February 02, 2015

02/02/2015: "Urea hoarding" in Punjab raises fear of low wheat yield

Resentment is brewing in the farming community over the shortage of urea in the region as farmers’ organisations blame it on hoarding and black marketing by private traders, The Tribune reports.

Farmers fear that the development may have a negative effect on the yield of wheat crops. Talking to The Tribune, Gurnam Singh, a farmer from Daoke village, said: “We’re facing tough times due to scant supply of urea. So far we’ve only managed to get a single bag of urea as against our requirement of two to three bags.”


He said timely sprinkling of urea was crucial and if delayed, it might not have the desired effect. He feared that the urea shortage might adversely affect crop yield.

He said they had to travel to Amritsar daily to get urea, but have to often return disappointed. “There is such a shortage that if 400 farmers are queued up, only 200 manage to get fertiliser,” he said.

Pargat Singh, a farmer from Chamba village in Tarn Taran, lamented that an acute shortage of urea over the last couple of months had taken a toll on the crop. Harpal Singh of Munda village claimed traders were selling urea at inflated prices and forcing farmers to purchase other products along with it.

“The dealers are selling a urea bag, costing Rs 270 each, for Rs 300 and forcing us to purchase pesticide which costs another Rs 300. That way a urea bag costs us Rs 600,” he complained. Some farmers said that they had to pay Rs 100 to Rs 200 more per bag.

Farmer leaders Satnam Singh Ajnala and Rattan Singh Randhawa blamed uneven distribution of urea by the government and its subsequent hoarding by private traders for the prevailing crisis. They said the government should not have given urea into private hands and instead used its own agencies like IFFCO and Markfed for distribution.

Ajnala claimed the wheat yield might go down by 5 to 10 percent. He said farmers who had sown early varieties were the worst hit as the time had arrived for a third application of urea, but they had not got supplies even for the second application.

He said the government must step in immediately to streamline the urea supply to the farmers. Kisan Sangharsh Committee leader Satnam Singh Pannu said there were reports of hoarding and black marketing in Tarn Taran too and the government must put a stop to the practice with firm policing so that the farmers did not suffer due to urea shortage.

Read the article HERE.

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