Fertiliser vends in Tamil Nadu raided to check hoarding

June 25th, 2008 - 10:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 25 (IANS) Nearly 200 fertiliser vending units were raided Wednesday to prevent hoarding and black marketing of inorganic fertiliser Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), officials said here. “Hoarders and black market forces have triggered a price rise of the fertiliser from Rs.400 a quintal, a few months back, to Rs.700. The government has raided several private vending units to unearth stocks and has begun exercise to distribute fertilisers through cooperatives,” a government source said.

Farmers’ organisations, however, dismissed the measures as “woefully inadequate”.

“The government has been aware of the shortage even before the Mettur Dam sluices were opened on the 12th of June. This has resulted in serious sowing delays that will prove detrimental to sugarcane, turmeric and paddy harvests,” Govindraj, a farmers’ leader, said by hone from Kumbhakonam in central Tamil Nadu.

“Since there are not enough cooperatives to ensure enough supply even in the Cauvery Delta region, several of our organisations will agitate against the state for this woefully inadequate measure,” he said.

The shortage of fertilisers will lead to nationwide food shortages, the farmer leader warned.

Environmentalists told IANS that the whole thing was a losing proposition for the soil and those who depended on it, including farmers.

“Adding DAP to the soil will add to its acidic content, leading to lower yields. Worse, the output will have more harmful chemical residues than permitted. Instead of chasing mirages in the form of harmful chemical additives to the soil, organic fertilisers like cattle dung are a better bet to ensure better harvests,” a source from M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation here said.

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