In a regular, normal day, I asked a sane friend of mine a more than sane question, "What is this?". He replied, "This is f***ing bullshit!" Well, when I was listening to a reply by one of the government official regarding shortage of fertilizers I had the same reply written all over my face.
|via Ekantipur :Happy! But for how long?|
Well, the street next to Tri Chandra and ASCOL gets crowded with protest as soon as the petroleum tariff increases. And for our poor farmers who have to toil hard to feed themselves, whose successive generation has never made it to Kathmandu, there's none-not even in a Government college to protest for their cause. It is obvious for the next generation of urban based population to forget agricultural difficulties as much of us haven’t been through the rigors of sweat and mud. It is always difficult to stand for the cause of the poor’s. They cannot put a case in the court as some of our Royalist do to revive the monarchy. They don’t go to conferences like RIO 21 like our caretaker PM has gone to. All they can do is visit neighboring state of India and carry loads double or even triple the weight of their body just to feed their family .A look that the Nepalese themselves are ashamed of seeing when they travel to India. Why this? The answer is simple. Without proper fertilizers the yield from their already limited land is not sufficient to feed throughout the whole year.
The situation is critical in Nepal. Amidst the political turmoil and instability the farmers are set to suffer in future as well. As per the government, there is no way Nepal can import more of fertilizers until next three month fulfilling technical procedure. Well, we defy technical procedure when there is acute shortage of petroleum; we bring it via governmental understanding with India even if there is an outstanding amount of due to be paid. This is because, without Petroleum; Kathmandu and its leaders shall starve. The luxury shall curtail. The pressure is enormous and somehow even if it means standing in long lines the supply is restored. This is not the case with fertilizers. With no connections to the bureaucrats and lobbyist in Kathmandu the farmers have sought to contraband fertilizers from India. That in itself has led to tax evasion and moreover than that the poor farmers are cheated with sub standard fertilizers. Regular lab test has shown these fertilizers of not having the chemicals as they advertise in their packet. The farmers in the hills, they don’t even have access to these smuggled ones as they are far from the border itself.
|And they need to work to feed themselves!|
And of course, we have famines due to issues like this. The government sends second class foodies through costly airways. There the people have to pay more for degraded stuffs. The state has treated them no less than second hand citizens. First the state deprives them of raising their own crops, and later rotten rice is sent to weather the self caused famine. The paddy growers have to face tough competition from Indian counterparts as they have heavily subsidized seeds, fertilizers and other crucial facilities. So, the profit that the well-to-do farmers are doing in Terai is too decreasing. This means the landless farmers who do farming in lease for their 'Mahajans' and 'Jamindars' get lesser of the share and subsequently suffer from food insecurity.
There is little solution to this problem. According to some agricultural experts, the delay in fertilizer supply is due to role of commission in every aspect of the supply system. From immediate buyers to transporters and suppliers all have to pay some commission to the officials. Until the commission is fixed, importing of fertilizers is a far cry. As regard as constructing our own fertilizer industry in Nepal. One report said, a 100 MW of energy to run such industry. That seems to be a distant alternative.
Successive socialist government has ruled Nepal. We have currently a PM who did his PhD based on Marxist ideals that criticize capitalism. However, the truth is they have not been able to defy the principle set by Adam Smith, where he says the workers of poor countries shall work for more hours than workers of rich countries but still they would be much poorer. When some segment of the society raises voice for some limited ethnicities the problem is rather the farmers across all ethnicities are treated as a second class citizens.Hope, the future gets better for more than half of the Nepalese souls!
(most of the statistics belonging to this essay is taken from an article published in The Kathmandu Post)