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Fertiliser Crisis: Transfer Farm Inputs Subsidy Directly to Cultivators, Give Sops for Millet, Pulses, Say Farm Activists

Farmers should be free to use such input subsidies to spend on any kind of fertiliser - synthetic or natural,” says the open letter.
fertilisers in India Ukraine War

New Delhi: Amid the current fertiliser crisis that is likely to continue beyond this Kharif season, too, more than 30 organisations and concerned individuals working in the agriculture sector have written to the government with proposals to overcome the shortage.

In the open letter to the Agriculture Minister and Secretaries of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare as well as Chemicals, and Fertilisers departments, organisations such as the Jai Kisan Andolan, the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture and the media outlet RuralVoice.in, among others, has suggested that the farm inputs subsidy be directly credited to the accounts of cultivators, among other things.

“Farmers should be free to use such input subsidies to spend on any kind of input they wish - synthetic or natural,” says the letter.

Also, the cash amount should be pegged to inflation and increase in proportion to the rising costs every year.

Pointing out that since the Green Revolution, India has been a massive consumer of synthetic fertilisers, as the hybrid crop varieties introduced during this period required synthetic fertilisers for nutrition to achieve their advertised yields.

“This has resulted in lower soil organic carbon content, lowering the 'use efficiency' of synthetic fertilisers. As a result, farmers are using increasingly higher doses of synthetic fertiliser each year to achieve the same yields. This increases the need of synthetic fertilisers in order to ensure apt and profitable yields,” said the letter.

Taking in the current and Immediate fertiliser crisis, there is a serious lack of availability and, as a consequence, high prices for many synthetic fertilisers, as farmers walk into Kharif 2022. The reasons for the triple hike in the prices of synthetic fertilisers from the last two years are many, including the spike in prices of natural gas, Covid-19 restrictions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, etc.

The signatories of this letter believe that immediate action is most important and these actions will define how the country's farmers will spend the current year.

The letter also proposes diversification, such as growing more millets and pulses, and increase in procurement of crops apart from rice and wheat.

Among other proposals, the letter suggests R&D push toward regenerative agriculture, reduction in GST to 5% on bio-fertilisers.

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