Agri Business

Seeds, fertilisers stuck in transport logjam

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on April 09, 2020

Madurai, Tamil Nadu, 10/01/2020: Fertilised beeing unload at Anaiyur goodshed, s.krishnamoorthy   -  TAMIL

Despite exemption, agri sector faced big setbacks in first 10 days of lockdown

The kharif season is on the horizon but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a noticeable disruption in the production and transportation of major agriculture inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. Despite agriculture being exempted from the lockdown, the sector faced a major setback in the first 10 days.

US Jha, Chairman of Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals, told BusinessLine that the lockdown is impacting fertiliser production in the country. In certain pockets, it has resulted in a temporary shortage of urea. In spite of fertiliser having been labelled an essential commodity, the manufacturing plants are not running to full capacity due to reduced workforce. Only critical areas in the plant, which requires continuous processing, are fully operating, he said.

Fertilisers stuck

Jha, who is also the former CMD of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, said the movement of fertilisers has also affected as bags required for packaging the fertiliser are not available in sufficient quantities at the plants due to the restricted road transport. The factories manufacturing polyfibre bags for the packaging are located far away from the plants. Due to this shortage, fertilisers are getting accumulated in the storage silos.

Jha added that the plants need to fully gear up by May 15 for supplying fertilisers for the forthcoming kharif season as the demand for fertilisers peak in June and July.

The other major input for agriculture is pesticides and insecticides. They are also facing headwinds due to the dependence on China and other countries for imports.

RK Malhotra, Group CEO of Modi Enterprises, which has business interest in chemicals said that many agrochemical companies globally have a large dependence on China for raw materials. Such companies are expected to face the greater impact of disruption in supply.

The Director General of the Federation of Seed Industry of India, Ram Kaundinya, told BusinessLine that so far the impact has been limited.

Since the cotton season is about to commence, seeds companies were worried about the availability of seeds. However, the Railways are helping in transporting the seeds, he said.

Published on April 09, 2020

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