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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Gujarat: Rise in fertiliser prices worries farmers ahead of Kharif season

To make matters worse, the prices of diesel, that powers tractors and irrigation pumps, have also shot up.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad |
May 7, 2021 5:42:37 am
Government hikes subsidy on DAP fertiliser by 140%; farmers to get DAP at old ratesThe Centre had earlier urged the fertiliser industry to maintain retail prices of DAP at “reasonable” levels. (File)

As farmers prepare for this year’s Kharif season, they are faced with a 58 per cent jump in prices of key fertilisers like Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) in the state. To make matters worse, the prices of diesel, that powers tractors and irrigation pumps, have also shot up.

“This is the peak time when farmers buy fertilisers in preparation for the Kharif sowing. Farmers who have access to irrigation, start sowing cotton and groundnut from May 15. However, the farmers are a worried lot with the huge hike in DAP which is a primary fertiliser that is used during the sowing,” said Sagar

Rabari, head of Khedut Ekta Manch.

A 50 kilogram-bag of DAP that was priced at Rs 1200, now costs Rs 1900. “In one hectare, a farmer needs four bags of DAP to sow. The input cost would rise Rs 2,800 per hectare for a farmer,” he added.

Apart from DAP, the prices of NPK has shot up by 53 per cent with prices of a bag of NPK rising by Rs 615. “Similarly, the prices of other fertilisers like APS and Potash also have risen. “Prices of a bag of NPK rose by Rs 615, APS the prices rose by Rs 425 and Potash by Rs 850 a bag,” he added.

On an average 85-90 lakh hectares is sown during Kharif season in the state. Raju Kem, a cotton farmer owing 110 bighas ( 1.5 bighas is equivalent to an acre) in Dudhai village of Surendranagar says the farmers like him and those smaller than him have to borrow money from money-lenders to meet the rising cost of fertilisers.

“I will need 20 kilograms of DAP while sowing one bigha. With a kilogram of DAP costing Rs 24-25 more, our finances will get adversely affected. The nationalised bank will not loan one penny more than Rs one lakh for a hectare. So farmers especially those holding smaller land holdings will be forced to borrow from private money lenders at higher rates. This is how farmers get into a vicious debt cycle,” Raju said.

The prices were raised by the fertiliser companies earlier in 2021 and the state Agriculture Minister RC Faldu had said in February that the issue of price rise of fertilisers was a rumour spread by the Congress party to misguide farmers with local body polls round the corner.

Apart from rise in fertiliser prices, the rising cost of diesel is also expected to add to the input cost of farmers this Kharif season. The farmers use diesel in their tractors to plough their land twice before the sowing. Diesel is also used to run pumps needed to irrigate the farm.

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