Measures taken to ensure urea availability in Rabi season

ISLAMABAD: The government has taken some measures to ensure abundant availability of urea at cheap rates to the farmers for the Rabi crop.

The demand of urea for the season stands at 3.4 million tonnes and the domestic production during this period will be 2.4 million tonnes with 0.3 million tonnes of leftover urea of the previous season.

The government had decided to plug in the gap between demand and supply through import of 0.9 million tonnes of urea which has already started reaching the ports.

Around 0.2 million tonnes of urea will be off loaded and distributed during November and 0.5 million tonnes during December which sees the demand of urea touching its peak. Natural gas, which is a basic raw material for the production of urea, is acutely insufficient in the country.

Resultantly, the fertilizer sector had to face 2 months closure and curtailment in the gas allocation quota according to the Gas Load Management Plan.

The fertilizer companies couldn’t run on their full capacity, which took a toll on the production of urea in the country.

According to the Gas Load Management Plan for winter 2011-12, the government has decided to provide additional gas to the fertilizer sector and now the fertilizer factories are running at their 80 percent capacity. These factories will produce 2-2.5 million tonnes of fertilizer in November and if the enhanced supply of gas continues in December, they will further produce 5.5 million tonnes of urea.

To further ensure the stability in the prices of fertilizer, the government moved in strongly and asked the fertilizer companies to bring the prices of 50 kg fertilizer bag to Rs 1,580, which had risen to around Rs 1,980.

This was further brought down to Rs 1,480 per 50 kg after the resumption of gas according to the new Gas Load Management Plan. In a bid to discourage hoarding and black marketing, the government has also bound the fertilizer companies to print the retail price on the fertilizer bags.

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