Balasore farmers face acute urea shortage
By Express News Service | Published: 21st September 2012 11:37 AM |
At a time when the Government claims to be working towards giving agriculture a boost, farmers here are facing acute fertiliser shortage. And this comes at a time, when this coastal district is represented by Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikanta Jena.
Already hit by delayed monsoon, the peasants are now doubtful of a good kharif crop. Balasore is considered as the highest fertiliser consuming district in the State.
The district has so far received 13,525 MT of urea against the requirement of 23,830 MT. Urea apart, farmers require 7,350 MT of Potash, 1,250 MT of SSP, 320 MT of Ammonium Sulphate and 16,780 MT of Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), which are yet to reach them.
They alleged that traders have doubled the prices of most of these fertilisers to cash in on the shortage. The DAP fertiliser which was sold at ` 600 per 50 kg bag last year is priced at ` 1,200 this year. Farmers have sought government intervention to save the crops.
Dayanidhi Patra, a farmer, said: “Wholesalers are selling fertilisers at double the market price. Whereas when we approach them they say fertilisers are in short supply.” Last month the Vigilance officials had raided the godowns and arrested a trader Prabhu Dayal Ram as they found shortage of 11,973 fertiliser bags. Earlier this month, agriculture officials seized 320 bags of fertilisers near Kamrda. Farmers said though the District Collector had asked them to distribute fertilisers among the farmers, no step has been taken yet. While the district had a target of 2.23 lakh hectares (ha) for kharif, so far only 80 per cent of the target has been achieved due to less rainfall in July and August.
Officials concerned expressed helplessness over the situation. Deputy Director of Agriculture Laxman Murmu said this year the demand for DAP was less and more for urea.