Following concerns expressed by the plantation Industry, the Fertilizer Ministry increased the maximum limit for the purchase of subsidized fertilizers by six times, from 200 bags to 1,200 bags per month per plantation.
The Department of Fertiliser (DOF) issued a note on Thursday increased the maximum limit for fertiliser sales to 1,200 bags per month per plantation. On January 21, this year, the DOF set limits of 200 bags per month per plantation and 50 bags per month for other farmers, in an effort to reduce excess nutrient use and diversion. However, the Department of Agriculture has not changed the purchase limit for other farmers.
The United Planters Association of South India (UPAS) expressed concern, believing that placing a cap on fertiliser sales would harm plantation commodity production and the industry’s competitiveness.
Prashant Bhansali, President of UPASI, claimed that while growing the allotment of subsidized fertilizer is a positive thing, it will not solve the problem of larger plantations not having enough fertilizer.
Bhansali emphasised that subsidised fertiliser allocation should be aligned to the amount of land under cultivation for plantations. This will allow for the wise application of subsidised fertiliser to achieve its intended objective of increasing crop production and its productivity. He also emphasised that in the plantation industry, a one-size-fits-all approach should be prevented.
Depending on the land fertility, the annual fertiliser demand ranges from 24 to 48 bags per hectare. Plantations require fertiliser during specific months of the year, based on rainfall, and thus would not be able to purchase every month.