DAP shortage amid rabi season triggers political wave

DAP fertiliser shortage amid rabi season triggers political wave

Earlier this month, Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya directed all manufacturers not to increase retail prices of DAP and other fertilisers

Representative image: iStock Photo

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday held a meeting to review the availability and demand of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilisers amid claims by the Opposition that farmers are running from pillar to post as there is a shortage of these fertilisers.

Earlier this month, Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya directed all manufacturers not to increase retail prices of DAP and other phosphatic fertilisers as part of the government's efforts to ensure the availability of crop nutrients at affordable prices during the ongoing rabi season.

However, in Haryana and other agriculture-dependent states, a low supply of these fertilisers has meant farmers are running between dealers and official agencies to ensure that they can get their hands on the crucial material as their fields lie ready to be sown.

Read | Cabinet okays Rs 28,655 cr subsidy on P&K fertilisers for rabi season to benefit farmers

Why is DAP so important?

After urea, DAP is the most widely used fertilisers in the country. It is primarily sprinkled on mustard and other leafy crops at the time of sowing. According to an Indian Express report, a bag of at least 45 kilograms is needed for sowing an acre of land. This means that unavailability of the crop could delay the sowing of crops.

What caused the shortage?

The shortage is owing to lesser imports amid a hike in DAP prices in the international market.

According to an Icra report in August, fertiliser imports declined in the current financial year. The report said as for the fertiliser production volumes, they have largely remained stable in four months of FY22 compared to corresponding months of FY21, whereas imports have declined by 16 per cent. The production and import volumes have jointly declined by only 6 per cent in the period under review, whereas the retail sales have declined by 11 per cent, indicating availability of fertiliser inventory with the fertiliser companies, according to the report.

Also Read | Fertiliser subsidy policy is skewing crop yields, soil health

"With limited availability of DAP in the international markets and steep rise in import prices, the availability of the same for the upcoming rabi season would be a concern, as the situation may further exacerbate with China banning fertiliser exports," it stated.

The current situation could be a result of this. However, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) Haryana unit secretary, Balbir Singh Thakan, told the publication that the shortage was a result of mismanagement on the part of the government, “The Central government imported the fertiliser late which resulted in its shortage.”

Why is it turning political?

Three days ago, Haryana Agriculture Minister J P Dalal had claimed that there is no shortage of DAP fertilisers in the state and added that black marketeers are trying to project an artificial shortage. The Opposition has flagged the issue and targeted the central government for causing farmers to scurry around looking for supplies. With the floods, and increased crop production targets, non-availability of fertiliser could mean a major setback for farmers.

Meanwhile, Haryana CM Khattar has appealed to the farmers to only purchase DAP fertilisers according to requirement and not to store extra so that it can be distributed equally to all farmers.

(With agency inputs)

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