Country faces over 0.5m tons fertilizer shortage for Khareef

Post Source: The Nation (July 23, 2009)

LAHORE – The country is facing the fertilizer shortage of over 500,000 tons for khareef crop as currently we need at least three million tons of it for the current season.
This was stated by State Minister for Industries and Production Dr Ayatullah Durrani while talking to the media at National Fertilizer Corporation (NFC) office on Wednesday.
He said the government would establish a strategic reserve of 250,000 tons of fertilizers more than the total demand of the country to avoid its scarcity during the current season.
The minister said that to cope with this shortfall of fertilizer the government is importing the commodity as 400,000 tons of fertilizer had already reached Gwadar and Karachi ports. “Out of this total imported fertilizer, 1,64,000 tons was off-loaded at Karachi port while the rest was reached Gwadar port, he said and added that another cargo of 60,000 tons of fertilizer is also on the way to reach Pakistan.
The minister also disclosed that the PPP government was running a move to give maximum autonomy to the provinces. However, he opposed the idea of creating new provinces, saying that those who are in favour of more provinces and talking about the new ones, actually wanted political mileage from it. Ayatullah said that Punjab would get 70 per cent share of the total imported fertilizer while 20 per cent share of it would go to Sindh, 8 per cent to NWFP and Balochistan would obtained two per cent chunk.
He said a fool proof fertilizer’s distribution network has been established to avoid the hurdles faced last year during the sale of it on government fixed rates. He maintained that the Federal government on the advice of the provincial governments would ensure supply of fertilizer in the areas where it is required.
He said that the NFC had appointed over 600 dealers in the country out of which 439 were in Punjab.
The minister also warned the hoarders to avoid from their immoral tactics and assured that the government would take strict measures to control this trend. He said that NFC officials also had a meeting with the Chief Minister Punjab and assured their full support from their organization and National Fertilizers Marketing Limited (NFML) in meeting the fertilizer requirement of the province.
To a query he said that the Industrial policy would be finalized in a month of two to come. He made it clear that that Balochis are not against Punjab but the province had been neglected during the last 60 years.
He said that there was foreign hand involved in worsening situation more in Balochistan and Prime Minister had conveyed this to India during his recent meeting with his counterpart while Rehman Malik also took up this issue with Karzai.

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