The state government of Maharashtra has expressed concern over increasing prices of chemical fertilisers. According to senior government officials, the hike is adding to the woes of farmers who are already under financial stress due to recurring unseasonal rain and hailstorms in Maharashtra this rabi season. Fertiliser prices have increased by `170 to `200 for a 5-kg bag of fertiliser. Rising fertilisers cost has led to higher expenses for farmers, especially small and marginal agriculturists, said Maharashtra agriculture minister Dadasaheb Bhuse.
Seeking the Centre’s intervention, the minister has submitted a representation to Union minister for chemical and fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya. Drawing his attention to increased prices, Bhuse has requested the Centre to direct chemical fertiliser companies to stabilise prices.
In a separate representation to the minister, Bhuse urged Mansukh Mandaviya to review the fertiliser supply to the state in view of increased demand and direct fertiliser companies to supply all grades of fertilisers as per the allocation and supply plan.
In his representation, Bhuse pointed out that the rabi season is in full swing and fertiliser demand is high since the area under sowing has increased because of favourable climate and rains. Recently, the subsidised fertiliser firms have increased prices of fertilisers and it will be difficult for farmers to buy such expensive fertilisers as most farmers in the state are marginal and small farmers.
Bhuse urged the minister to review the price hike and issue directives for a rollback in the prices. Fertiliser prices increased by 15-25% last year as well.
Following protests from various state governments, the Centre agreed to lower the prices to assist farmers.
He requested the minister to direct all fertiliser producers to sell fertilisers in the state at the same rate that was declared in December 2021 to maintain smooth supply and balanced use of fertilisers among farmers. The rabi area of the state has increased by almost 20% leading to increased demand for fertilisers, he said. In comparison to the previous rabi season, which covered 52 lakh hectares, this rabi season has seen the area under cultivation increase to more than 60 lakh hectares.
Accordingly, as against a total demand of 36.10 lakh tonne of fertilisers in the state, the Centre has allocated 29.50 lakh tonne and the actual supply is around 11.87 lakh tonne while the expected supply is 18.59 lakh tonne until last week. This includes a supply of 4.85 lakh tonne of urea as against the expected supply of 6.43 lakh tonne. The minister said that because of insufficient availability of different grades of fertilisers, there is a possibility of unrest among farmers in the state.