The crisis of fertilisers and water for cultivation of Aman paddy is turning severe day to day. Due to absence of adequate rainfall, the fully grown Aman paddy saplings are turning weary and the non-availability and exorbitant price of various fertilisers in Rajshahi district is also driving the farmers mad.
Farmers in Rajshahi district are learnt to suffering from an acute fertiliser crisis.Specially, during the full growing period of Aman Paddy plant, farmers of the district are desperately visiting one shop to another to procure required MoP (Muriate of Potash) and TSP ( Triple Super Phosphate) fertilisers. Sources informed, there was a deficit of nearly 135 metric tonnes of MoP fertiliser in Rajshahi in July and this may increase to 800 mt this month (Aug). Taking the opportunity of the shortage of the fertilisers, the dealers and retailers are allegedly selling those at an exorbitant price, it is alleged.
It is learnt, fertilisers are supplied to Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore and Chapainawabganj from the buffer store-house( godown) of Rajshahi. In July 940 metric tonnes of MoP was supplied as against the allocation of 1,783 mt in Naogaon district, The deficit was 982 mt. In C'Nawabganj there was a deficit of 287 mt as against requirement of 1,036 mt. Till Sunday last there was only 50 mt of MoP in stock at BADC buffer godown in Rajshahi.
According to a source of DAE, Rajshahi district, a target of cultivation of Aman paddy has been fixed on 80,050 hectares of land in Rajshahi dist. of which 42,904 hectares have been cultivated so far till Tuesday last.
In Rajshahi district, there is an allotment of 663 mt of TSP, 800 mt of MoP and 1,531 mt of DAP during this month.
According to an estimate of the Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer in Rajshahi, at the first stage of cultivation of paddy, 15 kgs of DAP, 10 kgs MoP and 10 kgs of Urea are required to apply in a bigha of land. But, having no sufficient supply of the fertilisers, farmers are scuttling from one place to another to procure their required fertilisers. It is learnt, there is no supply of even 25 percent of fertilisers according to the total requirements. The dealers of the district are also not getting their allocated fertilisers. The crisis of fertiliser is more acute in the union levels of various upazilas of the district, it is learnt. In addition, there was no adequate rainfall during the last two month and the farmers of the region are apprehending a total loss of crops in no sufficient rainfall occurs within a very short span of time.
DAE Rajshahi sources informed, in the first phase of cultivation of paddy, 8,933 mt (595,000 sacs) of DAP, 6,000mt (178,000 sacs) of MoP is required but the allocation of the fertiliser is so far is only-16,000 sacs of MoP and 30,620 sacs of DAP in the district which is very meagre in compared to the requirement.
Aianul Islam of Basantapur village under Godagari upazila informed, there has been no rainfall for a long time in the district. During the last one week, there was a meagre amount of rainfall which is not sufficient enough for paddy cultivation. Now, the Aman paddy plants are grown-up and those need more water and fertilisers.
But, the farmers of the upazila are extremely worried about the peculiar trend of nature. There was no rainfall during the entire Asar month and was only a small amount of rainfall for two or three days during the first week of Srabon.
Now, the paddy plants are turning weary and weak due to absence of adequate water in the field.
He further mentioned, in addition to the water crisis, the farmers of the upazila are also badly suffering from fertiliser crisis. Often, there is no supply of fertilisers to the local dealers and the retailers. As a result, farmers are running from one place to another to procure fertilisers. Moreover, due to shortage of supply, most of the fertiliser dealers and agents are charging a high price of those, if available at all. He said he lives with his five-member family on the income of selling paddy from his field. He share-crops ten-bighas of land and if there was no rainfall and no availability of fertiliser soon, he has no way but to starve with his family members.
Farmer Afaz Uddin of Teghor village under Naohata Municipality informed, he has cultivated Aman on five bighas of land. Now, he needs to apply fertiliser in his land but there is no fertiliser in the shops and if there is some, the price is exorbitant. He also said the absence of sufficient rainfall may badly hamper the Aman production in the district.
Nazrul Islam of the same village said, fertiliser is not available to various dealears and retailers. often, some sellers are charging Tk 4 to 6 more per kgs of fertilisers. If no available fertiliser is supplied at the fair price, the production of paddy would be hampered as the production cost of paddy would also be increased.
Meanwhile, after visiting the Buffer Godown of BADC, this correspondent found there was no stock of MoP fertiliser there at all though there were stocks of other fertilisers.
Requesting anonymity, an official at the godown informed, the MoP crisis started after 20th July. As against the requirement of 800 mt, only 40 to 42 mt of MoP is now in the stock at present, he added. He further said, instead of Russia and Ukraine, the MoP is now being imported from Canada and when the supply is available, there will be no shortage.
Meanwhile, potato and fish farmers of the district might also face fertiliser shortage to cultivate potato and fish during the upcoming season.
However, the officials of DAE, Rajshahi have claimed, there is no shortage of fertiliser in the district. DD of DAE Mozdar Hossain said, there is no shortages of fertiliser in the district. Yet, Upazila Agriculture Officers are regularly monitoring so that the dishonest traders fail to create an artificial crisis of fertilisers in the district.