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Govt needs to import 0.1m tonnes of urea to avoid shortage

Updated November 07, 2018

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A farmer spreading fertilisers in a field on the outskirts of Multan.—File photo
A farmer spreading fertilisers in a field on the outskirts of Multan.—File photo

ISLAMABAD: The government needs to immediately import 100,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser to avoid any potential shortage in the current rabi season, recommended the Fertiliser Review Committee of the Ministry of Industries at its meeting on Tuesday.

Chaired by Secretary Industries and Production, Azher Ali Choudhry, the meeting decided to seek help from provincial governments for fertiliser control. It also suggested that all running fertiliser plants should be kept operational to ensure optimal production and availability to farmers across the country.

Last month, the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) reviewed agricultural performance of the country and set targets for the rabi 2018-19 crops. FCA had not anticipated shortage and noted that the supply of urea and DAP fertilisers was satisfactory for outgoing kharif season. The supply of urea will remain comfortable during the rabi season due to enhanced local production and import.

According to National Fertiliser Development Centre (NFDC) updates, the production of all fertiliser products during April 2018 was about 557,000 tonnes. Urea production was 433,000 tonnes, which is 77.9 per cent of total production. The DAP production was 31,000 tonnes. Imported supplies during April, 2018 were 55,000 product tonnes including 45,000 tonnes of DAP, 4,000 tonnes of SOP and 2,000 tonnes of MOP, AS and SSP each.

The National Food Security Policy 2018 seeks to ensure availability of appropriate fertilisers at affordable prices; establishing and strengthening accredited soil fertility laboratories by provinces to ensure best practice sustainable soil management information to farmers and policy-makers; establishing or strengthening accredited fertilisers testing laboratories by provinces; and promoting the production of compost as organic fertiliser in the country.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2018

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