Multi-pronged strategy to check malpractices in fertilizer supply chain

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Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said his department was working on various strategies at all levels of the fertilizer distribution network. We know that farmers will have to buy more fertilizer than the fixed price due to the participation of some harmful factors.

 We are strictly dealing with all such factors and have come up with a strategy to ensure that the black market is stopped and the government does not have to pay more than the fixed-rate to any farmer, he told a news conference on Tuesday.

Firstly, the department operates at three levels in the supply chain, where farmers buy fertilizer from retailers, the second floor is between wholesalers and retailers, and the third is between fertilizer companies, dealers and wholesalers, the minister said.

At the level where farmers buy fertilizer directly from the retailer, the retailer is forced to accept payments only through the Point of Sale (POS) machine and hand over the receipt to the buyer, failing which the retail license may be revoked, Bora said.

He said, fertilizer companies are required to provide POS machines to retailers and it is up to the district deputy commissioner to ensure compliance with the directive. Other rules at this first level are that retailers must obtain their retail ID from fertilizer companies, display the price and stock of fertilizers available in their store, and meet specific criteria for obtaining a license as a fertilizer retailer. The Minister said that in the second phase of wholesalers providing fertilizers to retailers, the Central Government requires all transactions through direct benefit transfers, wholesalers and retailers should keep proper stock books and the action does not limit the supply of fertilizers. A special area for the wholesaler.

The third category which involves the fertilizer producer to the wholesaler level, Bora said it’s been observed that the producers don’t supply the fertilizer to the wholesalers at their godowns as is that the rule, which results in an additional cost for the wholesaler in transportation that’s ultimately passed to the farmers.

This has got to stop and therefore the producers need to abide by the rule of delivering the fertilizer to the godowns of the wholesalers,” Bora said. Among other measures at this level is ensuring the availability of fertilizer to every district as per requirement and for railway rack points within the state for even distribution of fertilizers to the wholesalers, he added.

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