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Punjab farmers not clearing dues, supply of fertiliser to be hit

Due to debt-waiver notification, farmers not paying back their dues to the cooperative societies for fertiliser purchase.

punjab Updated: Nov 02, 2017 11:16 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab farmers,farmers not clearing dues,supply of fertiliser
The agricultural cooperative societies cater to fertiliser needs of 95% of the farmers who are into wheat cultivation. (HT File Photo)

At least 3,500 agricultural cooperative societies in Punjab that supply fertiliser — di-ammonia phosphate and urea — to farmers during the two main crop seasons, rabi and kharif are in the red. As a result, the supply of fertiliser to farmers during the wheat-sowing season that is expected to pick up momentum by mid-November will suffer.

Farmers are supplied fertiliser on credit, and they pay back when they sell off their crop. This year, they are reluctant to pay back even after earning from paddy (already half-way into the harvest) due to state government’s notification for debt waiver, a fortnight ago.

The deadline for clearing the fertiliser credit for the kharif crop was October 15 to November 15.

The agricultural cooperative societies cater to fertiliser needs of 95% of the farmers who are into wheat cultivation.

“With farmers not clearing the credit for the paddy season, the cooperative societies will not give fertiliser for the wheat crop,” said an officer of Markfed, the nodal agency (along with IFFCO, in 65-35 ratio) for making fertiliser arrangements for both the cropping seasons.

The deadline for clearing the fertiliser credit for the kharif crop was October 15 to November 15. “We are in the mid-recovery period, but pay back by farmers is not very encouraging,” said a Markfed officer.

“We have made sufficient arrangement for the wheat season, we go as per the quantum and schedule set by the registrar of cooperative societies,” said Markfed managing director Arshdeep Singh Thind.

Every year, Marked supplies fertiliser to agricultural cooperative societies to the tune of Rs 700 crore (at least Rs. 1,400 crore for both the crops) on credit, which they recover after the season is over.

For the forthcoming rabi season, Markfed had made arrangements for 2 lakh tonne DAP and 5 lakh tonne urea for sowing of wheat. This requires one dose of urea of 55-kg of DAP and two doses of urea of 50-kg each per acre, during the season. The previous wheat season was bad for cooperative societies due to demonetisation and the outgoing paddy crop suffered due to the debt-waiver announcement, said an officer of the state cooperative bank under which the societies function.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 09:52 IST