LAHORE: Expressing their concerns at higher prices of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) but the lower inventory of the compost as compared with last year in the country, farmers have warned that the issue may lead to a drastic drop in wheat production and thus increase the need for more import of the commodity.

“Currently, one 50-kg bag of DAP is being sold at Rs14,000 against Rs6,000 in the last year, while 352,00 tonnes of the fertiliser are currently in stocks against 428,000 tonnes during the same month the previous year,” says Kisan Ittehad Pakistan president Khalid Mahmood Khokhar.

He says that since January this year only 0.222 million tonnes of DAP has been imported against 0.725mt imports during the same period last year. He warns that this huge gap may lead to a shortage of compost at the onset of the Rabi season in September further pushing up its prices in the local market and reduced application by the farming community.

Data shared by Mr Khokhar reveals that DAP offtake in the country in the first seven months of 2022 remained 0.6mt against 0.768mt in 2021 and 0.851mt in 2020 during the same period of time. This means the ratio of DAP applications is coming down with the increase in its price.

The lowering application of the fertiliser, the farmer leader cautions, will cause a fall in the production of wheat, the main staple food in the country, and overburden the national kitty because of higher grain imports.

Keeping in view the falling DAP application trend, he estimates that the wheat production may plummet by 20 percent or over 5.4mt.

The country is already importing 300,00mt of grain to meet the shortage of the last harvest.

Mr Khokhar suggested the government cut the DAP price by 50pc through direct subsidy to the farming community to encourage its application and thus ward off the risk of importing more wheat worth $3.0 billion.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2022

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