Government not kept its promise on fertiliser price13 April 2023
The government has raised the prices of Urea, TSP, DAP and MOP fertilisers by Tk 5 per kg at both farmer and dealership levels. The Agriculture Ministry issued an order in this regard on Monday following a letter sent by the finance department of the Finance Ministry. The prices had been fixed aiming to keep the fertiliser import at a rational level amid the hike in its prices at the international level and ensure optimum utilisation of fertilisers.
At the dealers' level, the Urea price has been re-fixed at Tk 25 instead of Tk 20, DAP at Tk 19 instead of Tk 14, TSP at Tk 25 instead of Tk 20 and MOP at Tk 18 instead of Tk 13. The current price of Urea, DAP, TSP and MOP fertilisers in the international market is Tk 48, Tk 70, Tk 50 and Tk 60 per kg respectively. As a result, the government is still giving a subsidy of Tk 21 in Urea, Tk 49 in DAP, Tk 23 in TSP and Tk 40 in MOP per kg even after the latest price hike, said a media release of the Agriculture Ministry.
Fertiliser prices were raised 3-4 times in the global market in the last three years, resulting in a hike in government subsidy in the country four times. In the fiscal year 2020-21, the amount of subsidy was Tk 7,420 crore while it increased to Tk 28 crore in 21-22 FY and in the running 2022-23 fiscal year, about Tk 46,000 crore will be required for subsidy. From 2008-09 to 2022-23 fiscal years, Tk 119,837 crore was spent as fertiliser subsidy.
Gas crisis has found a new victim after hitting the country's national grid hard. Now, production of urea fertiliser has begun to feel the pinch, with one fertiliser factory having been unable to operate regularly due to the gas supply crunch. Experts fear a food crisis if the situation continues or worsens and farmers do not get timely fertiliser supply.
There is no alternative but to intensify our arduous effort for sustaining economic growth by promoting our agricultural products. The country needs to assure the smooth supply of chemical fertilisers and electricity for the farmers, providing more subsidies to ensure food security, and to help the country towards a resilient recovery. The government has not kept its promise, though the Agriculture Minister on April 3 said that there is not any plan to raise the prices of fertiliser.