Even as protests over the non-availability of fertilisers in some of the western and coastal districts in the State kept pouring since July 1st week, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik dashed a letter to the Centre over the short supply of fertilisers on July 31. The politics over fertiliser has now taken the centre stage in the State.
In his letter to Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the CM said, "During the months of May, June and July there has been a severe short supply of different fertilisers. During current Kharif till date, the State has received only 1,45,145 mt of urea against the allocation of 2,31,530 mt and agreed supply plan of 2,10,000 mt,"
Earlier, in the last week of June, Odisha Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo had sent a missive to the Union Fertiliser Minister highlighting the shortfall in fertiliser allotment to State.
The letter sent stated, " State has received only 34,340 tonne in May against the allocation of 48,950 tonne. Moreover, against the monthly allocation of 70,830 tonne for the current month, only 18,690 tonne of urea has been delivered till June 18. only 37,519 tonne of DAP, 8,803 tonne of MOP and 46,902 tonne of NPK have been supplied to the State against the allocation of 82,000 tonne, 28,000 tonne and 81,600 tonne respectively for May and June."
Meanwhile, speaking on fertiliser shortage in the country in Parliament on July 30, the Union Minister of Fertilisers and Chemicals vehemently denied any fertiliser crisis or shortage in any state, including Odisha.
Sample The Ground Scenario
- Bargarh: Farmers in the rice bowl of Odisha complained of urea shortage in July 3rd week. They allege black marketing of urea in the district.
- Subarnapur: Around the same time, farmers in this western district had also complained about the short supply of all types of fertilisers. "Majority of farmers were unable to procure fertilisers as per their requirement due to short supply of the same by the State Agriculture Department. Farmers were compelled to buy from black marketers and hoarders after paying a fortune," said Kishore Hota, President, Krushak Sangha, Subarnapur.
- Kendrapada: Farmers here complained about the unavailability of all types of fertilisers in July first week. "Many farmers didn't get the required quantity of fertilisers they needed, said Umesh Singh, District Krushak Sangh President. He blamed the Agriculture Department for the crisis.
- Nabarangpur: In the last week of July, this sleepy district in south Odisha saw an eruption of farmer protest over the unavailability of urea. " Instead of supplying the required quantity of Urea to the LAMPS, the same had been diverted to private traders. Artificial scarcity has been created, " charged Congress strong man Pradeep Majhi.
- Salepur: In the last week of July, farmers here complained of the non-availability of urea and other fertilisers.
Fertiliser Crisis In Odisha - A Reality Check
As per the data on fertiliser supply to Odisha available with Union Fertiliser Ministry, there seems no short supply of any fertiliser in the State. Take a glance at the numbers given below.
- The data shows Odisha had been supplied with 2.92 lakh metric tonne (mt) of urea during the period of April 1-July 31 this year.
- Significantly, the sale data during the period put the quantity sold at a mere 1.66 lakh mt.
- In the case of DAP, the quantity supplied to the State between April - July stood at over 1.4lakh mt, when the actual requirement has been 1.45lakh mt.
- The shocking fact is the quantity of DAP sold stood at around 93,000 mt during the period.
- The supply of NPKS for the period Apr-July was at 1.7 lakh mt, when the requirement in the State during the period has been estimated at 1.42lakh mt.
- Here too the total quantity sold in the State stood at around 90.6k mt.
- The supply of MOP to Odisha during April-July had been at around 90k mt vis-a-vis the requirement of 60k mt.
- The sale of MOP in the State during the period was a mere 43k mt.
Data On DBT (direct benefit transfer) Sale
Odisha government sells the fertiliser by the DBT only to the farmers since 2017. Take a glance at the month-wise sale data below.
- In April this year, the sale of urea was 0.18 lakh mt as against 0.16 lmt in Apr 2020.
- In May 2021, the sale numbers of urea were at 0.12 lmt vis-a-vis 0.2 lmt in May 2020.
- It needs mentioning is lockdown was enforced throughout the State in May 2021.
- The quantity of urea sold in June 2021 was the same as that in June 2020 (0.41 lmt).
- In July, the quantity sold was 0.92 lmt as against 1.1lmt in July 2020.
- Similarly, the retail sale of MOP, DAP, NPKS etc had been lower in July this year vis-a-vis last year.
- Farmers flagged a shortfall of urea and other fertilisers across the State in July. And the sale figures this July had been lower than last year. Data mirrors the pangs felt by farmers on the ground.
An analysis of the fertiliser supply data reveals that farmers felt a pinch in all types of fertilisers across the State during the month of July. However, the data further shows that while the stock of all fertilisers lies with the State, the same has not been dispatched to the LAMPS across the districts in adequate quantity as per the requirement. This throws a poor light on Odisha's poor agri-extension services, though a senior official in the agriculture department blamed it on Covid-19 second wave.
Real Fertiliser Crisis Staring At State
However, the big alert for Odisha is a serious fertiliser crisis is brewing here in the coming months of August - September 2021. The data with Union Fertiliser Ministry puts the shortfall of various fertilisers in State as the following
- Urea ---- 1.09 lmt
- DAP ----- 59000 mt
- NPKS----- 13000 mt
- MOP ------ 8,920 mt