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ISLAMABAD: Despite the government’s repeated claims and directions to the relevant quarters to ensure the availability of the urea fertilizer at the control rate of Rs1,768 per bag the commodity in the market is being sold in the range of Rs2,500 to Rs3,000 per bag, Business Recorder has learnt.

According to the farming community and the relevant officials, the government is providing cheap gas to the fertilizer plants in a bid to ensure the availability of urea fertilizer to farmers at the control rates but the millers and the dealers are heavily fleecing the farmers by selling the commodity on much higher prices.

The federal government is anticipating a 200,000 tons shortfall of urea fertilizer for the ongoing crop season for which the import orders are already placed.

According to Fauji Fertilizer and Deputy Director Agriculture (Ext) Multan, the control price of urea is Rs1,933 of a 50kg bag.

According to Eatsham Mughal, a Multan-based farmer, the fertilizer mafia over the past two years has earned billions of rupees by selling urea and DAP fertilizers at escalated rates. He said that in Rabi season he purchased DAP fertilizer as high as Rs10,873 per bag and urea at Rs4,000 per bag, adding that at present, urea price has reduced to Rs2,500-3,000 but it is still high as compared with the government fixed prices.

Meanwhile, the Fertilizer Review Committee (FRC) which met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production to discuss the domestic production and demand of fertilizers along with pricing, tracking and verification mechanism of fertilizers for Kharif season was informed by the officials that urea was being sold at Rs1,768 per bag.

The representatives of the fertilizers manufacturing industry, dealers, and secretaries of provincial agriculture departments attended the meeting via video link.

During the meeting, heads of agriculture departments told the forum that urea supplies were smooth and uninterrupted countrywide as of now. Producers apprised of a maximum output of urea production by all urea plants. They also appreciated the government’s efforts to provide gas supplies to urea plants.

The forum also discussed the progress on vehicle tracking and verification process by manufacturers and companies that vehicle tracking systems were being enhanced as per directions of the government to ensure smooth delivery of urea across the country.

Provincial governments and agriculture departments were directed to ensure the availability of urea at prescribed prices. The government side of FRC assured the industry that government would address issues pertaining to taxes and outstanding payments to the industry.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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