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Bangladesh - September 11, 2022

Farmers hostage by fertilizer dealers

Country may face food shortage

Special Correspondent: The farmers of the country are facing acute shortage of fertilizer due to the abnormal price hike of different types of fertilizer. The unscrupulous dealers have increased fertilizer prices showing artificial crisis in the market.
Farmers are hostage to fertilizer sellers in Jeevannagar, Chuadanga. BCIC, BADC and retail fertilizer dealers are selling fertilizers at high prices without paying attention to the price fixed by the government. Farmers have to constantly pay more money without getting fertilizer at a fair price. Farmers claim that there is no remedy even after complaining to the Upazila Agriculture Office.
It was seen on the ground, retail fertilizer trader. Aynal Haque is selling urea fertilizer at Tk 1,100 per bag at Tk 1,250 and potash fertilizer at Tk 750 at Tk 1,500 per bag. Apart from this, retail fertilizer traders of the same market, Kalam Hossain, Farooq Hossain, Imran Hossain and Taleb Hossain are selling urea worth Tk 1100 per bag at Tk 1350 and potash fertilizer at Tk 1500 per bag worth Tk 750.
It has been seen that most of the fertilizer traders are not selling the fertilizer at the price fixed by the government. When a stranger goes to a fertilizer shop to buy urea and potash fertilizers, he is told that there is no fertilizer. Fertilizers are being sold at a higher price to known farmers.
Farmers complain that hawk traders sell most of the fertilizers to retailers at high prices in the dark of night.
To ensure that farmers can apply fertilizers on time, the government’s Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) do the marketing of fertilizers to farmers by appointing dealers across the country. As per government rules, one dealer is appointed in each union. Dealerships have been given to those dealers on the condition that they conduct their business in their respective unions. But most of the fertilizer traders have godowns within the municipality.
After investigation, it is known that there are multiple union fertilizer dealers on both sides of Dattanagar road in Jibannagar upazila city. But there is a rule to sell fertilizers to marginal farmers by keeping godowns in the dealers’ union.
Farmers claim that dealers are forcing farmers to buy fertilizers at higher prices by creating artificial shortage of fertilizers through syndicates to earn extra money.
There is a rumor in the area that there is no supervision of the agriculture department in the fertilizer business in Jeevannagar. And since there is no supervision, traders are running their business as they wish. Although there is a rule to sell fertilizers to farmers through cash memos by fertilizer dealers, dealers are not doing it due to high prices.
Apart from that, dealers of BADC and BCIC as well as retail fertilizer traders are selling fertilizers at prices higher than the government fixed prices, but agriculture officials say that they do not have any complaints or sufficient evidence from the farmers. They ask for store sales receipts or proofs.
There are complaints that if any of the buyers ask for the receipt from the fertilizer dealers, they are being given the receipt by mentioning the price fixed by the government. If someone protests, they are not selling fertilizer to him. They say that the allocated fertilizer is over, now what is available has to be bought from outside at extra cost.
Farmer Sufi Alam of Paschim Garkandi village of Raipur Union said, I don’t know if there is any fertilizer dealer in our area. We are forced to buy fertilizer at a higher price from city godowns.
Farmer Golam Rahman of Anantpur village of Andulbaria union said the same thing. He said, we are buying urea at Tk 27 and potash at Tk 30 per kg.
According to Upazila Agriculture Office sources, Aman has been planted on 6 thousand 20 hectares of land in Jibannagar Upazila during the current Aman season. In contrast, TSP fertilizer 200 metric tons, potash fertilizer 225 metric tons, DAP 511 metric tons and urea fertilizer 920 metric tons have been allocated in September. According to the Agriculture Office, there should be no shortage of fertilizers.
Jibannagar Upazila Agriculture Officer Sharmin Akhtar said that if there is a complaint of selling fertilizer at high price, the license of that fertilizer dealer will be cancelled. The upazila’s BCIC and BADC authorized fertilizer dealers and retail fertilizer sellers have already been warned for selling fertilizer at the price set by the government.
Jibannagar upazila executive officer. Ariful Islam said, farmers are the life of the country. If the fertilizer traders hold the farmers hostage and sell them at higher prices, strict action will be taken against the shopkeeper. Regular monitoring of fertilizer market will be done from now. Jail-fine will be imposed in the mobile courts against those who sell fertilizers at high prices. The agriculture sector cannot be hampered in any way.

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