Fertiliser shortage hits paddy farmers in Andhra Pradesh

Officials said that the Central Government’s directives have triggered the problem

The acute shortage of diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertiliser in the State is likely to affect the paddy cultivation. The paddy is being cultivated in more than 12 lakh hectares during this Kharif season. Even though Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kanna Babu, of late, has been asserting that there was no shortage of the DAP, the farmers are worried due to the non-availability of the fertilizer.

According to information, the DAP used to be sold at ₹50-70 more than the MRP of ₹1200 till a couple of days ago as the supplies did not match the demand. Even if a farmer wanted to buy at higher prices, the DAP is not available in the open market or at the Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs). The shortage of DAP is likely to affect the paddy cultivation resulting in problems for the farmers, sources said.

The officials said that the Central Government’s directives have triggered the problem. The fertilizer companies were asked not to increase the maximum retail price (MRP) of non-urea fertilizers such as DAP. Instead, the companies were suggested to look to alternatives such as single superphosphate and bio-fertilizer rather than importing expensive ingredients considering the spike in their prices in the international market. The Centre gives fixed subsidies to the fertilizer companies. The companies feel that the subsidy component is not sufficient. So, they have scaled down the DAP production hitting the supplies,” explained a senior functionary, who did not want to be quoted.

Agriculture department sources said that the farmers use about 40 kg of DAP per acre. If need be, in the second application 20 kg is used. The transplantation of paddy seedlings is nearly completed in most parts under Krishna Eastern Delta and Godavari delta. The transplantation operations are underway in Krishna Western delta, KC Canal, NSP, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. The farmers under these ayacuts and districts need DAP for the first application, and for second application in some cases. The government set a target of 15.99 lakh hectares for paddy cultivation this season. Of this, 12.19 lakh hectares was sown as on September 1, sources said.

When contacted, Agriculture Commissioner H. Arun Kumar said that the State Government has been monitoring the supplies regularly. Also, the issue has been brought to the notice of the Union government. A consignment was received at Krishnapatnam port. Efforts were being made to ensure adequate stocks at RBKs, he said.

Efforts to reach the Agriculture Minister in this regard went in vain.

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