CHITTAGONG, Sept 17: The crisis of fertiliser in greater Chittagong took a serious turn leading to the failure in achieving the target of Aman production, reports BDNEWS.
Cultivators of Aman in the region are now facing a desperate situation with this acute scarcity of fertiliser in the peak season. Much of the seedlings have become weak for want of the vital fertiliser.
Incidents, clashes, demonstrations and protests over the unavailability of fertilisers are now common scenes in every upazila of the district.
This alarming shortage prompted the ministry of Industries to make special allocation for some 80 tonnes of fertiliser for Chittagong district, which however is a meagre amount against the demand of nearly 12,000 tonnes for the month of September.
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Chittagong recently earmarked 80 tonnes of fertiliser for three southern upazilas of the district.
DAE officials asked the dealers to sell the allocated fertiliser to the farmers under rationing system with direct supervision of block supervisors.
Agronomists admitted that the dearth of fertiliser at the proper time of growing seedling would badly affect production. "The application of fertiliser and subsequent top dressing of seedlings are largely dependent on the growth of plants," said a senior crops specialist.
Though DAE officials identified the month long closure of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd as the lone cause behind the crisis, farmers alleged that it was sale of fertiliser in the black market by the dealers and large scale smuggling of fertiliser to the neighbouring countries led to the unprecedented crisis.
A total of 0.19 million (1.90 lakh) hectares of crops in Chittagong district was targeted for Aman cultivation, but fertiliser crisis will badly affect the target.
"The licence of ten dealers from a total of 148 dealers in Chittagong district have been provisionally suspended for their alleged malpractice and an enquiry committee was constituted to probe into the allegations," a top DAE official told the news agency.
In some areas a sack of 50-kg fertiliser is allegedly being sold at Tk 400 to Tk 500 against the normal price of Tk 240.
DAE officials branded Banskhali, Lohagara, Satkania, Rangunia and Fatikchari as the worst crises prone areas in addition to Moheskhali, Chakaria of Cox's bazar, Feni and Laxmipur districts.
A source linked with the Divisional Anti-smuggling Task Force said that nearly 90 smugglers in nine syndicates of Anwara, Patiya of Chittagong and Teknaf of Cox's bazar districts, and Mangdow and Akiyab of Myanmar are most active in smuggling fertiliser.
The smugglers collect the fertilisers from the dealers of the coastal regions to smuggle those into Myanmar by cargo boats.
The security forces in the last month seized 12 cargo boats loaded with fertilisers worth about Tk 60.0 million (6.00 crore) and arrested 21 persons in this connection.