Farmers in Kerala wait for the elusive fertilizers

An acute shortage of fertilizers has left the State’s farmers in distress. Fertilizers such as urea, muriate of potash (MoP), phosphate fertilizers, and complex fertilizers, which are various combinations of above three, have been in short supply for the past two weeks.

According to the Agriculture Department figures, the Central allotment of di-ammonium phosphate, popularly known as DAP, to the State in September was 2,600 tonnes. But the State has got only 500 tonnes till September 12. DAP is a preferred fertilizer since it contains both nitrogen and phosphorus which are part of 18 essential plant nutrients. The allotments of muriate of potash and urea were 12,500 tonnes and 13,400 tonnes respectively, but the State got only 2,891 tonnes and 1,470 tonnes respectively.

The supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) fertilizers (complex fertilizers) was 4,753 tonnes as against the allotment of 14,200 tonnes, Agriculture Department sources said.

“This is the time to apply post-monsoon fertilizers to the coffee crop in Wayanad and Idukki, but many farmers are yet to do so owing to the shortage of MoP, potash, and urea,” says Prasanth Rajesh, president, Wayanad Coffee Growers Association.

‘Fall in yield likely’

Potash is a major component in the nutrient management of farms. Any delay in applying fertilizers will affect the health of coffee plants and may lead to a fall in yield, he adds.

“Soil erosion after a heavy monsoon has led to depletion of nutrients from the soil. It can be rectified to a certain extent by applying fertilizers. Fertilizer shortage will leave an impact on crops such as rice, pepper, plantain, ginger, rubber, and cardamom,” K. Mathai, a planter at Thamarassery, says.

‘Faulty records’

The delay in shipment of fertilizers from abroad is the major reason for the shortage in the market. Also, stock depletion is not put on record at times as some dealers do not operate the PoS machine properly while selling fertilizers. With the stocks staying intact on records, officials further delay procurement of fertilizers. It is expected that the issue will be resolved by October first week once the next shipment reaches the country, according to sources.

Companies’ role

“Many a time, fertilizer companies force us to purchase highly priced complex fertilizers to get a meagre quantity of urea, an essential fertilizer,” says C. Raveendran, president, Fertilizer Dealers’ Association, Wayanad. “Hence traders are forced to procure low quantity of nitrogen fertilizers like urea, which in turn leads to their shortage,” he adds.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 7:45:17 AM |

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