ISLAMABAD: Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) has urged the government to launch a ‘Grow More Wheat Campaign’ and increase subsidy on the DAP and phosphatic fertilisers.
In a letter to the Minister for National Food Security and Research, the FMPAC has appreciated the federal government’s efforts to provide subsidy to the farmers on DAP and other phosphatic fertilisers such as SSP, Nitrophos, MAP, NP/NPKs, and TSP to make it affordable to the farmers in view of an unprecedented price hike of fertilisers and the Phos Acid and rock Phosphate in the international market.
However, the DAP sales during the period of January-August has shown a visible decline to the tune of 14 percent (984 Kt vs 1,144 Kt).
Following are the major reasons for this decline in use of phosphatic fertilisers: (i) at present, the subsidy on phosphatic fertilisers is being extended by the government of Punjab, and the other three provinces are currently working to develop a model for subsidy disbursement, but it has yet to be implemented.
The “Kissan Card” initiative is proceeding slowly due to the limited supply of machines to the dealers and non-issuance of Kissan Card to registered farmers.
The exorbitant prices discourage the farmers to use DAP in the absence of reliable and uniform subsidy disbursement system; the current subsidy rate on DAP being Rs1,000 per bag effective from April 29, 2021, with a maximum limit of 20 bags, is not encouraging the farmers to use the fertiliser as per requirement and land holdings/cultivated land and; the delays in announcement and disbursement of subsidy also discouraged the farmers, thus, resorting to under dosing and use of other cheaper fertilisers in lieu of social media is also propagating use of cheaper fertilisers in lieu of phosphatic fertilisers, and it may impact the upcoming wheat crop.
The FMPAC has recommended that the government should encourage the remaining three provinces to expedite the implementation of the subsidy, to effectively increase wheat cultivation during the incoming Rabi season.
The subsidy for Rabbi Season should be announced well in time, to ensure it reaching all farmers across the country.
In view of the current international prices of phosphatic fertiliser, subsidy may be increased to Rs2,000 per bag of DAP and subsidy on all other phosphatic fertilisers should also be increased with the same parity on “P” nutrient-basis for the upcoming wheat crop.
The FMPAC has further recommended that the subsidy should not be restricted to a limited number of bags but should be as per land holdings and recommended dose for the farmer.
In view of slow progress on Kissan cards, for the upcoming Rabi season, fertiliser industry has recommended that the already in place mechanism of disbursement of subsidy through stickers/vouchers be continued for the benefit of the farmers, adding that complete substitution of this mechanism with instant subsidy through Kissan Cards should be deferred until next season (by the time every dealer/sub dealer has swipe machines and Kissan Cards are issued to the entire farming community of Punjab).
The FMPAC has requested the government may launch a “Grow More Wheat Campaign” to ensure food security in the country with a clear depiction of optimum use of phosphatic and potassic fertilisers for better yields and overall production along with support price incentive.
This should be backed up by a media campaign with a clear message that there is no substitute for soil application of phosphatic and potassic fertilisers in enhancing wheat yield.
The importance of phosphorous in increasing grain size, weight, and overall yield is to be highlighted.
The industry is willing to support the wider communication to help government.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021