Fertilizer Crisis Grips Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

A looming fertilizer crisis is casting a shadow over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), following Punjab, leading to a surge in fertilizer prices, surpassing Rs 5,000 per sack.

Despite the official price pegged at Rs 3,700, the lack of administrative and agricultural department intervention has allowed the price hike, generating an artificial fertilizer scarcity. This unsettling development raises concerns among landowners who fear potential repercussions on this year’s wheat crop.

Arbab Mohammad Jameel, Vice President of the Kisan Board and head of a prominent farmers’ organization, decried the arbitrary actions of fertilizer dealers, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty.

While the government has fixed the fertilizer price at Rs 3,700 per sack, the fertilizer crisis has propelled prices to an alarming Rs 5,200. The designated fertilizer quota for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remains unfulfilled, leaving local farmers grappling with insufficient fertilizer supplies.

Expressing dismay, Arbab Muhammad Jameel highlighted the indifference of district administration and the agriculture department, compounding the fertilizer crisis and directly impacting farmers. This neglect has led to suboptimal fertilizer usage, posing a potential threat to the upcoming wheat crop.

The cause of the fertilizer shortage is unclear, but it is likely due to a combination of factors, including increased demand, supply chain disruptions, and speculation by dealers. The government has taken some steps to address the fertilizer crisis, including increasing imports and launching a crackdown on black marketeering. However, these measures have not been enough to prevent prices from soaring.

The fertilizer crisis is a major concern for farmers, who are already facing rising input costs and other challenges. The crisis could lead to lower crop yields and higher food prices.

The fertilizer crisis echoes in Sindh and Punjab, triggering farmer protests in various districts. The People’s Party, responding to the crisis, has outlined a strategy of consistent protests in Sindh. Allegations have surfaced, suggesting a deliberate attempt to undermine Sindh’s agriculture and placing responsibility on the caretaker government for orchestrating the crisis.