The ongoing rail blockade as part of the farmers’ protest against the three agri laws has led to a dire shortage of fertlizers in Punjab even as the wheat sowing has already been completed in nearly 30 per cent of the targetted area under the crop.
Dr Rajesh Vashisht, director agriculture, Punjab told the The Indian Express state currently has only a fraction of the stock it needs for the rabi crop season. “We need 14.0 lakh metric tonnes ( LMT) urea, 5.25 LMT diammonium phosphate (DAP), 0.50 LMT Muriate of Potash (MOP) and 0.50 LMT nitrogen phosphorus potassium (NPK Complex) for the rabi season 2020-21. We currently have only 2.05 LMT Urea, 1.95 LMT DAP, 0.35 LMT MOP and 0.08 LMT NPK Complex available in the state,” Vashisht said.
According to the Department of Agriculture, wheat is expected to be sown on approximately 35 lakh hectare (LH) area in Punjab. Till date, farmers have already sown wheat on about 11.0 LH area (30% of the target).
Vashisht said Punjab receives supply of fertilizers from Gujarat and other states through the rail network. “The total requirement of urea for the months of October and November is 8.0 LMT. The shortage of urea is already being felt in the vegetable growing areas. Some urea is being transported by trucks from NFL plants at Nangal and Bathinda but it would not be possible to transport the required quantity of fertilizer via road. Application of urea at the growth stage of the wheat crop is most critical factor for obtaining optimum yield,” he said, adding that as per PAU, Ludhiana, “a delay in sowing of wheat by a week would result in yield loss of about 1.50 quintal per acre”.
In addition, the kharif produce being procured in the state is held up for want of movement of goods trains. The non-movement of Basmati containers from the state are resulting in huge loss to the producers. Also with no coal being supplied to thermal plants, the power supply to agriculture sector is set to be affected, said Vashisht.
The acute shortage of urea and DAP is likely to affect the sowing of wheat and potato crop in Ludhiana, said Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Dr Narinder Singh Benipal. He said that whatever stock of urea and DAP the district had is depleting fast. In Ludhiana, wheat is sown on around 2.5 lakh hectares, potato on 13,500 hectare, along with some other crops.
Stocks in Malwa belt
Wheat sowing will begin in Malwa region in the second week November as cotton picking is still going on. Bahadur Singh, CAO Bathinda, said, “We hope that the issue of goods trains is resolved soon as we have limited stocks, which can last for a week”.
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