DAP fertiliser shortage dampens rabi prospects in India

Shortage of diammonium phosphate (DAP), a key fertiliser during rabi season, is impeding the rabi crops significantly. A severe shortage has skyrocketed DAP prices to Rs 1,200 per bag.

The delay in raising the subsidy for the imported fertiliser amid rising global prices has disrupted the normal arrival schedule. November is crucial sowing period for wheat when maximum area is covered and farmers need DAP during this period. Sowing is being delayed in many parts of the country due to lack of DAP. 

While there is no problem in the availability of urea, complex (N, P, K, S) and Muriate of Potash (MOP) fertilisers, the main concern is over DAP, which is not available at many places, contrary to the government’s claims.

According to fertiliser ministry data, the availability of DAP was less than 10 lakh tonne against requirement of 17 lakh tonne for entire November. Famer leaders claim that the government has been resorting to managing the negative publicity rather than improving supplies. 

The government has claimed that the availability of DAP was 23 lakh tonnes against 18 lakh tonnes of demand in October, which many farmers have disputed.

Union chemicals and fertilisers minister Mansukh Mandaviya has appealed to farmers not to hoard fertilisers. He said the government has been constantly monitoring production, imports and movement of fertilisers and adequate arrangements are in place to ensure that farmers get sufficient quantity. While the demand of urea is 41 lakh tonne, the government will make sure 76 lakh tonne is available in November, Mandaviya said.

The government on October 12 had approved an additional fertiliser subsidy of Rs 28,655 crore to insulate farmers from paying extra for the key farm input and to ensure adequate availability by easing the burden of fertiliser companies. With the additional subsidy, the total outgo on fertiliser will reach around Rs 1.23 lakh crore in FY22. The government has set a target of 155.88 million tonnes of foodgrains, including 110 million tonnes of wheat and 15.18 million tonnes of pulses. The target for rabi oilseeds has been fixed at 11.3 million tonnes, which includes 10.2 million tonnes of mustard.

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