The season, where the crops are harvest most have come and to the brighter side, local governments across the country have loosened the lockdown for farmers. This is because at this period of time, thousands of farmers work in their fields if they don’t do, it could lead to food shortages across the country. Not to forget, it would devastatingly affect their income and diminish economic growth.
Due to the pandemic all over the world, farmers are scared that they might run out of chemical fertilizer before paddy plantation begins. Bishnu Prasad Pokharel broadcasted that “Our planning failed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we didn’t know how long this lockdown would last. Now, it does not look like it is possible to import fertilizer.” “And Fertiliser will be inadequate this planting season. We have to manage with the stock we have,” he said.
According to Pokharel, spokesperson for the Agriculture Inputs Company, the state-owned fertilizer supplier, fertilizer stock will last for at least a month in Nepal. The country requires 120,000 tonnes of urea and 50,000 tonnes of DAP for paddy plantation. But the stock we have after the two companies combined are the stock of 35,000 tonnes of DAP and 25,000 tonnes of urea. Bhola Man Singh Basnet, a former agricultural scientist from the Nepal Agricultural Research Council mentioned, importing food from India will also be difficult in the immediate future as it too may impose restrictions amid pressure to feed its own population. And also with Nepal-India relations damaging due to border issues, the government is doubtful to request India to provide fertilizer directly as per a government-to-government deal.
Thousands of people are returning home, migrant workers, people who have lost jobs abroad. And in this situation country will have to produce additional food. This fiscal year government had increased the budget for the supply of subsidized chemical fertilizer from Rs5 billion to Rs9 billion to ensure that the supply is on-time in sufficient quantity, but the Covid-19 pandemic had its own plan and had destructed the country and took away some of those funds and added more obstacles.