Nepal reeling under fertilizer shortage as China reluctant to supply it on time

38,500 metric tons of fertilizer stuck in China

Eak Raj Bastola

January 17, 2022


Nepal reeling under fertilizer shortage as China reluctant to supply it on time

KATHMANDU: Nepal faces a shortage of fertilizer as China has been reluctant to supply chemical fertilizer to Nepal as per the agreement.

The northern neighbor, China, which earlier showed a big-brotherly attitude by encroaching Nepal’s land in the Humla district, has come under yet another controversy due to its failure to provide chemical fertilizer to Nepal on time.

It may be noted that China has tightened exports of chemical fertilizers to Nepal by issuing a circular on October 15.

China’s policy to tighten the export of chemical fertilizer on the pretext of “less production” has adversely affected Nepal’s farmers thus creating a crisis.

Due to China’s unilateral decision, the farmers of Nepal are facing an acute shortage of chemical fertilizers.

Farmers cultivating mainly wheat and commercial vegetables are compelled to return empty-handed even after waiting in line for hours at local cooperatives.

According to them, their problem would be addressed if China ensured a smooth supply of fertilizer as per the agreement.

Agricultural Inputs Company Limited had initially tendered for 10,000 tons of urea.

Silk Transport had won the bid to supply chemical fertilizer. However, only 1,465 tons of manure have entered Nepal from China in September 2021, while China has yet to send the remaining 8,535 tons to Nepal.

Nepal had reached an agreement with Chinese fertilizer manufacturer Qinghai Yantianhuan International Fertilizer Ltd. to supply fertilizer to Nepal.

However, due to China’s new policy, the imported goods of Silk Transport have been stuck in various places of China. Similarly, 300 metric tons of manure are stuck at the Tatopani border.

The fertilizer stuck at the Tatopani has not entered Nepal due to China’s unilateral and hesitant attitude towards Nepal.

It should also be noted that the Chairman of the importing company Ramesh Sherpa wrote a letter to the Agriculture Inputs Company on December 6, urging it to take a diplomatic initiative to ensure easy import of fertilizer from China.

Rasuwagadi Border Point, Rasuwa. This is Nepal’s major border point with China, but Nepali traders have been hit hard as their goods are stuck here. (File Photo)

Meanwhile, Silk Transport’s Chief Operating Officer Kalyan Silwal said that they have initiated a diplomatic initiative with China for an uninterrupted supply of fertilizer.

“Smooth import of fertilizer was stopped due to China’s new policy. If China had not introduced the new policy, the fertilizer would have arrived by now,” he told Khabarhub.

The Swiss-Singapore Company was to supply 30,000 tons of urea from China at a rate of US$ 662.25 per ton.

However, after the contract, the price of chemical fertilizer in the international market continued to increase and touch an all-time high.

Apart from Nepal, China’s chemical fertilizers are being exported to India, Pakistan, South American countries and African countries.

In the first eight months of 2021 alone, China exported 10.8 million tons of chemical fertilizers.

In Nepal, the suppliers had signed contract agreements with Agricultural Inputs Company Limited and Salt Trading to import fertilizers from various Chinese manufacturers.

According to the agreement, most of the fertilizers will be imported from China.

However, due to the sudden tightening of export of manure by China, even the companies that reached the Chinese port by ship have not been able to import the fertilizer.

The Ministry of Agriculture has taken a diplomatic initiative after Nepali suppliers complained that even the excrement allotted for Nepal could not come out in the Chinese industry.

China has not yet responded to a letter sent to Nepal asking it to allow the export of manure from its industry and facilitate its export.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Nepal needs 700,000 metric tons of manure annually.

Likewise, a total of 130,000 tons of fertilizer including 60,000 tons of DAP and 70,000 tons of urea is in demand this season for wheat and commercial vegetable farming.

The government had announced in the budget to provide Rs 15 billion for the purchase of chemical fertilizer in the current fiscal year.

Tatopani Border at Sindhupalchowk district. Several trucks have been stranded here due to China’s indifferent attitude. (File Photo)

The Ministry of Agriculture had given the approval to purchase 209,000 tons to the Agricultural Inputs and 100,000 tons to Salt Trading, estimating that it could purchase 309,000 tons of fertilizer from it.

However, only 76,500 tons have been supplied so far.

Although both the companies have started the tender process for the purchase, they have not been able to supply as per the demand.

Officials of the company have been saying that the price of chemical fertilizer has reached a high point in the international market due to China.

Similarly, Nepali businessmen have been in trouble due to China’s reluctance to operate the border.

Businessmen and locals have demanded that the two checkpoints (Tatopani-Khasa and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung) with China have not been operating smoothly for a long time.

The Kerung and Tatopani checkpoints, which were closed after the start of the Covid-19, have not been fully functional.

Even though as many as 250 trucks used to enter Nepal with goods on a daily basis, currently, only 20 vehicles enter Nepal daily through these checkpoints.

According to the Rasuwagadhi Customs Office, 9 trucks are being imported daily from the Rasuwagadhi checkpoint and 11 trucks from the Tatopani checkpoint.

According to the Nepal Trans Himalaya Border Commerce Association, hundreds of trucks loaded with goods have been stranded in China as the Chinese side has not allowed them to enter Nepal.

According to local hotelier Tenzing Tamang, Nepali businessmen have faced problems, and truck owners have also suffered due to China.

They say that the container operators have not been able to pay even the bank interests.

“Up to 200 loaded trucks vehicles used to come from China each day. Currently, not more than 10 trucks enter Nepal,” transporter Arjun Poudel told Khabarhub.

As many as one thousand to 15 hundred trucks are waiting for their turn, and it will take one year for a truck for its turn if China continued to obstruct the border, he adds.

Similarly, local hotel and import-export businessman Cheten Gallpo Lama says, “Tourists have stopped coming, the tourism activities are also minimal. China has been reluctant to open the border.”

Also Read,

Chinese Embassy in Nepal deceives people with fact-twisting claims and tainted voice

Exclusive video: Isn’t this enough to prove how China has encroached upon Nepali land in Humla?

Taskforce report shows border dispute in Humla; suggests forming joint inspection team

China has been reaping a sizeable harvest of political parties’ “nationalism rhetoric” and positive perceptions about China, experts and analysts have said.

Nepal-China border dispute: Study team reaches Humla

Will Deuba government bring back Nepal’s territory encroached by China?

Government forms committee to study border dispute with China

CM Shahi, NC leader Shahi inspect China-encroached territory in Humla

China ramps up intimidation of border findings, sends letter undiplomatically (With full text)

China, Nepali Congress ramp up war of words on border encroachment

I feel threatened for my findings that China encroached land in Humla: NC leader Shahi

Furnish evidence to prove your claim that Nepali land has not been encroached: NC leader Shahi to China

China has encroached Nepal’s land in Humla: Field Report

Evidence shows China has encroached Nepal’s territory in Humla: Lawmaker Shahi

What I saw during my 11-day field visit to Humla