Political turmoil in Bangladesh disrupts fertilizer supply during critical agricultural season

The ongoing political disturbances in Bangladesh, marked by a series of general strikes and blockades orchestrated by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its affiliates, have thrown the nation’s shipping operations into chaos. This turmoil is significantly disrupting the supply chain, particularly at ports across the country, resulting in widespread complications.

For over two weeks, with only brief pauses, these strikes have persisted, driven by the opposition’s demands for the current government’s resignation and the call for a non-partisan caretaker government to oversee the forthcoming general elections. The effects of this unrest are particularly acute in the transportation sector, where the continuous blockades are severely hindering the movement of essential goods.

Amidst these disruptions, the agricultural sector faces a looming crisis. The current political situation is critically impacting the transport of fertilizers, a vital component for the Boro season—a key period for dry-season irrigated rice cultivation, spanning from December to early February, with harvests between April and June. The season’s success hinges on the availability of approximately 1.7 million metric tonnes of fertilizer. However, the ongoing blockades threaten to create a shortfall in the number of trucks required for efficient fertilizer distribution, potentially leading to significant setbacks in agricultural production.

In response to these challenges, the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) is urgently seeking collaborative efforts to ensure a steady supply of fertilizers during these politically challenging times. The BCIC has appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, and Deputy Commissioners across the nation, advocating for innovative and immediate solutions to circumvent the disruptions caused by the strikes and blockades. Their collective goal is to mitigate the potential agricultural crisis and secure the timely provision of fertilizers for the crucial Boro season.

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