Farmers in trouble as urea prices surge by 47%, threatening wheat production

A 50-kilogram bag of urea, insufficiently available in market, has reached Rs5,000, significantly higher than the official rate Rs3,410.

Farmers nationwide face hurdles in acquiring urea fertiliser at official prices, with reports indicating hoarding by dealers and middlemen causing inflated rates and endangering wheat crop production.

Over the past week, the price of a 50-kilogram bag of urea has surged by up to 47 percent, reaching Rs5,000, significantly higher than the official rate ranging from Rs3,410 to Rs3,750, according to farmer groups.

Farmers are concerned about the government’s failure to ensure sufficient availability and proper distribution of this essential fertiliser crucial for early wheat growth stages.

Despite manufacturers claiming no recent price revisions, urea fertiliser prices have skyrocketed nationwide in just a week.

This surge, up to Rs1,590 above the official price, comes at a critical time in December when demand is high for application during the early stages of the wheat crop.

The inadequate application of urea poses a threat to the production of the strategic wheat crop, a staple food for a significant portion of the population. While the Punjab Agriculture Extension Wing has issued urea prices, farmers claim these are not being followed in the provinces.

The possibility of malpractices, including hoarding and selling at prices higher than those fixed by manufacturers, has prompted calls for measures to maintain fertilizer supplies for equitable distribution at notified prices.

Despite assurances from provincial Agriculture Departments and district authorities, farmers are experiencing price hikes and non-availability of urea in many areas during the peak demand period.

Farmers are reporting that urea, officially priced at Rs3,410 per bag, is being sold at Rs4,700 to Rs4,800, raising concerns about potential impacts on wheat production.

The Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP) echoes these concerns, warning that wheat output could suffer due to hoarding, scarcity, and costly fertilizer. KBP President Sardar Zafar Hussain Khan alleges collusion between the government, local authorities, and the fertilizer mafia, leading to black-marketing, arbitrary pricing, and artificial shortages.

The KBP leader has urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the fertilizer price hike, emphasizing that farmers may resort to protests if immediate action is not taken.

Khalid Khokhar, President of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad, notes that despite low selling rates for produce, farmers face increasing input costs, making agriculture economically challenging.

The availability of urea at official prices has become a pressing issue for farmers as wheat sowing concludes across the country. Urea priced at Rs5,000 per bag and DAP at Rs14,000 pose significant challenges to the sustainability of the agriculture sector.

 

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