Shortage of fertilizers hits farmers across the country

By Tandin Dendup

Farmers across the country are facing acute shortages of fertilizers and pesticides due to the prolonged border closure triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

These days’ farmers in Punakha dzongkhag say there is a problem in acquiring the required number of fertilizer and pesticides, especially herbicides as it is time to do weeding of their paddy fields. The farmers in Punakha are facing the shortages in these necessities and say it would affect the yield of their crops.

Kinzang Dem from Talo said that the fertilizer that were stockpiled the previous year have already been depleted as she had shared it with other farmers in her village.

The farmers in Punakha were already facing the problem of water shortage and the unavailability of fertilizers and pesticides has added to their woes. Many farmers say they expected their yields to be very low as compared to previous years as they couldn’t tend to their farms on time.

Owing to these reason, they predict that the harvest this year will be on par or lesser than that of last year. They think that it will be around 20 percent of the harvest that they had the previous year.

The farmers had also pleaded and informed this case to the Agricultural minister but the Ministry could not provide a solution as they are not able to import any of these from India due to the pandemic.

As of today, the farmers of Punakha are worried that it is time for them to get rid of the weed in their fields but due to unavailability of herbicides many have left it unattended. 

Farmers say there is a right time to apply the fertilizers to have a full harvest but due to shortage in fertilizers and medicines, they are not able to do that so this year’s harvest and income would definitely be minimum.

In the absence of fertilizers and medicines, the harvest is not good at all and this leads you to less productivity. 

Likewise, a farmer Sangay Wangmo from Radhi in Trashigang said that since there is no fertilizers to put the paddy field and to fertilize the land and we are worried that our yield would be poor this year comparing to the past years.

β€˜’Due to the lack of fertilizers my maize have already turned yellow and yields are poor.  Moreover, it is the season to grow the paddy and without fertilizer it’s very difficult to grow our rice,” said Tshomo from Tongling.

Like these farmers many across the country are today faced with the problem of not having enough fertilizers and herbicides to tend to their farms. While the agriculture ministry has promised to help, the intervention, if not delivered on time, will be a case of too little too late.

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