Of the 50,000 tonnes of fertiliser purchased from Bangladesh, a total of 30,500 tonnes has arrived so far.

According to the Agriculture Input Company Ltd (AICL), the remaining 19,500 tonnes of fertiliser will arrive within the next two weeks.

According to the company, it had brought 22,500 tonnes of fertiliser in the first phase and 10,000 tonnes in the second phase. Out of the imported fertiliser, the company is currently distributing 600 to 700 tonnes of fertiliser on a daily basis.

At present, the AICL has 17,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser in stock. The company also has a stock of 6,000 tonnes of potas fertiliser and 45,000 tonnes of DAP fertiliser. Thus, the company claims that the farmers will not face shortage of fertiliser this year.

In addition to the fertiliser purchased from Bangladesh, the company is also importing 27,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser through global tender process.

Former agriculture minister Ghanashyam Bhusal had concluded that Bangladesh was the best option for immediate import of fertiliser after the country faced shortage of urea fertiliser during paddy plantation in June-July last year.

Subsequently, in a phone conversation with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had requested to borrow fertiliser immediately.

While the Bangladeshi prime minister had responded positively during that time, it was later communicated that lending of fertiliser was not possible as per the country’s laws. After that, the government has contracted to purchase urea fertiliser directly from Bangladesh.

Promising easy availability of fertiliser from the upcoming fiscal year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has been coordinating with the local governments. Similarly, the government has also decided to build a chemical fertiliser factory in the country. The proposal of the MoALD has been approved by the Cabinet meeting held on March 25.

Nepali farmers have been suffering from lack of chemical fertiliser every year. MoALD has said that the government is going to set up a fertiliser factory for the long-term solution of the problem.

The Ministry has also decided to give the responsibility to Investment Board Nepal to prepare and implement necessary procedures for establishment of chemical fertiliser factory in the country under public-private partnership (PPP) modality.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 07, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.

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