The farming community in the State, whose hopes of a good kharif season have been rekindled with the revival of monsoon, is hit by short supply of fertilizer, thanks mainly to the sharp rise in the prices of all complex fertilizer except urea, and problems in their distribution.

Long queues of farmers are being seen at fertilizer shops in different parts of the State for the last few days and the death of a farmer standing in a queue in Nizamabad district has come as a sad incident.

41.55 lakh tonnes

“As such, there is no scarcity of fertilizer except the artificial demand being created by farmers due to their misconceptions. About 15 lakh tonnes of fertilizer out of the 41.55-lakh tonnes allotted for kharif have been availed of already,” a top official of the Agriculture Department told The Hindu. Cultivation of crops has been taken up in over 31 lakh hectares so far, which is about 40 per cent of the 80.29 lakh hectares extent covered in the kharif season and the quantity of fertilizer availed of has been in proportion to the requirement, notwithstanding the allegations by farmers’ organisations, officials contended.

Prices doubled

“Farmers are going for urea instead of complex fertilizer and DAP as the prices of all fertilizer except urea have more than doubled since April last year,” officials said.

Urea is not a substitute for DAP or other complex fertilizer, but most of the small and marginal farmers are using it just because its price is less, according to agriculture scientists.

Prices of all complex fertilizer and DAP were decontrolled under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) scheme being implemented from April 2010 and only urea is kept out.

“Farmers are lining up at the outlets as soon as the stocks arrive as they can get more than four bags of urea with the amount they spend on one bag of DAP or most of other complex fertilizer,” authorities explained.

The authorities are also citing problems in distribution of fertilizer from stock points to sale outlets for the short-supply, though sufficient stocks were available at stock points. Even urea stocks were sufficient for the time being with about 2-lakh tonnes available in stock points and dealers, officials stated.