Aryal, spokesperson at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. “This year we are planning to import 500,000 metric tons of chemical fertilizers and we have already worked out plan for the same,” she added.
“As per the working plans, we import fertilizer through the Agriculture Input Company Ltd (AIC) and Salt Trading Corporation Ltd. (STC) to meet the domestic demand. The government has already instructed these agencies to move forward the procedure for the procurement.”
There won’t be any problem in supplying necessary amount of fertilizers during the winter season as well, according to Aryal.
“We have already called tender for the supply of fertilizer till the month of Mangshir. We do not have any problem for timely supply of fertilizers for the farmers this year.” If everything goes normal there will not be scarcity of fertilizer like what happened in previous years, she added. “Last year we had some problem in supplying fertilizers on time due to fluctuation in market price and we hope this time the price will remain stable.
“We also do have some fertilizer in stock for the winter season,” she said. “We have already forwarded procurement procedure to meet the demand for wheat plantation. Some of the consignments are already in the pipeline. Therefore, there won’t be any problem in meeting the demand.”
“Last year we imported around 400,000 tons of fertilizer while this year the government has given permission to import 500,000 tons,” Joint Secretary Aryal informed. The process for procurement of fertilizer to meet the demand till Mangshir has already begun, she added. “We are almost certain to bring 5 lakh metric tons of fertilizer as per the plan. We have already received almost 300,000 tons of fertilizer till Shrawan. The remaining 200,000 tons of fertilizer will arrive on time as necessary procedures have already been started for the same.”
AIC is responsible for procurement of 70 percent of the fertilizer while the STC is entrusted to import remaining 30 percent. “Besides Urea, we are also bringing in DAP, Potassium Iodide (KIO3) to meet the domestic demands,” said Aryal.
“Although AIC is the main agency to import fertilizer we are also involving STC so as to maintain a balance in supply system and to minimize the risk in case of failure of a tender. We make joint plan by involving both the agencies to import fertilizer on time.”
“The ministry had successfully distributed sufficient amount of fertilizer in the month of Ashad for paddy plantation. And now we have some stock also, which will be helpful in meeting demand before the imported fertilizers start coming.”