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Fertilizers: Why is it necessary for the Government to speed up the purchase of urea?

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on May 19 the Executive Branch through DU 013-2022 authorized the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation (Midagri) acquire in an exceptional way in the international market the nitrogenous fertilizer Urea to help farmers with up to 5 hectares of crops in the 2022-2023 agricultural campaign. It provided a fund of S/ 348 million 887,735.

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In June, Agro Rural, the program attached to Midagri and responsible for the tender, launched two unsuccessful calls for a supplier, the first was declared void and the second had to be canceled due to irregularities found by the Comptroller during the process.

On July 12, the entity called a new tender that to date remains on hold, due, once again, to alleged irregularities in the selection of the winning bid.

Importance of urea in agriculture

In this context, What is the importance of purchasing urea for family farming and why should the Government speed up the purchase of fertilizer?

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Laureano del Castillo, executive director of the Peruvian Center for Social Studies (Cepes), maintains that the importance of the purchase of urea is related “With the urgency of having the fertilizer to start the (agricultural) campaign corresponding to this year.”

Well, urea is the main inorganic fertilizer consumed by agriculture in Peru. Our country, in the last 4 years (2018-2021) it has imported a total of 1 million 370,154 tons of this compoundaccording to data from the Directorate of Economic Studies of Midagri.

However, in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, andhe price of this commodity has tripled and prevented small farmers from being able to buy the fertilizer.

production decline

The average budget that farmers with less than 2 hectares devoted to chemical fertilizers went from S/ 306 in 2019 to S/ 961.7 in May of this year. While the general average, including farmers of up to more than 10 hectares, went from S/ 1,142.5 in 2019 to S/ 3,590.7 in 2022according to Midagri estimates.

According to del Castillo, due to the rise in prices, “there are many farmers who have decided not to plant or, eventually, when the urea arrives, to apply less fertilizer than necessary.” He adds that in both cases “It will generate less production.”

The main products affected would be rice, whose dependence on chemical fertilizers is 92%, followed by potatoes (74%), corn (59%), apples (48%), quinoa (41%), among others, according to data from ENA 2019, cited in an article by Cepes.

Indeed, according to Midagri, potato production at the national level would fall 10.7% in 2023 and rice production is expected to contract by 7.5% this year.

It should be noted that in Peru 1 million 047,186 small and medium producers use chemical fertilizers. The figure represents 46.7% of the total, according to the 2019 National Agricultural Survey (ENA 2019).

Source: Larepublica

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