As the paddy transplantation season commences in Nepal, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has assured farmers that there will be no shortage of chemical fertilisers. This assurance comes as a relief to farmers who have faced recurring fertiliser shortages during every crop season for the past several years. This article delves into the measures taken by the ministry to ensure a robust supply of fertilisers and the implications for the agricultural sector.
Addressing the Fertiliser Shortage: A Proactive Approach
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has taken proactive steps to ensure a robust supply of chemical fertilisers for the paddy transplantation season. Unlike previous years, when the Ministry of Finance allocated funding to import fertilisers through the budget in May, the agriculture ministry requested funds in mid-February this year. This early request has allowed for the timely import of fertilisers, ensuring their availability when the paddy transplantation begins in June.
The Current Stock and Future Imports
As of June 5, the government has a stock of 73,066 tonnes of chemical fertiliser, including 59,451 tonnes of urea and 13,400 tonnes of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP). Further, 20,000 tonnes of DAP imported by Salt Trading Corporation is expected to arrive in Kolkata on June 12. Additionally, the shipping of 30,000 tonnes of urea and 25,000 tonnes of DAP imported by Agriculture Inputs Company has begun. The government has allocated a record Rs38.56 billion for chemical fertiliser in the current fiscal year.
The Impact on the Agricultural Sector
The assurance of no fertiliser shortage is a significant relief for farmers in Nepal. Nearly two-thirds of Nepal's farmlands are rain-fed and are dependent on the annual rains from June to September. Farming accounts for 24 percent of the economy but sustains more than 60 percent of the population. Summer crops, mainly paddy, contribute over 11 percent to the national gross domestic product and are the major income source for more than half of the population. Ensuring a robust supply of fertilisers is crucial for the success of the paddy transplantation season and the overall agricultural sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development's proactive approach to ensuring a robust supply of chemical fertilisers is a significant step towards supporting the agricultural sector in Nepal. As the paddy transplantation season commences, the availability of fertilisers will play a crucial role in ensuring a successful crop season and supporting the livelihoods of farmers across the country.