Police and Growers Clash Over Fertilizer

September 7, 2012 08:59 AM

Fertilizer prices in India have skyrocketed over the past three years and farmers are struggling. Supplies have been short in recent years - in fact, last year's fertilizer disbursements came up 15 tons short, and growers this year are growing restless.

India imports 100% of its potash and around 90% of its phosphate and the Indian government had subsidized fertilizer purchases since 2010. But those subsidies were slashed in March by around 20% in an effort to cut government spending. The only subsidy intact at present is for urea, which is India's preferred nutrient.

As application season draws near, supplies are very tight and reports are surfacing of police using batons to quell unrest at co-ops. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, fertilizer is being disbursed directly from a police station to minimize the potential for violence and theft.

With subsidies on the outs, fertilizer supplies dwindling, and a struggling national economy, farmers in India may have a tough time going about the business of farming.


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