Agriculture and Forests Minister quizzed on shortage of fertilizers

The minister says that 2,500 MT of fertilizers will arrive soon

Reiterating that farmers confronted shortage of fertilizers during the time of planting seeds, the Member of Parliament (MP) from Chumey-Ura constituency, Drungtsho Karma Wangchuk, questioned Agriculture and Forests Minister Yeshey Penjor about the necessary measures being taken by the ministry to address the problem.

Since the farmers account for 70% of the population, the MP said fertilizers are crucial in agriculture.

However, he added that farmers are experiencing severe scarcity of fertilizers during the plantation season.

The MP asked the minister for the reasons for fertilizer shortages and how the ministry is planning to assist the farmers in obtaining fertilizers.

According to the MP, the shortage is costing farmers a huge loss and it would be extremely beneficial to the farmers if the government could distribute fertilizers on time; ensuring that farmers’ efforts are not in vain.

“Recently, farmers have expressed facing the problem of lack of fertilizers and pesticides further exacerbating their sufferings. Numerous farmers said they expected their yields to be low as compared to the previous year as they couldn’t get fertilizers on time,” the MP said.

Responding to the question during the question-answer session of the National Assembly yesterday, Agriculture and Forests Minister Yeshey Penjor said that the top most priority right now is to set up a bio-fertilizer plant in the country, which will not only improve organic agriculture, but will also help to start producing fertilizers as soon as possible to alleviate the shortage.

Due to the prolonged border restriction because of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers across the country experienced severe shortage of fertilizers and pesticides.

According to the minister, due to the Covid-19 crisis, India and other countries that have been supplying fertilizers to Bhutan have decided to stop doing so.

“However, in spite of the difficulties, they have been supporting us with whatever they could,” Lyonpo said.

“Currently our farmers require roughly around 5,300MT of fertilizers. We have already spoken with a few countries and we are confident that 2,500 MT of fertilizers will arrive soon,” Lyonpo said.

The minister added that Bangladesh has decided to assist the country in providing fertilizers along with other third countries. 

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu