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Bundelkhand: Farmers Protest Against DAP Shortage Amid Peak Rabi Season

"If adequate supply is not ensured at the earliest, our protest will continue like this,” Vimal Sharma, president of Bundelkhand Kisan Union told NewsClick.

Image for representational purpose. Credit: Gaon Connection

Lucknow: A group of farmers affiliated to the Bundelkhand Kisan Union on Friday held a Kisan Samridhhi Padyatra in Mahoba, Banda and Chitrakoot against an alleged inadequate supply of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertiliser. The protest comes after farmers were seen waiting in long queues in the Bundelkhand region to get the DAP. 

A long chain of bullock carts was part of the seven kilometres long procession. Aggrieved at the inadequate supply of fertilisers, farmers blocked the main road in Mahoba and Banda and raised slogans to mark their protest, although their agitation lasted only for half an hour. The farmers lifted the blockade after assurance from the district administration.

The farmers handed over a memorandum of all their demands to the SDM. Bundelkhand Kisan Union demanded an investigation and action as they alleged the involvement of officials in supplying spurious fertiliser. 

"There is a shortage of DAP. If adequate supply is not ensured at the earliest, our protest will continue like this,” Vimal Sharma, president of Bundelkhand Kisan Union told NewsClick.

He said due to the "shortage" of DAP fertiliser amid Rabi season, farmers have to wait for hours daily in front of the offices of cooperative societies and outlets of private dealers to get the fertiliser.

Some farmers allegedly forcibly took over 100 bags of DAP fertilisers lying outside a shop of a private dealer in Banda district’s Atarra town a few days ago.

The protesting farmers alleged that farmers in these districts are running out of time to sow wheat as the peak time to sow is between October 25 and November 15. Notably, per acre, 55 kgs of DAP fertiliser is required to sow the crop.

"I need the DAP fertiliser to sow wheat on my two-acre land, but it is not available anywhere in Banda district," said Yaduveer, a farmer from Mahoba, while speaking to NewsClick.

Meanwhile, the state government has maintained that there is no shortage of fertiliser. 

Last week, Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi had claimed that there is no shortage of DAP fertiliser in the state and added that black marketeers are trying to project an artificial shortage. 

"With the Rabi season in full swing, farmers in the Bundelkhand region are running from pillar to post to get a packet of fertiliser for their farm yield. If the situation does not improve in a week, we will block the main highway," a distraught farmer in Banda told NewsClick.

Last year, the shortage of DAP turned deadly in the Lalitpur region, where at least five farmers died in a week while desperately trying to get their hands on bags of fertilisers. 

Prem Singh, an agriculture expert based in Banda told NewsClick that farmers in Uttar Pradesh have been facing an acute fertiliser crisis amid the peak harvesting season. “With patience running short, some of them staged a road blockade, while some others resorted to looting bags of fertiliser after demand exceeded supply at local markets in the Bundelkhand region,” he said.

Alleging black marketing, Singh described how a Rs 1,200 bag of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) was currently being sold at Rs 1,450 to Rs 2,000 per sack.

"Rabi season has commenced and there is a huge shortage of DAP not only in the Bundelkhand region but in the entire state and farmers are being forced to stand in long queues. It’s a double whammy for farmers amidst the prevailing power shortage,” added Singh, accusing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of being anti-farmer. 

Sadhu Saran of All India Kisan Sabha, based in Deoria, told NewsClick that the situation is the same in the Purvanchal region. A never-ending queue can be seen anywhere in Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria and Ballia. 

"There is desperation among farmers for DAP and the IIFCO varieties of fertiliser. These fertilisers are not available, even though the sowing of wheat, winter maize, pulses and oilseeds is underway. During monsoon, the farmers suffered devastation due to excess rain, floods and waterlogging, and now there is a scarcity of fertiliser. The state government is not paying heed towards the farmers' grievances. If the government does not intervene in time, farmers will lose everything," he said. 

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