Farmers facing acute fert shortage: State govt

Bhubaneswar: The state government on Monday said it is facing acute scarcity of fertiliser for the kharif crops and required at least 71,000 tonnes of farm nutrient by the end of this month.

"The farmers of Odisha face acute shortage of fertiliser due to deficit supply during this kharif season. While the Centre had supplied 5,87,191 tonnes of fertiliser by August, 2011, this year during the same period quantum of supply was only 4,06,585 tonnes," state`s Agriculture Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said.

As the prices of chemical fertilisers have increased manifold, the poor farmers of Odisha demand urea due to its low price. However, there is no stock of urea in the state, Mishra pointed out adding that the Centre had committed supply of over 7.86 lakh tonnes of fertiliser by this month-end.

"Therefore, the state sustains a deficit of 3,80,395 tonnes fertiliser by August 27," the Minister said.

On Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertiliser Srikant Jena`s claim that adequate supply of fertiliser had been made to the state, Mishra said, "He (Jena) should refrain from doing politics when the farmers are facing scarcity of fertiliser".

The state government had earlier targeted use of at least 9,66,000 tonnes of fertiliser during this kharif in order to increase productivity of food grain.
"The state`s agriculture productivity is likely to suffer this time due to both inadequate supply of fertiliser and delayed monsoon," Agriculture Secretary R L Jamuda said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had sought downward revision of fertiliser prices and timely supply of fertiliser.

"We are expected to get about 30,000 tonnes of fertiliser in next 10 days. But the requirement of farmers is much more," Jamuda said, adding that as per the "supply plan" of the Centre, 71,000 tonnes of imported urea was supposed to be supplied to the state during August.

Admitting black marketing and hoarding of fertilisers in the state, the minister said: "Odisha is the only state where traders have been arrested and criminal cases have been framed against them."

Besides, 12 cases under Essential Commodities Act have been registered against Fertiliser Agencies/Traders by anti- corruption vigilance wing of the State Police, official sources said.