Imbalance in fertilizer use
- January 9, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Imbalance in fertilizer use
Subject : Agriculture
- 2022 saw global prices of fertilisers go through the roof, in the run-up to and post Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
More in the news:
- Prices of all the fertilizers except muriate of potash (MOP) have come down.
- Russia and its neighbouring ally Belarus together account for roughly 40% of global production and exports of MOP.
- The decrease in international fertiliser prices is in sync with movements in world food prices.
- The World food index is a weighted average of global prices of a representative basket of food commodities over a base period value, taken at 100 for 2014-2016.
- Two ambitious schemes of the incumbent government — Soil Health Card and mandatory neem-coating of urea — were supposed to promote balanced use of fertilisers.
- However, far from weaning farmers from urea, the annual consumption of this nitrogenous fertiliser has risen from 30 to 35 million tonnes (mt) in the last five years.
- Urea has 46% nitrogen (N), while DAP contains 46% phosphorus (P) plus 18% N and MOP has 60% potassium (K).
- There is another fertiliser — di-ammonium phosphate or DAP — that is seeing a similar phenomenon of over-application.
- Di-ammonium phosphate or DAP: intermediates/raw materials: Phosphoric acid, ammonia, sulphur and rock phosphate.
Sales of all other fertilisers:
- Sales of other fertilisers including complexes containing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), K (potash) and sulphur (S) in different proportions – have fallen.
- In other words, instead of balanced use of plant nutrients based on soil testing and specific crop requirement, Indian farmers are effectively applying just urea and DAP — both high-analysis fertilisers containing 46 per cent N and P respectively.
- The effects of these – the current NPK ratio is about 13:5:1, as against the ideal 4:2:1 – would ultimately show up in crop yields.
- Plants, like humans, will respond poorly to fertilisers if only one or two nutrients are given in excess.
- Significant improvement in the overall availability of fertilizers except for MOP.
- Significant reduction in the government’s subsidy bill on fertilizers.
Government initiatives to rationalise fertiliser use:
- The Soil Health Card Scheme: The soil health card provides information to farmers on nutrient statusof their soil along with recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
- To issue soil health cards every two years to all farmers, so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
- Neem Coated Urea (NCU): It is a fertilizer and an agriculture scheme is supported by the Government of India to boost the growth of wheat and paddy.
- Apart from the increase in yield, Neem Coated Urea application has other use full effect on paddy and wheat crops.
- Farmers have observed that the incidence of white ants was reduced with the use of Neem-coated Urea in wheat crop. This is because of the fragrance of Neem oil that on dissolution was released in the standing water in the standing water and insecticidal properties of Neem.
- The move will not only benefit the environment and improve farmers’ lives, but curb illegal urea diversion for industrial use.
‘One Nation, One Fertilizer’ scheme:
- Under the scheme, all fertiliser companies, State Trading Entities (STEs) and Fertiliser Marketing Entities (FMEs) will be required to use a single “Bharat” brand for fertilisersand logo under the PMBJP.
- The new “Bharat” brand name and PMBJP logo will cover two-thirds of the front of the fertiliser packet.
- Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) Limited has produced the liquid nano urea.
- It is cheaper than conventional urea.
- 80-85% more efficient.
- It has a shelf life of a year.