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Himachal Farmers Threaten to Protest Due to Acute Fertilizer Shortage

The Himachal government has been accused by the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS) of enacting anti-farmer policies and decreasing subsidies for agriculture and horticulture.

Shivani Meena
Farmers Protest
Farmers Protest

A joint forum of farmers on Tuesday threatened to begin a protest till the government resolves the acute shortage of fertilizer in Himachal Pradesh. The Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS) has accused the government of enacting anti-farmer policies and cutting agricultural and horticultural subsidies.

"Orchardists are in desperate need of fertilizers," said KSS convener and former Shimla mayor Sanjay Chauhan, "but the government has failed to assure enough and timely supply of the same, pushing fruit producers to buy expensive and low-quality fertilizers from the open market." 

"If the government fails to give fertilizers at a fair rate and in accordance with demand, we will mobilize the farmers and start a stir," the CPI leader stated, stressing that farmers require Potash, NPK 12:32:16, and NPK 15:15:15. 

According to the farmers, the government will give fertilizers every year through the Himachal Pradesh State Cooperative Marketing and Consumer's Federation (HIMFED). The government agency, on the other hand, failed to place orders for the needed number of fertilizers, resulting in a shortfall. "The cessation of subsidies by the federal and state governments has resulted in a huge increase in the price of fertilizers," they explained. 

Last year, 25 kilograms of calcium nitrate cost ₹1,100 to ₹1,250, while this year it costs ₹1,300 to ₹1,750. Last year's price of 1,150 for a 50-kg bag of potash has been raised to 1,750 this year. Last year, the price of NPK 12:32:16 was ₹1,200, but it has already risen to ₹1,750. 

Chauhan further claimed that the Horticulture Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (HPMC) was pressuring farmers to purchase fertilizers and other things in lieu of unpaid debts. "The government is pushing farmers to pay greater rates for inputs than the market." He went on to say, "The government should immediately cease this and pay the arrears." 

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