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According to agriculture officials, the stock of TSP in the country is 192,000 tonnes while the demand is 114,000 tonnes. The demands of DAP and MOP are 288,000 tonnes and 129,000 tonnes respectively while the supplies are 596,000 tonnes and 312,000 tonnes. What is the reason for the price hike while the supply is abundant? Manipulation of unscrupulous businessmen-dealers is certainly behind this. It is alleged that those unscrupulous persons increase the prices of fertilizer at their will creating rumours that there might be a scarcity of fertilizer. They also use the pretext of transport crisis in some cases for the increase in price.

Agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque on 30 November asked the field level officials to ensure that no one can sell fertilizer at a price higher than the price fixed by the government. He said the license of dealers would be cancelled and other legal measures would be taken if anyone increase the price creating an artificial shortage. The ministry has also decided to monitor the market and conduct mobile courts in the next 15 days.

We had seen previously that there remains an inconsistency between the government’s order and implementation. Many government orders are not implemented at the field level. So, warnings alone would do little and the monitoring needs to be intensified. The authorities have to remain updated about the stock and the amount of fertilizers sold so that the corrupt businessmen cannot increase the price. The unscrupulous businessmen must be brought to book. But the agriculture department alone would not be able to do the task and they would need active cooperation from the upazila and district administrations. The district and upazila authorities should not consider the problem of fertilizer as a problem of the agriculture department alone.

An increase in fertilizer price would not only incur a financial loss to the farmers but also lead them to decrease production. As said by the minister, the transport crisis needs to be resolved soon if it hampers fertilizer production anywhere.

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