Fertilizer subsidy cut in Union Budget amid price hike leave farmers in distress

P Suresh Babu

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Coimbatore: At a time when fertilizer prices are skyrocketing around the globe due to supply crisis, the Indian government’s decision in the Union Budget 2022 to reduce subsidies on urea and soil nutrient-based (NPK) fertilisers have come as a severe blow to the farmers.

The government too had maintained that fertilizer price in the country is in tandem with the global phenomenon of supply crisis and raw material price hike. However, by reducing subsidies on it, the government in turn is making fertilizer purchase a costly affair for the farmers.

According to the Union Budget 2022, the allocation for fertilizer subsidy is at Rs 1,05,222 crore. In the last year, the allocation was at Rs 1,40,122 crore. In other words, the subsidy has been reduced by 25 per cent.

The allocation for urea which is widely used by farmers is at Rs 63,222 crore. Notably, the previous year’s allocation was at Rs 75,930 crore. That means allocation has been reduced by 17 per cent. Similarly, the subsidy for NPK fertilizers which was at Rs 64,192, was reduced to Rs 42,000. The allocation has been reduced by 35 per cent and farmers will have to spend more on nitrogen, phosphorus and potash.

Farmers are already facing a tough time due to the supply crisis and price hike of fertilizers. In most states, farmers are not able to cultivate the crops on time. The country had to import NPK fertilizers due to a supply crunch in the domestic market, which in turn hiked its prices. The cost of one sack of potash rose by Rs 600.

Though high prices can limit the non-judicious use of fertilizers, they cannot be avoided in agriculture for increasing the yield. The government itself has to intervene for promoting organic farming and to avoid fertilizer induced food poisoning. Also, it should procure the crops at high rates.

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