- Measures to be taken to ensure ample stocks are available for next season
The Agriculture Ministry is set to present a paper at the next Cabinet meeting proposing an increase in fertilizer subsidy to match the market price, top Government sources confirmed.
Following discussions between the Agriculture and Finance Ministries, the fertilizer subsidy given to farmers will be increased by at least Rs. 500 per 50kg bag. At present the Government provides only Rs. 2,500 per fertilizer bag with a total subsidy of Rs. 25,000, when market price has increased to over Rs. 3,000 per bag. The new funds will be distributed to the farmers for the yala season, a Finance Ministry official told Daily FT.
“World market prices have increased, and the subsidy will have to reflect that. We are working towards it,” the official said.
The funds for the increase will be met through allocations for agriculture subsidies, he said.
“Since only 50% of paddy land is cultivated during the yala season, the Government will be able to foot the bill.”
The Cabinet paper will also include proposals to avoid shortages in fertilizer as experienced by farmers during the last paddy season in addition to price hikes.
A delay in the tender process and a subsequent cancellation resulted in severe shortage of fertilizer, leading to an artificial increase in prices.
The paper presented to Cabinet will propose several measures to ensure the fertilizer will be available for farmers on time, including early importation of stocks.
“The two Government entities responsible for the matter will have to take action and call for tenders early to avoid a repeat of last year’s case,” he said. (CD)