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Farmers’ body flays hike in fertilizer price

By Our Correspondent
December 09, 2023

LAHORE:Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) has feared shortage of 0.5 million tonnes of urea fertilizer during the current year.

In a statement issued on Friday, PKI president Khalid Mahmood Khokhar said current consumption estimates of urea is 6.7 million tonnes per annum due to an increase in the area and usage in cereals and cotton crops.

A farmer sprinkles fertiliser in a field. —APP/File
A farmer sprinkles fertiliser in a field. —APP/File

He said Pakistan requires additional 200,000 tonnes urea as a buffer stock to keep prices stable. Unfortunately, he maintained, during 2023, production estimate of domestic urea may hardly touch 6.4 million tonnes vs. demand of 6.7 million tonnes per annum. He said the full production capacity of the industry is not being utilised at its optimum level, thus contributing to the shortfall in urea availability. Reportedly, urea fertilizer is being sold at different market retail prices (MRPs ranging from Rs3,410 to Rs3,795 per bag due to variable gas charges imposed on different urea manufacturing plants by the govt.

Collectively, this situation encourages and provides opportunity to the middleman to exploit farmers by charging around Rs 1,000/bag over and above to the prescribed maximum retail prices (MRPs) by the manufacturers. On annual basis, middlemen have grabbed more than Rs100 billion as black money from the farmers’ pocket. Talking about the current situation, he said historically urea consumption during December oscillates between 850,000 to 900,000 tonnes whereas total availability during this month will not be more than 650,000 tonnes.

The demand supply situation clearly indicates that there is vivid shortfall of 250,000 tonnes which provides the opportunity for black-marketing and exploitation of farmers by the middlemen.