Farmers at stake as fertiliser prices go up

A coconut farm on the verge of ruin near Puthiyangadi in Kozhikode district.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Farmers across the State who are grappling with the dwindling crop yield and price fall of agriculture produce have called upon the Union and State governments to do something immediately to arrest the increasing market prices of various fertilisers and chemicals. Leaders of major farmers’ organisations say the unbearable farm input cost subsequent to the fertiliser price hike will take the ailing agriculture sector to an unrecoverable 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 diammonium phosphate and other phosphorus-based fertilisers have also gone high in a similar way.

The biggest crisis faced by small and medium farmers is the absence of any beneficial subsidy schemes for them to beat the price fluctuations. Only a small section of farmers who are part of the special agriculture schemes in selected 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.

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

“If the 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 the Malayora Karshaka Samiti. According to him, the agriculture sector is also going through a critical situation like the petroleum industry where the international players control the market situation.

T. Chandran, secretary of Kera Karshaka Sanghom, says the 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 associated bodies. “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 with the farmers’ helplessness to purchase costly fertilisers,” he adds.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 7:54:14 PM |

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