Pakistan to import 300,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser from Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has decided to import 300,000 tonnes of urea from Saudi Arabia and provide maximum subsidy on fertiliser for maintaining prices at the current level aimed at avoiding the impact of fertiliser shortage on agricultural output.

By (From a correspondent)

Published: Sun 10 Aug 2008, 11:47 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:51 AM

Addressing a news conference, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Ahmad Watoo said on Saturday that about 150,000 tonnes of fertiliser from Saudi Arabia would arrive by end of this month. He said it was unfortunate that hoarders and black-marketers were hoarding fertiliser at a time the cotton and rice crops were maturing and international prices of fertiliser were going up.

Pakistan's total urea production is about 4.8 million tonnes against a demand of 5.4 million tonnes, leaving a shortfall of 600,000 tonnes. This provides an opportunity to the middlemen to earn higher profits through black marketing and hoarding because of much higher international prices.

He said due to supply and demand gap and higher price the farmers would use less fertiliser in rice and cottonne crops that would affect the country's agricultural production negatively. He said an inter-ministerial body in consultation with fertiliser manufacturers have decided to provide 50 per cent of total production to the dealers and sell 50 per cent at control rate of Rs625 per 50 kg bag at the warehouses of manufacturing plants.

He said the provinces have also been asked to take immediate steps to ensure supply of fertiliser to the farmers at control rates and take action against hoarders and black-marketers. The imported fertiliser would be flooded in the market to ensure sufficient availability of the product at control rates, he said and added the government was also considering distributing fertilisers through the Utility Stores Corporation and other similar facilities.

He deplored that the previous government under the decentralised system had abolished the magistracy system in the country that used to be an effective system of checking hoarding, black-marketing and illegal profiteering of various commodities but the new government would use district authorities and Tehsildars to take action against fertiliser hoarders.

Watoo said there were sufficient stocks of DAP and other phosphatic fertilisers for coming Rabi crops of Wheat and potato but its prices in the market have increased substantially because of monopoly of a few countries over phosphorus powder. He said the prices of DAP have increased from Rs900-1,000 to Rs2,800-3,100 in the market and the government was providing a subsidy of Rs470 per 50 kg bag. He said the landed cost of DAP could go beyond Rs5,000 per bag but the government has decided to provide maximum subsidy to ensure that DAP prices remain below Rs3,100 per bag.

Pakistan's total production of phosphatic fertilisers is about 700,000 tonnes against annual requirement of 1,300,000 tonnes, leaving a gap of 600,000 tonnes. The prices of phosphorus powder have been increased by countries like Morocco, Egypt and some other producers who were monopolising the phosphatic fertilisers.

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