China helps Nepal on fertilizer supply as India fails to deliver
Published: Nov 23, 2021 10:32 PM
A fertilizer workshop in Yongzhou, Central China's Hunan Province on March 25, 2021 Photo: VCG

A fertilizer workshop in Yongzhou, Central China's Hunan Province on March 25, 2021 Photo: VCG

Chinese companies are supplying more than 15,000 tons of fertilizer to Nepal and Chinese diplomats helped getting the desperately-needed material through border checks to help Nepali farmers, Chinese and Nepali officials told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Nepal's increasing purchasing of fertilizer from Chinese suppliers also come as it reportedly seeks more supplies from India, which is also facing a shortage on its own, highlighting India's limited capacity to fulfill its pledges, analysts noted.  

Amid the surging demand, more fertilizer imports from China could be expected, the Nepali Embassy in China told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Kaushal Kishor Ray, chargé d'affaires of the Nepalese Embassy in Beijing, said that Nepal plans to import more chemical fertilizers from China.

"A contract has already been inked to import around 15,000 tons of fertilizer from [Northwest China's Qinghai Province]... if the Chinese manufacturers would meet the required standard and offer competitive prices, they will have a huge market [in Nepal]," Ray said. 

The Nepali Embassy is coordinating with relevant authorities in China for smooth transportation of the fertilizer to Nepal, as there is a heavy backlog of shipments at the China-Nepal border, according to the embassy.

The Chinese Embassy in Nepal told the Global Times on Tuesday that the embassy assisted Nepal to communicate with authorities in Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region and sought priority clearance of fertilizers purchased by the Nepal from China at the border.

Nepal needs 750,000 to 800,000 tons of fertilizer during the planting season. But in the past few months, the average price has skyrocketed from $670 per ton to $948, driven by demand, according to media reports. Nepali farmers are facing fertilizer shortages this year, Nepalese media outlet Republica reported.

"Actually, there is no so-called shortage of fertilizers in Nepal as mentioned in the report... it is the combination of price and quality that makes Chinese manufacturers favorable sources for Nepal," Ray said.

Chinese companies are also seeing the rising demand from Nepal. 

"The demand for chemical fertilizers at home and abroad increased sharply in September and October. Overseas, that was especially true of Nepal, and the number of overseas inquiries is high," a sales manager of a chemical fertilizer company in Xizang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

A source at a large fertilizer export company in East China's Shandong Province agreed, saying that it had received export orders from Nepal.

Overseas fertilizer orders have increased since the beginning of 2021, the source said, noting that the company is very willing to provide support in response to Nepal's market needs if the conditions are met.

Nepal's increasing purchase of fertilizers from China also comes as it has been seeking supplies from neighboring India. The Kathmandu Post reported on Tuesday that Nepal was set to sign a five-year fertilizer supply deal with India, which covers 30 percent of Nepal's annual demand. 

Apart from the limited supply, India also faces a shortage problem. In India, contract pricing for the nutrient potash soared by 59 percent to $445 per metric ton, Bloomberg reported on Saturday. Some Indian farmers lined up at night to buy fertilizers due to tightening supplies, per media reports.  

China, which has maintained strong and stable supply chains amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is a reliable fertilizer supplier, Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of the Research Center for China-South Asia Cooperation at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"India is very likely to satisfy its own needs before supplying Nepal, even though India always said it is Nepal's 'big brother'," Liu said.