Senate Panel Orders Action Against Urea Shortage and Hoarding

The Senate Committee on National Food Security and Research has directed relevant ministries to take immediate measures to end the fertilizer shortage in the country.

The committee, chaired by Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah, was briefed on the shortage of urea fertilizer in Sindh and noted that the fertilizer mafia has increased the price of urea per bag by Rs. 2,000.

The committee chair stated that the fixed price per bag is Rs. 3,560, but it is not available in the black market even for Rs. 5,600. On the other hand, DAP has also vanished from the market and the price of Nitrophos has also exceeded Rs. 8,000 per bag

He also stated that the shortage happened because the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) couldn’t approve the summary for urea import in time due to financial constraints and when the ECC meeting approved the summary, a shortage of fertilizer had already occurred.

He noted that during the Rabi season, the demand for fertilizer in the country is 3.33 million tons, and production is 3.37 million tons but despite production being higher than demand, fertilizer is not available which is affecting crop production.

The Interior Minister said that he cannot claim that the smuggling of fertilizer to Afghanistan has completely ended. He also acknowledged that anti-smuggling measures and a crackdown against hoarding were initiated, but the public did not benefit.

Committee members also noted that smuggling and hoarding are taking place due to cross-border mismanagement and governance failure. The committee chairman directed relevant ministries to ensure the availability of urea and present a detailed report in this regard.

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