Urea still being sold at higher prices, says review committee

Published January 13, 2022
A meeting of the Fertiliser Review Committee on Wednesday. — PID
A meeting of the Fertiliser Review Committee on Wednesday. — PID

ISLSMABAD: The Fertiliser Review Committee (FRC) on Wednesday observed that urea was still being sold at prices higher than what the authorities had prescribed it to be.

The committee was confident that an increase in urea availability with higher daily supply status would help stabilise its prices in the coming days.

The FRC meeting was informed that a report by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed urea price was around Rs1,850 per 20kg bag.

Chairing the meeting, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam noted that the urea bag rates were still high.

However, the committee members opined that the prevailing market rates were close to the prescribed level of Rs1,768 per bag.

Meeting told daily supplies were increased to 440,000 bags from 342,000 bags last week

The committee was attended by provincial agriculture ministers, chief secretaries, CEOs of fertiliser companies and representatives of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad.

The meeting was informed that 65,229 bags of urea were seized through anti-smuggling campaigns by the relevant agencies.

It was noted that urea supplies were increased to 440,000 bags from 342,000 bags on a daily basis during the last week to keep up with the demand.

Mr Bakhtyar said that timely actions by the government made a significant reduction in urea prices in recent weeks.

The committee was informed by the officials of provincial departments that more urea demand was coming from rain-fed (Barani) areas after the recent spell of rain.

“The agriculture departments should coordinate with companies to ensure that all dealers located in Barani area receive urea supplies as per their requirement,” Mr Imam said.

The Fertiliser Review Committee meeting was informed that the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have issued SOPs to all the district administrations for diverting urea supplies from over-supplied area to deficient areas by removing the inter-district anomalies related to fertiliser movement.

In order to curb hoarding and profiteering, the Punjab government has identified dealers and sub-dealers engaged in malpractices and forwarded the cases to the Fertiliser Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) which is the collective forum of all the fertiliser manufacturers in the country.

The industries minister directed the the Fertiliser Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council officials for punitive actions to the culprits to check such malpractices in future.

The meeting also decided to increase urea supplies to South Punjab and Sindh – key wheat growing areas of the country – as post-cultivation demand was nearing.

The officials of the fertiliser industry said that in addition to urea, the supply of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) as a substitute of urea would also be increased by 2,500-2,600 tonnes on daily basis.

Mr Bakhtyar also asked the farmers’ bodies to impart awareness among the farmers that there was adequate urea availability in country and they must refrain from panic buying.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2022

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