Fertilizer shortage playing spoilsport in Kerala

June 26th, 2008 - 4:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 26 (IANS) A severe fertilizer shortage is threatening Kerala’s plans to push agriculture as a key vehicle to development, the government said Thursday. In response to a calling attention motion on the issue, the state’s Agriculture Minister Mulakara Ratnakaran said there has been a serious shortage of fertilizers containing phosphates and urea for a month.

Ratnakaran said the centre-owned Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd, located in Kochi, has more than halved its production of the factomphos fertilizer because of a phosphate supply crunch.

“While the company was supposed to supply 7,600 tonnes of factomphos for June, it supplied only 3,092 tonnes,” he said.

According to him, diammonium phosphates (DAP) fertilizer supply has also been seriously affected. “We have far received only 3,092 tonnes for June, but we need 18,000 tonnes for the kharif season (April to September).”

There was a similar shortage of urea supply, he added.

Ratnakaran said the shortage of phosphates, which are imported, has caused their price to spiral. “The centre has to step in and see that it provides subsidy, so that raw materials are available,” he said.

The minister also requested the leader of the opposition Oommen Chandy to see that there is pressure put on the Centre because it is the Centre that allocates fertilizers to the states.

In his calling attention motion earlier, Rajaji Mathew Thomas, a legislator from the ruling Left Democratic Front government, said cooperative societies that procure fertilizers for their members were being asked to lift unwanted fertilizers if they wanted phosphates.

Subsequently, these cooperatives had stopped procuring any kind of fertilizers, including phosphates.

“If the authorities do not act fast, the scheme that our government has taken to bring back agriculture into many Kerala homes will go haywire,” Thomas said.

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