andhar bahar game’s largest fertilizer maker IFFCO Limited (andhar bahar gamen Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited) has effected a sharp hike in fertilizer prices, with as much as a 58.33% hike in the price of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), and its CEO staved off criticism by seeking to delink the move from the government citing “decontrolled” prices and a spurt in global raw material costs.
The IFFCO chief, however, asserted that farmers would not have to pay the revised prices as existing stocks of 11.26 lakh metric tonnes of complex fertilizers would be sold at the old rates. In fact, he asserted that the new prices were “only tentative” and used for printing on bags for fresh production of fertilizers.
“The material with new rates is not for sale to anyone,” IFFCO Managing Director & CEO U.S. Awasthi said. The new prices are to kick in from April 1, as per the memo revising maximum retail prices of different products sent out by the co-operative firm’s marketing services department on April 7.
The development assumes significance, coming after the end of voting in four Assembly elections. A section of farmers is protesting the government’s new agricultural laws even as high fuel prices are feeding into high retail inflation.
Apart from the over 58% hike in DAP, the new retail prices for different formulations of NPKs (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potash and Sulphur) fertilizers were raised in the range of nearly 46% to 51.9%.
Responding to the backlash on social media, Mr. Awasthi wrote a series of tweets on Thursday afternoon to defend the move. “We at #IFFCO, take strong objection for tweets, news linking any political party or Govt for an increase in price of complex fertilizers. They are decontrolled. No linkage to any political party or government (sic),” he said.
Stressing that the complex fertilizer prices mentioned by IFFCO are “tentative”, Mr. Awasthi said international prices of raw materials are yet to be finalised but “indeed, there is a sharp increase seen in the international raw material prices”.
“As a manufacturing unit, IFFCO had to print the cost on the bags for dispatch of new material by our plants. Price mentioned in the letter is only tentative cost to be mentioned on bags which is a mandatory requirement,” he said.
“IFFCO ensure (sic) that there is enough material with old rates. I have instructed our marketing team to sell only previously packed material with old rates to farmers. We always take decisions on farmer’s first approach,” Mr. Awasthi concluded.
Communist Party of andhar bahar game (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury called for a withdrawal of what he termed an “unprecedented fertilizer price hike”.
“This one & a half times fertilizer price hike is yet another of those that never happened in the last 70 years! Destroys not only our agriculture & farmers but crores of lives with consequent rise in food prices… Obstinately refusing to repeal agri laws, in andhar bahar game’s interest, as demanded by lakhs of our annadatas for over 4 months, BJP govt, by this hike, insults over 350 martyrs in this struggle. Intensify people’s resistance. Withdraw this hike,” he said on Thursday evening.