Amid DAP shortage, govt lists out priority districts that will get immediate supply of the fertilizer

Government officials admitted that there was a shortfall of DAP at present and the fertilizer was being transported to Punjab almost on a daily basis at the rate of 5-6 rakes.

THE PUNJAB government has drawn up a list of priority districts, where the shortage of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) was major, with officials stating that these areas would be the first to receive supplies of the fertilizer so that there is no panic buying among the farmers.

Government officials admitted that there was a shortfall of DAP at present and the fertilizer was being transported to Punjab almost on a daily basis at the rate of 5-6 rakes.

Punjab requires around 5.50 lakh tonnes of DAP for the Rabi season — from October to March — of which 4.80 lakh tonnes is needed till November 30 for the timely sowing of wheat, and potato crops. While potato is grown in October in the state on around one lakh hectare area, wheat sowing begins from November 1 and goes on till the end of month, with November 1 to November 15 being the ideal time to plant the crop. Around 35 lakh hectares area is dedicated under wheat crop. Punjab’s Doaba region is the only belt in the entire country where ‘seed potato’ is grown and supplied to all potato growing states across the country.

Till November 8, Punjab had received around 2.47 lakh tonnes of DAP and was still in need of additional 2.30 lakh tonnes by the end of the month.

Though wheat sowing has begun almost in the entire state, but as per plans made by the Punjab government, as per the priority list, the seven fertiliser companies will primarily supply 42 rakes of DAP from November 8 to November 14 to 37 places in around 12 districts of the state where it is required on an urgent basis. District wise and subdivision wise lists have been prepared after getting details of the same from the district agricultural offices and cooperative societies so that the supply of DAP can be made accordingly.

IFFCO, IPL, Hindalco, NFL, Mosaic, CFCL, GSFC companies will supply 5, 12, 3, 5,6,6,and 5 rakes, respectively, to these 37 places in the next four days. Apart from this, the companies will also supply more than one lakh tonnes of additional DAP in 35 rakes, which will be transported to various places of the 21 districts of the state from November 15 to November 30. This should, officials estimate, help Punjab meet its DAP requirement for the month of November.

Punjab Agriculture Minister, Randeep Singh Nabha said that the priority list was drawn because they wanted to provide immediate relief to places that were witnessing a severe shortfall of fertilizer. Supply, he said, was coming in on a daily basis.

“For instance, potato crop is grown before wheat. So we supply DAP first to potato growing districts — like Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, and so on, and then focus on the area where wheat sowing takes place first because in many parts of Malwa region the harvesting of paddy is still on and these places will require DAP only in the next couple of weeks. By that time, there will be fresh supply that will be diverted to those regions,” said Nabha, adding that this was a big challenge and it could not have been managed without prioritising the crop-based and the region-wise need for DAP.

“We are hopeful that the state will be able to get the entire 4.80 lakh tonnes of the fertilizer by the end of this month because Punjab has a huge area under wheat crop and its sowing cannot be delayed,” the agriculture minister said, adding that DAP is used at the time of sowing of wheat and potato crops as a basal dose for their growth.

“Late harvesting of paddy has come as a blessing in disguise for the state because it also delays wheat sowing and the requirement of DAP,” said a farmer, Dharminder Singh from Sangrur, who just harvested his crop in October end, adding that he will now sow wheat now in the coming week and by that time he will hopefully get DAP from his village cooperative society.

After meeting this demand, Punjab would be requiring 70,000 tonnes of DAP from December to March 2022, which the state can manage easily, officials said.

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