OKARA: The ongoing fertiliser shortage has affected almost every farmer this year as urea and DAP fertilisers are being sold at inflated rates.

Regarding the situation, the district representative of the All Pakistan Fertiliser Dealers Association, Muhammad Anas, and fertiliser dealer Muhammad Farooq spoke to reporters on the issue of the unavailability of fertiliser. They said the demand for urea was 6.4 million tons, whereas the available stock in the market was six million tons. Similarly, DAP demand was 2.2 million tons, but due to its high prices, the usage had gone down considerably.

During the last season, the per bag rate of DAP was Rs4,200, which increased to Rs8,700 this year. They said the manufacturing contents of DAP were imported whose rates had gone up due to the devaluation of the rupee.

Fertiliser Dealers Association president Muhammad Irshad told Dawn the district administration was forcing was forcing them to sell the commodity at controlled rates, which was rather unfeasible for them. He said adequate supplies and demand would help lower the rates in the open market.

Currently, the government is importing one million ton of urea to beat the shortage.

Small dealers, however, say the big dealers of the fertilisers are minting huge profit margins and that the district administration was informed by the fertiliser companies regarding the supply of their products to them. They say even though there is a shortage of urea, the rates are higher than the shortage proportion. The official rate of urea is Rs1,768 per bag, which also included a Rs40 per bag profit, but the rate has gone up to Rs2,300 per bag which has only increased the profit margin of big dealers.

Kissan Board Pakistan’s Shaukat Chaddar says the government has no control over the market, resulting in the helplessness of farmers.

Progressive farmers Saleem Raza Kharl and Mahr Amir Ali Kalason said that within two to three weeks, the cultivation of maize crop would start and after one month of the sowing, urea fertiliser would be required for the crop. If the urea supply is not improved, the crisis may be uncontrollable, they fear, and demanded that the government take immediate measures to avoid any untoward situation. They said Okara, being the hub of potatoes, maize and vegetable cultivation, should not face fertiliser shortage.

Potato Growers Association vice-president Maqsood Ahmad Jatt demanded that the government arrange a joint meeting of farmers and representatives of fertiliser companies, dealers, small dealers and district administration to discuss the situation.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2021

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