Hike in fertiliser prices puts farmers in a spot

Farmers across the State who are grappling with the dwindling crop yield and price fall of agriculture produce have called upon Union and State governments to do something immediately to arrest the increasing market prices of fertilisers and chemicals. Leaders of major farmers’ organisations say the increasing farm input cost subsequent to the fertiliser price hike will take the ailing agriculture sector to a serious crisis.

“NPK, one of the essential nutrient mixes and the most sought-after fertiliser product comprising nitrogen phosphorus and potassium, costs ₹35,500 a tonne. It was just ₹24,000 till very recently,” says Johnson Kulathingal, general secretary of Kerala Karshaka Union in the State. He points out that the prices of di-ammonium phosphate and other phosphorus-based fertilisers have also gone up in a similar way.

The biggest crisis faced by small and medium farmers is the absence of beneficial subsidy schemes for them to beat the price fluctuations. Only a small section of farmers who are part of special agriculture schemes in select panchayats are now getting government support to buy fertilisers at subsidised rate. In effect, the hike in market price will affect the majority of ordinary farmers who are out of such special schemes.

Leaders of Indian Farmers Movement and Malayora Karshaka Samiti say the price hike of fertilisers can be controlled only by restricting the supremacy of private fertiliser giants in price fixing mechanism. “What they decide should not be implemented as such without the vetting of Union and State governments,” they say.

“If State governments are finding it difficult to control such companies, they should come up with an appropriate subsidy scheme for farmers. It should be implemented in such a way to benefit all farmers, especially those not covered under any other special scheme,” says a senior functionary of Malayora Karshaka Samiti. According to him, the agriculture sector is also going through a critical stage like the petroleum industry where international players control the market situation.

T. Chandran, secretary of Kera Karshaka Sanghom, says traditional coconut farmers are the worst-hit with the hiked prices of fertilisers and there should be more actions on the part of the government and other agencies. “Though there is an increase in the number of farms and coconut-based industries, the crop yield may not reach up to the expected level owing to farmers’ helplessness to purchase costly fertilisers,” he adds.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 10:44:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/hike-in-fertiliser-prices-puts-farmers-in-a-spot/article34522665.ece

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