Kerala’s plantation sector worries over fertilizer shortage

Kerala tea plantations

Concerns are expressed by the Kerala plantation sector over the unavailability of fertilizers. The industry says it will hit many crops hard in the state. The shortage could also affect pineapple production.

Retailers have excess inventory and they should be more diligent in updating their inventories”- said government officials. There is a severe shortage of urea and MOP (muriate of potash) in tea gardens, which will have a top-down effect on production and further catastrophic impact on the industry which is already going through financial difficulties.

A senior manager at a tea manufacturing company said: “Downtime is affecting the entire tea industry hard, forcing the industry to refrain from applying the necessary nutrients to plants. This in turn will affect agricultural production and lead to less production of plants. In addition, the emerging situation will lead to an increase in production costs, resulting in losses for the producing companies ”. He added “the tea sector needs on average about 200 / kg nitrogen and almost equal quality of potassium per hectare in a year for plant nutrients, but current availability is around 100-120 kg . The government should take urgent action to ensure adequate availability given its impact on the validity of the tea industry.

Santosh Kumar, Executive Director of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd said: “For rubber, the shortage is hampering the application of the required amounts of manure this season. Although the fertilizer requirements of rubber are much lower than those of other crops, availability has been a problem. For the great powers and the plantations, there has been confusion over availability standards as well as serious shortage issues, leading to limited enforcement. Planters have raised the issue with the government and relaxations have been announced. But I don’t think it will be possible to catch up with the narrow window of time available this year in mind. “

Based on the soil and foliage analysis, the average rubber tree plantation applied with manure and the figure can vary between 200 and 300 kg per hectare. By following this method, only 40 hectares could be applied per month and this is a small veterinary area for the rubber sector. The limits were increased after the issue was addressed at all levels. Santosh “The problem stems from the urea shortage and the unavailability of MOP (Muriate of Potash) and DAP (Di-ammonium phosphate). The quantities are insufficient and many states will not be able to apply the required quantities this season.

SB Prabhakar, a planter in Idukki said “The fertilizer shortage has had a marginal impact on the cardamom sector. Since most farmers use complex fertilizers, there has been some shortage. However, due to continuous rains, fertilizer uptake remains minimal. The shortage will be felt when the weather clears up in the next 10 days. ”

The shortage has affected the timely application of manure on pineapple farms that require 18,000 tonnes of urea and 13,000 tonnes of potash on 45,000 acres per year. Availability is now reduced to 50-6 percent. A complex fertilizer change will be more expensive and will affect the quality and quantity of the fruit“- said Baby John, president of the Pineapple Growers Association Keralam.

A senior official in the Kerala Agriculture Directorate admittedly stated that – “there is a shortage in the state due to a global crisis of chemical fertilizers imported into the country and the government is trying to solve it. For example, the urea requirement for October was 20,800 tonnes and the allocation was only 15,770 tonnes, but the quantity supplied was 10,414 tonnes. The demand for MOP was 12,700 tonnes with an allocation of 7,150 tonnes and the supply was 4,840 tonnes.

The official said – “In November, the urea demand was 10,196 tonnes and the allocated quantity was 6,300 tonnes. However, the state has not received a single quantity so far but expected 1,000 tonnes in a few days. Not a single quantity of MOP has been delivered so far this month against a request of 11,678 tonnes and the allocation of 9,000 tonnes. As regards the DAP, the State has known the shortage for a long time. The supply last month was only 541 tonnes against a demand of 1,990 tonnes and the allocation of 1,840 tonnes.. “

He also said “The excess stock position among retailers in the fertilizer system as a reason for the decline in Center allocations and retailers have called on retailers to be more diligent in updating their stock position to resolve the crisis. “

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