BSS adds: Under world-wide corona situation, Razzaque said fertilizer price has skyrocketed globally at least three times higher and higher fuel price enforced freight charge by nearly two times compared to last year making the situation worse this year.
“We are observing the situation at the international market, but it would be difficult for the government to provide such huge amount of subsidy continuously unless the international price would further drop,” he told the newsmen.
In 2020-21 fiscal year, he said fertilizer subsidy was Tk 77.17 billion while the government has earmarked only Tk 95 billion in 2021-22 fiscal year for subsidy, adding “So, now nearly Tk 190 billion more is needed for providing subsidy to the importers.”
In the current fiscal year, per kg urea import cost shoot up to Tk 96, jumped from only Tk 32 in last year while Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) at Tk 70, up from Tk 33, Muriate of Potash (MoP) reaches at Tk 54 from Tk 23 and Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) at Tk 93, which was Tk 37 in last year.
Under the circumstances, the minister said the government has to pay Taka 82 as subsidy against import of a kilogram of urea while it is Taka 50 for TSP, Tk 41 for MoP and Tk 79 for DAP.
But the prices of these fertilizers at the growers’ level are fixed at Tk 16 per kg for urea, Tk 22 for TSP, while MoP is being sold at Tk 15 and DAP at Tk 16, the minister noted.
Talking about huge amount of subsidy, the agriculture minister said “There is no instance of providing such huge amount of subsidy to the farmers for fertilizer as the amount of Tk 280 billion subsidies could construct another multi-purpose Padma bridge.”
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is providing such huge amount of subsidy for agriculture while different international organizations including the World Bank are mounting pressure to reduce public subsidy for the agriculture sector, he said.
“The fertilizer price has shot up at least three times higher, but the farmers’ friendly government so far didn’t increase the fertilizer price in the internal market,” said Razzaque.
After coming to power in 2009, the government led by the Awami League has provided a total of Tk 888.28 billion as subsidy for agricultural inputs till 2021-22 fiscal year while the BNP provides only Tk 10.95 billion for fertilizer sector in 2005-06 fiscal year.
At present, the government is providing nearly 27 times more subsidy compared to the subsidy provided by the BNP in 2005-06 fiscal year, the minister said.
Criticizing the fertilizer crisis during the BNP-Jamaat regime, the minister said there was extreme crisis of agricultural inputs including fertilizer during the regime of BNP as eighteen farmers were shot dead by the BNP government due to fertilizer crisis in 1995.
But the country never witnessed any kind of shortage of agriculture inputs during the last thirteen years, he added. Fertilizer and other agricultural inputs supply was uninterrupted during the regime of the present government, he said.
The country’s net chemical fertilizer demand stands at nearly 5.8 million tonnes--- 2.6 million tonnes urea, 750,000 tonnes TSP and MoP each and 1.7 tonnes DAP.