Fertilizer shortage, overpricing vex growers, affect yieldBreaking

April 19, 2024

The growers are unable to buy fertilizers at controlled rates, as the traders have created an artificial shortage, causing an increase in their prices, reports WealthPK. Nazakat Ali, a farmer from a peripheral area of Faisalabad, told WealthPK that fertilizer shortage and high prices were not uncommon, as the growers had to face them every year. People at the helm are well aware of the entire situation, but they are just raising the hollow slogan of taking action against the perpetrators, he said. "In 2022, wheat price was Rs3,900 per 40kg, while a bag of urea was sold for Rs2,300. However, now the price of a urea bag is more than Rs3,000, and the prices are expected to surge to Rs5,500 following a reported hike in the gas rates," he told WealthPK. The wheat support price remains unchanged. However, the cost of urea is increasing with each passing day, leaving the farmers with no option but to stop cultivation, he cautioned. Zahid, an officer of the agriculture department, told WealthPK that action was underway against the elements exploiting the farmers by creating fertilizer shortages and increasing rates.

He said the Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar had directed strict action against the officials who failed to fix the wrong elements. He claimed that scores of people had been arrested for overcharging, and a proper mechanism had been evolved to prevent the fertilizer dealers from profiteering and hoarding. All such dealers have also been warned of a strict action if found involved in any wrongdoing, he added. He said an awareness campaign had been launched on the Punjab government's instructions for promoting the proportionate use of fertilizers. Nazakat Ali asked, "When the farmers are not in a position to maintain a balance between income and expenses, how would they rely on cultivation as their primary source of earning?" "Fertilizer shortage and overcharging is a decade-old issue. Why are the officials not evolving a foolproof mechanism to resolve this issue once and for all?" Talking to WealthPK, Khalid Mehmood, another farmer from Sargodha Road, said, "I have spent months making my land fertile to get a good yield.

However, the surging prices of urea have perturbed me." Criticizing the government officials, he said they were doing nothing except imposing minor fines on the fertilizer dealers. He urged Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz to take decisive action against the corrupt officials. He argued that this move would ensure relief for the struggling farmers. Dr. Arif, an agricultural economist, highlighting the multiple pressing issues of farmers, said high rates of electricity, overcharging and shortage of fertilizer and other agricultural inputs were crippling the farmers rapidly. Being an agricultural country, we must introduce farmer-friendly policies, but, ironically, we are doing otherwise, he added. Because of such challenges, he said the youth had lost interest in the agriculture sector and were opting for other businesses.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan