The government is considering canalising the imports of di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and Muriate of Potash (MOP) through state agencies to ensure that they are available in adequate quantities to farmers. This is the first time since fertilizer import was de-controlled that this step is being contemplated.
DAP and MOP are the two major de-controlled fertilizers that are imported.
"The department of fertilsers should consider canalising import of DAP/MOP to ensure adequate availability in each season," Fertiliser Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters after a conference of the state agriculture ministers on Monday.
Paswan said that to facilitate such imports and distribution of de-controlled fertilisers, each state government should identify at least one state institutional agency, which would be empowered to import the required quantities.
"Such agencies could take the assistance of central state trading organisations such state trading corporation (STC) and Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC)," said the minister.
Paswan also said that the Government had cleared Rs 22,000 crore fertiliser subsidy backlog of the companies and would pay the remaining amount of Rs 12,000 crore by March this year.
There had been complaints by fertiliser companies regarding delay in payment of subsidy to them.
"Though we have cleared the subsidies of companies, some company or the other would always raise such issues", said Paswan and added that the Department of Fertiliser was pursuing release of Rs 6,000 crore fertiliser subsidy arrears from the Finance Ministry.
The one-day conference, called to discuss issues relating to the fertiliser sector, was attended by several state agricultural ministers.
Paswan said the current financial year has seen a unprecedented growth in the demand for fertilisers with kharif demand for urea pegged at 122.27 lakh metric tonnes and rabi demand (for urea) estimated at 127.08 LMT.