'Farmers are unwilling to buy such fertilizers, even if it's arranged so that they could get it now and pay for it later'
Around 6,000 tons of urea fertilizers of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) are wasting away for being stored out in the open in front of a warehouse at Shibganj area in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila.
The huge quantity of fertilizer was imported to meet the demands of farmers in Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts, which has a yearly demand of 90,000 tons of urea fertilizer.
According to BCIC, the company had been using a warehouse of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) from 1996, which can store up to 7,000 tons of fertilizers. But currently, 6,000 tons of additional fertilizer which cannot be housed in the warehouse has been stored outside.
On a visit to the area, this correspondent found that fertilizers barely covered with sheets of tarpaulins are kept under the open sky beside the warehouse. Due to this, the fertilizer, which is otherwise in granular form, absorbs moisture, and turns rocky or melts into liquid in the seasonal heatwave, rain and cold, said local farmers.
Workers of the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) said the urea fertilizers have declined in quality for lack of proper maintenance and the absence of adequate warehouse space will cause both farmers and government a financial loss.
Pir Baksh, a fertilizer trader in Thakugaon's Khochabari market, said the stored fertilizer loses its effectiveness, becomes coagulated, and so it becomes hard to sell, and use.
"Farmers are unwilling to buy such fertilizers, even if it's arranged so that they could get it now and pay for it later," Pir added.
Expressing a similar sentiment, Shaheb Ali, a fertilizer trader of Haripur market said the fertilizers stored outside have declined in quality so much that the sacks leak when loaded in a truck.
Mostak Ahmed, a local farmer, said when the weight of urea fertilizers does not match what's inscribed in its sack, it indicates that the quality of the fertilizer has declined, which may affect crop production.
Golam Mostofa, the deputy manager of the warehouse, said 6 acres of land have been allocated to build a new warehouse for storing fertilizers required for the two districts. “The warehouse will be capable of storing 20,000 tons of fertilizer and construction works will begin very soon," added Mostofa.