The government will buy MOP fertilizer in Canada

Although fertilizer prices have risen due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, the government is in a comfortable position to ensure fertilizer availability for the next fiscal year, an official said. Photo: Mostafa Shabuj

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Fertilizer supply crisis

Although fertilizer prices have risen due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, the government is in a comfortable position to ensure fertilizer availability for the next fiscal year, an official said. Photo: Mostafa Shabuj

Bangladesh is likely to buy most of its muriate of potash (MOP) from Canada and other countries to meet its requirement of 7.5 lakh tons of chemical fertilizer to produce rice and other crops for next fiscal year, agriculture ministry officials said. yesterday, dispelling fears of a shortage due to the war in Ukraine.

The ministry has already awarded contracts to private bidders to procure 2.27 lakh tonnes of MOP from the international market. It has almost finalized the process of purchasing an additional 4 lakh tonnes from Canada under a state-to-state agreement.

“We will face no fertilizer crisis, no chance,” said Agriculture Secretary Md Sayedul Islam.

Bangladesh does not produce MOP although the state factories produce 10 lakh tons of urea and insignificant amounts of triple super phosphate (TSP) and diammonium phosphate.

It imported about 75% of its crop production ingredient requirements from Russia, Belarus and the rest of Canada, Islam said.

The Russian-Ukrainian war, which broke out at the end of February this year, raised concerns amid sanctions against Russia and Belarus over whether farmers would have the MOP fertilizer available to grow rice, potatoes and other crops in the next fiscal year 2022-23 from July.

To secure the supply of fertilizer, the government launched a tender earlier this month.

Bangladesh has consumed more than 55 lakh tons of fertilizer till this fiscal year and has met most of the food production demand from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, China, Lebanon and Qatar, except Canada, Russia and Belarus, Agriculture Ministry officials said.

The main season of fertilizer use starts from November and continues until February when Boro, the largest crop, is grown.

“It is true that fertilizer prices have increased due to the war. However, we are in a comfortable position to ensure the availability of fertilizer for agriculture in the next fiscal year,” said Sheikh Bodiul Alam, Chief deputy of the fertilizer management and supervisory wing at the ministry.

Officials said concern over the supply of MOP was created after the war, as the nation was dependent on Russia and Belarus for ingredients. Sources of supply for other fertilizers remained unchanged.

The Ministry of Agriculture predicts a need of 55.5 lakh tonnes of chemical fertilizers for the financial year 2022-23, although high ingredient prices are expected to increase state subsidy expenditure to provide the inputs to farmers at reduced prices.

The government has allocated Tk 15,000 crore as subsidy for the financial year 2022-23, against a revised allocation of Tk 12,000 crore for the current financial year.

The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that total subsidy bills would amount to Tk 25,000 crore to Tk 30,000 crore in this financial year.

Alam said the state also has a good stockpile of 15.5 lakh tons of fertilizer, including 2.5 lakh tons of MOP.

“There will be no MOP crisis,” said Riaz Uddin Ahmed, executive secretary of the Bangladesh Fertilizer Association, adding that private companies have already taken steps to import about 2 lakh tonnes from Canada and Jordan.

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