Experts suggest Vietnamese farmers use fertilizers more efficiently and effectively
Dec. 15, 2011
At present the efficiency was lower than 50 per cent, meaning that more than half the fertilisers used in fields remained in the soil, which could have serious fertility impacts in the future, said Truong Hop Tac of the Crop Production Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Le Quoc Phong, general director of Binh Dien Fertiliser Company, said results of studies already done on fertiliser use need to be applied to increase efficiency. He also called for increased application of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to reduce production costs and increase profits for farmers.
Inefficient use of fertilisers also necessitated greater imports because domestic production could not meet current demand, Tac said.
Viet Nam will need to import about 2.63 million tonnes of fertilisers next year. Domestic production of 7.25 million tonnes can only meet 73 per cent of the estimated demand for 9.88 million tonnes in 2012.
The country produced 5.64 million tonnes of fertilisers and imported 3.63 million tonnes this year, up 5.9 per cent and down 2 per cent over last year respectively, Tac said.
He said that despite strong fluctuations in the domestic fertiliser market this year, the industry still ensured supply at reasonable prices to farmers, greatly contributing to improved productivity of rice and other crops.
Tac said the country had to import 100 per cent of its SA (sulphate) and kali needs since it did not produce these two kinds of fertilisers.
It also lacks other kinds of fertilisers including nitrogenous fertilizer, DAP, kali, SA and sulphate, and it needs to keep importing the products.
For instance, it planned to import about 250,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser, 650,000 tonnes of DAP and 100,000 tonnes of NPK next year.
Nguyen Hac Thuy, permanent deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association, said there were still many intermediate levels involved in the fertiliser distribution system, pushing up prices for farmers.
Businesses should make the direct distribution system more efficient in order to help farmers and bring greater stability to the domestic fertiliser market, Thuy said.
Tac said the Phu My Urea Fertiliser Plant has been asked to maintain a minimum of 70,000 tonnes of urea in stock to prevent supply shortages and price hikes.
Nguyen Tien Thoa, head of the Ministry of Finance’s Pricing Management Department said balancing supply and demand would be the most important factor in stabilising fertiliser prices in the domestic market.
Thoa suggested that relevant ministries co-operate with the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association to make more accurate forecasts of supply and demand, and closely monitor prices in local and international markets so that enterprises can be given sound advice about when and from where to import the needed fertilisers.
Relevant agencies and local authorities also needed to strengthen inspection of fertiliser companies’ registered selling prices to deal with trade fraud and speculative activity aimed at raising prices, he said.
More checks were also needed to prevent the sale of poor quality fertilisers, Thoa said.
Vo Van Quyen, deputy head of the Market Management Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said authorised agencies would strengthen inspections of fertiliser companies, especially small ones, at all stages, from production to distribution, and strictly punish those producing substandard or fake fertilisers.
He advised farmers to read carefully the information provided on products and purchase fertilisers only from reliable shops to avoid the use of fake products.
Phung Ha, head of the Chemicals Department under MoIT, said under the industry’s development plan, the country targeted the use of advanced technology to produce high quality fertilisers.
Thoa noted that the Government would gradually reduce current subsidies on coal and gas prices for fertiliser production to create a competitive market, so enterprises had to prepare to meet this challenge.
An oversupply situation of urea fertiliser could arise next year when the Ca Mau and Ninh Binh urea fertiliser plants become operational, raising output to 2.23 million tonnes, said Nguyen Hong Vinh, deputy general director of the PetroVietnam Fertiliser and Chemicals Corporation.
By then, urea production would not only meet local demand for agricultural production, the industry could export between 200,000-300,000 tonnes a year, he said.
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