The provincial government of Punjab is preparing a comprehensive law that will regulate the fertilizer sector as a response to the rampant sale of adultered and fake fertilizers. The new law will introduce stricter punishments for any wrongdoing and regulate the storage, sale, registration, licensing, distribution and use of fertilizers and their materials. The final draft of the law will be put before the cabinet for approval.
Under the proposed regulation, as reported by official sources on Sunday (18 December), storing and selling of the crop nutrient shall be subject to a certificate by the government. The license is supposed to only be granted to those having a minimum qualification equivalent to matriculation and those qualified and trained by the government regarding handling, storage and use of fertilizers after receipt of a training fee. A license will be valid for 3 years and renewable for as many more.
The government will be authorized to cancel the license for violation of the law and fix maximum prices of any fertilizer in unavoidable circumstances. Such prices are to be conspicuously mentioned on each bag, container or pack by the producer or importer. Mixing any particular type of crop nutrient with another type or other extraneous material, storing or selling underweight bags of fertilizer, destroying or altering any price tag attached to any brand of fertilizer will also be classified as a crime.
The fertilizer manufacturers will also have to provide information about the description and actual quantity of each brand of crop nutrient produced and supplied in the preceding calendar month and the actual or estimated cost of production. The dealers will have to share information about the quantity of each brand of fertilizer product received in stocks well as detail of fertilizer products sold on retail basis to the farmers.
The proposed new law proposes a minimum 1 but not more than 3-year imprisonment for the first offence of marketing or producing adulterated, counterfeit and unregistered fertilizer with fine of up to Rs500,000. The punishment for every subsequent offence could lead to an imprisonment of 2 to 7 years.