Decision to shut Patuakhali fertilizer warehouse creates uncertainty over timely supply to farmers
Supply of fertilizer among dealers from the godown in Laukathi area of Patuakhali has been suspended due to the dilapidated condition of the warehouse. The closure of the godown has raised concerns about the timely delivery of fertilizer from Barishal to Patuakhali at the farmers' level disrupting the current Aman cultivation and production.
Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) has written a letter to the deputy commissioner (DC) of Patuakhali to instruct the local dealers to bring fertilizer from the Bangladesh Fertilizer Association (BFA) godown in Barishal.
Meanwhile, the dealers have also sent a letter to BCIC chairman not to shut the godown here considering the farmers' interest.
However, BCIC's General Manager (Marketing) Md Manjur Reza in the letter on June 24 stated that the fertilizer godown in Patuakhali is old and unusable. Although the Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Factory Limited (CUFL) took initiative to repair the warehouse, it has not been possible to repair it and make it usable. Therefore, it has been decided to supply fertilizer to Patuakhali dealers from the BFA warehouse in Barishal.
Later, the DC on July 8 formed a three-member committee headed by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) GM Sarfaraz. The other two members of the committee are AKM Mohiuddin, deputy director, Department of Agricultural Extension and Mashiul Islam, Patuakhali godown in-charge. The committee monitored the overall condition of the warehouse and submitted a report with recommendations on July 28.
The report stated that some parts of the godown are flooded after heavy rains because of the leakage in the roof and the godown will be usable for a few more years if it is repaired. The estimated cost for the repair work is Tk 31.87 lakh.
The report also mentioned that Aman has been cultivated in 2 lakh hectares of land in the district. Disruption in the supply of fertilizers will adversely impact the production of Aman.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Fertilizer Association (BFA) Patuakhali unit president Golam Sarwar and general secretary Nurul Amin have written to the BCIC chairman not to shut down the godown.
Golam Sarwar said there are 78 fertilizer dealers in the district. For the last 14 years, the dealers have been supplying fertilizer from the local godown. But now bringing fertilizer from Barishal will not be cost and time effective. Dealers in Patuakhali will suffer more to extract fertilizer from there.
Shahidul Islam, a fertilizer dealer in Patuakhali, said, "I deposited money in the bank for extracting fertilizer from Barishal warehouse four to five days ago but I have not been able to extract fertilizer from there yet."
Nurul Amin, a dealer of Barabaishadia union in Rangabali upazila, said the upazila is an isolated one. There is no alternative way to get fertilizer without waterways. Time and cost of fertilizer extraction will increase in case of Barishal warehouse and timely delivery of fertilizer to farmers will become uncertain.
According to the fertilizer godown, 18,062 tonnes of fertilizer were supplied to dealers from July 1 last year to June 30 this year. In August, 4,700 tonnes of fertilizer was allocated. Of them, 75 percent came from Barishal and 25 percent from Patuakhali warehouse. The supply of fertilizer to the Patuakhali godown finished on August 23.