Maharashtra farmers worried over rising fertiliser prices

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May 20, 2021 2:00 AM

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has written to Union chemicals and fertilisers minister DV Sadananda Gowda, demanding a rollback of increase in prices.

Agriculture department officials stated that the matter falls entirely under the purview of the Centre.Agriculture department officials stated that the matter falls entirely under the purview of the Centre.

Farmers in Maharashtra have raised concerns over rising prices of fertilisers, and have sought help from the government ahead of the upcoming sowing season as prices have increased by Rs 600-700 per bag, higher by 55% compared to the previous month.

Official at the agriculture department said prices in the domestic market have gone up as phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilisers have become dearer in the international market. According to senior industry people, chemical fertilisers are rarely produced in India. Most of the raw materials have to be imported and only ready-made fertilisers like DAP are imported. Potash is not available in our country and has to be imported from Israel, Jordan and Canada.

The DAP fertilizer of IFFCO is now priced at Rs 1,900 per bag. The previous price was Rs 1,300 per bag. Similarly, the price of NPK 10-26-26 has gone up from Rs 1,100 per bag to Rs 1,500 per bag and prices of NPK 12-32-16 have risen to Rs 1,850 per bag from Rs 1,250 per bag.

Maharashtra agriculture minister Dadaji Bhuse said the state had written to the Centre to reduce prices. Notably, the Centre recently said it was considering subsidies to offset rise in global prices of raw materials of P&K fertilisers in a bid to ensure their availability to farmers at subsidised rates across the country.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has written to Union chemicals and fertilisers minister DV Sadananda Gowda, demanding a rollback of increase in prices. Farmers are reeling under “one of the worst-ever” crises as the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people’s livelihoods, he said in the letter. Agriculture department officials stated that the matter falls entirely under the purview of the Centre.

Farmer outfit Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) has taken an aggressive stand against the Centre’s move to hike prices. Raju Shetty, president of the outfit, announced that a protest will be registered on May 20. An email containing signatures of lakhs of farmers to withdraw the price hike will be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.

Anil Ghanwat, president, Shetkari Sanghatana, said the rise in prices is not something that farmers can afford at present. One has to think that it is not possible to incur such an extra expense when there is no income at hand for a couple of years.

Meanwhile, in a bid to avoid shortage of urea in the kharif season, the Maharashtra government, for the first time, will build a stock of 1.5 lakh tonne. Bhuse said the buffer stock will be created in all the districts in the next 15 days. The minister said there were shortages in a few districts last year and to avoid a similar situation, it has been decided to build stock of 1.5 lakh tonne of urea this season.

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