Fertilizer review board decides to import 0.2m tonnes of urea – Breaking News – The Nation
ISLAMABAD – The fertilizer review committee on Monday decided to import 0.2 million tonnes of urea to fill the gap before demand peaks in June during the Kharif planting season.
Minister of Industries and Production Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mahmud chaired the meeting of the fertilizer review committee. The meeting discussed the national production and demand of fertilizer for the Kharif season. The President was informed that the projected national production of urea would be 3.2 MMT from April to September 2022, while the probability of urea withdrawal would remain at 3.4 MMT during the same period. The forum was also informed that there would be a 2% increase in agronomic demand for fertilizer this year. It was noted that urea sales increased by 17% last year.
The forum noted that a significant portion of urea demand would be met domestically, however, a summary for 2 lac ton urea import would be placed to fill the gap before demand peaks in June. during the kharif sowing season.
In order to curb hoarding and profiteering, leading to smuggling of urea across the border due to the high price gap, the body decided to take strict measures in cooperation with law enforcement, the FBR and the Ministry of the Interior to thwart cross-border urea trafficking.
Addressing the meeting, the minister said that the government had prepared to ensure steady, adequate and timely supply of key soil nutrients to farmers during the Kharif season and decisions would be made accordingly. He said the government will do all it can to provide urea to farmers at affordable prices in a timely manner.
The forum also discussed the recent rise in urea prices from Rs. 1768/bag to 1933/bag on average, while Engro had hiked prices up to Rs 2017/bag of urea despite the fact that the government provides gas (constituting about 80% of the price of urea) at subsidized rates. The industry responded that prices had increased due to the financial cost of holding inventory and waiting for subsidy payment and reimbursements from the Treasury. The ministry noted that the government has the option to conduct a forensic audit which could be exercised if urea prices continue to rise during the Kharif season.
The Minister assured that the government would fix the issues related to payments and urged the industry to rationalize prices immediately to support farmers. Participants at the meeting included representatives from the fertilizer manufacturing industry and officials from the Finance Division, Petroleum Division, Ministry of Food Security and Research as well as officials from the provincial departments of farming.