Saturday, 26 November, 2022

Ensure adequate fertiliser supply

The supply of fertiliser has become erratic following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and western sanctions on Russia, which has been a major supplier of fertilizer to the world. The price of fertiliser has also increased sharply in the world market. Given the circumstances, ensuring an adequate supply of fertiliser has become a daunting task for the government, but it must be done at all cost because it is related to the country’s food security.

In this regard, a Daily Sun report informs us that the government on Wednesday cleared three proposals of the industries ministry to procure a total of 90,000 metric tonnes of urea fertiliser to meet the demand for the vital agro-input. Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) will procure urea fertiliser in three lots from three companies under separate contracts.

As per the proposals, some 30,000 tonnes of bagged granular urea fertiliser will be procured from Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company (Kafco) at a cost of over Tk 1.97 billion while another 30,000 tonnes of bulk Granular urea from Muntajat of Qatar at a cost of Tk 2.01 billion. The remaining 30,000 tonnes will be imported by the BCIC from SABIC Agri-nutrients Company of Saudia Arabia at the same price. Besides, BCIC will also import 30,000 metric tonnes of phosphoric acid at a cost of Tk 2.34 billion for its DAP Fertiliser Company Ltd under a separate approved proposal.

The government supplies fertiliser, seeds and other agro-inputs to farmers at highly subsidised rates. But regrettably, government subsidy for farmers has long been riddled with corruption and misappropriation. As a result, farmers often allege that they have to buy the subsidised items at higher prices than government fixed prices. Thus the farmers have been short-charged brazenly and no effective measures so far have been taken to address the issue.

Farmers are engaged in an occupation that feeds the nation. And though the nation is directly dependent on the farmers, all development models and all movements for change pass them by. In recent years some efforts have been made to redress the indifference towards the farmers through enhanced subsidies and other benefits, but the support still falls far short of their needs.