Updated: June 29, 2022 4:46:38 am
Maharashtra’s agriculture commissioner Dheeraj Kumar has directed fertilizer companies not to force farmers to buy mineral mixtures or micro nutrients while buying fertilizers from shops. Kumar said he had received complaints about such linkage sales from farmers in Nanded and Buldhana, which prompted him to take action.
Yuvraj Patil, Nanded district president of farmer’s union Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, was one of the complainants in this regard. Patil, who met Kumar during the latter’s visit to the district, said that ahead of the kharif season, farmers were being forced to buy fertilizers which they had not ask for. “Fertilizer companies along with wholesale and retail traders are linking sales of major fertilizers with composts, micro nutrients and other minerals. In most cases, farmers are forced to buy them even if they do not ask for it,” he said.
Micro minerals, compost, and micro-nutrients are essential for soil health but most farmers fail to add them into their soil. The soil health card of farmers is supposed to guide them in application of fertilizers and other nutrients. Over-usage of nitrogen-based fertilizers increases soil salinity, which, in the long run, can make it barren. Maharashtra’s soil, as per the portal of Soil Health card, is slightly alkaline with organic carbon being low in major parts of the state.
Patil, while speaking to The Indian Express, said that when farmers in Nanded go to shops to buy major fertilizers like urea or DAP (diammonium phospate) or other mixtures of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK), they are forced to buy other fertilizers or mineral mixtures. “In case the farmers don’t agree, the shops refuse to even sell the main fertilizers to them,” he said. With fertilizer prices increasing by leaps and bounds, this additional procurement has cut deeper into farmers’ pockets, Patil added.
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Kumar said that apart from Nanded, he has received similar complaints from Buldhana. “Micro nutrients are necessary for soil health but under no circumstances should farmers be forced to buy them. Strict action would be taken against companies which do so,” he said. Kumar also confirmed that he would be talking to companies to raise the matter. “It is important that they add the right nutrients for soil health. But, awareness is the key. I would ask the companies to take up awareness campaigns in the state,” he said. The district collector of Nanded, Kumar said, would be looking into the complaints filed there.
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