Alleged over dosages, hoarding, non-availability of farm yard manure and little scope of growing green manure in the wheat-paddy crop circle has led to severe shortage of urea so much so that protest have erupted in the district.
The problem has compounded as the sowing season, during which the demand for fertilisers is the highest, is about to end.
This resulted in a huge rush on Saturday that forced the agriculture department to open about 65 counters to distribute the fertiliser inspite of which the demand could not be met with the farmers resorting to protests.
"There is wheat crop on about 2.05 lakh hectares and as per our requirements we need 56,500 tonnes of urea while we have got 67,500 metric tonne so far. However, we recommend about 110 kg of urea per acre for wheat but many farmers apply anything between 125-150 kg per acre which leads to the shortage," said Beant Singh, chief agriculture officer, Muktsar.
"According to us, there is no shortage of fertiliser, but farmers have created a panic and some are even hoarding it for the next paddy seasons. Even today, we have distributed about 7,000 bags of urea in Malout," he adds.
The department had to issue instructions to the farmers that the fertilizer would be distributed under the supervision of district administration, police and agriculture department on the proof of residence as it suspected many farmers from other districts are also visiting the district to buy urea.
Due to the lack of availability of farm yard manure with the many farmers, who have mostly stopped rearing animals has also left them to rely upon the chemical fertilizers. Wheat paddy crop pattern also leaves little time for the farmers to grow green manure in the fields after the harvesting of wheat to which could lead to the less use of chemical fertilizers.
According to the agriculture department, Punjab has the highest consumption of fertilizers in the state per unit in the country.
The 70 per cent supply to the cooperative societies and only 30 per cent to the dealers also led to the problem because most of the farmers are not members of the cooperative societies because of the technical problem of ownership of land. Besides it, there is allegedly political interference in the cooperative societies, influential get more than they need while deserving are left with little.The farmers also demand that at least 40 per cent quota of fertilizer should be released to the private dealers.
Director agriculture speak
When contacted, Mangal Singh Sandhu, director agriculture said that there is no shortage of urea."The farmers have only created a panic and alleged hoarding has led to the false shortage. we have about 35 lakh hectares of wheat for which we needed 8.7 lakh MT of urea while we have arranged over 13 lakh MT of it. Even if anybody has problem, one can spray 9 kg of urea by adding 300 liters of water on wheat per acre to instead of 1 bag per acre. We are properly monitoring the distribution and no one found hoarding would be spared," said Mangal Singh Sandhu.
"I also advise the farmers not to apply more than recommended dosages of urea, it would finally lead to their loss," he adds.