When the cabinet members and secretaries have been shouting in Dhaka that there is no scarcity of fertiliser in the country, at that very moment, farmers are not getting any fertiliser even after requesting the dealers earnestly. Media reports abound about farmers in Jamalpur, Thakurgaon, Sherpur, Panchagarh and many other districts return empty handed from the fertiliser dealers. In Jamalpur, the farmers even staged demonstrations and blocked road in front of the dealer’s shop.

It is essential for the farmers to get the fertiliser and avail irrigation as they have been preparing to cultivate Aman and Robi crops. The agricultural production would be hit hard if there is lack in any of the two.

A report by Prothom Alo’s Jamalpur correspondent on 7 September says a number of farmers in the district returned empty handed from the fertiliser dealer’s shop. Many even had to wait in queue for hours. The farmers staged demonstrations and blocked road in front of the dealer’s shop as they did not get their required amount.

Jamalpur sadar upazila agricultural officer said against the demand of 2,325 tonnes they have got only 928 tonnes of fertiliser in the upazila.

This is not the picture of one or two upazilas. The reports coming from different parts of the country are worrying. The price of fertiliser was hiked by Tk 6 per kg just a month ago. The farmers have no objections to it. Their main concern is that they will have to stop tilling if they do not get the fertiliser on time and as per the required amount. This would hit the food security hard especially amid the current global situation.

Verbal assurances from meetings in Dhaka will not resolve the problem. Stern action needs to be taken against the dealers who are involved with irregularities in supplying, and selling those at an inflated price or giving less in weight. Such actions are being taken but rather sporadically. But the problem is what would a mobile court do when there is no supply of fertiliser?

Why did the farmers demonstrate when there is no dearth of fertiliser in the country, as the ministers and secretaries claim? That’s why instead of denying acknowledging, the government has to realise the magnitude of the crisis and take actions on time.

Fertiliser is such an element that even its superabundance will not help a farmer if the tilling time passes by. The concerned persons must answer as to why the supply is so small.

There are many questions regarding the government appointed dealers too. Dealership is given to the people who are party’s men and locally influential. Many of such dealers are still living happily even when their dealership has been cancelled due to corruption.

The government has set up mobile courts to curb any market manipulation or taking inflated price from the farmers. The courts have punished a few as well. But these courts would not be much helpful if the supply of fertiliser is not increased.

The people of the concerned departments should visit the field instead of issuing speeches in Dhaka. This would assure the farmers and warn the unscrupulous dealers.

Alongside monitoring the fertiliser market regularly, take steps to increase the supply. This is what needs to be done at this moment.