Punjab to raise fertiliser alarm

Black marketing leaves farmers vulnerable to exploitation

Our Correspondent December 10, 2023


The Punjab government has decided to contact Caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar to ensure availability of fertiliser in the province.

The decision came after concerns were expressed during a meeting regarding the affect of shortage of urea fertiliser on wheat production in the province.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi directed the divisional commissioners to ensure transportation of urea in the relevant districts.

The participants decided to take all administrative steps to ensure availability of urea fertiliser.

It was also decided that the urea fertiliser producing companies and dealers would also be contacted for the purpose. A meeting of urea producing companies and dealers has been summoned.

Read Urea shortage hits farmers hard 

Provincial Agriculture Secretary Nadir Chattha said while briefing the participants that the wheat sowing target of 16 million acres of land in Punjab had been attained. Wheat sowing on 600,000 acres exceeding the target would be done, he added.

He said the wheat production in the province was expected at up to 34 maund per acre.

The secretary said better wheat production was expected due to timely wheat sowing along with 52 per cent increase in the use of DAP fertiliser.

He said 20% increase had occurred in the use of authentic seed in Punjab.

Meanwhile, the fertiliser crisis has reached an alarming level, leaving desperate farmers at the mercy of a mafia.

The official rate of urea fertiliser is Rs3,610 per bag, while it is being sold Rs4,500 to Rs5,000.

DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate) fertiliser, with an official rate of Rs13,000 to Rs14,000 per bag from various companies, is being traded in the market for a staggering Rs14,500 to Rs1,5000 per bag.

According to officials, in Pakpattan, the cultivation of wheat, potatoes, mustard, canola and vegetables spans 440,277 acres.

Read Proud moment for Pakistan: Fatima Fertilizer's 'Salam Kissan' Campaign wins big at the DRUM Awards

The demand for fertiliser stands at 544,854 bags per month and 17,576 bags per day, while the supply is lagging behind at 9,083 bags, sources in the district said.

Pakpattan district is facing a shortage of 6,000 bags of fertiliser per day.

Amid the crisis, local authorities have intensified action against the fertiliser mafia.

In November, they conducted thorough inspections of 487 fertiliser shops, registered 19 cases, arrested four shopkeepers, imposed fines totalling Rs489,000 and seized 6,692 bags.

These seized fertiliser bags were distributed among farmers at government-approved rates.

A farmer warned that exacerbation of the crisis might result in reduction of crop yield and agricultural production.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2023.


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