India will not need to import urea by 2025-end as the domestic production of conventional urea and nano liquid urea is expected to be sufficient to meet the country's annual demand, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.
At present, the country's urea (conventional) production is 260 lakh tonnes, while around 90 lakh tonnes are imported to meet local demand.
"As per our estimate, we will be self-sufficient in urea by 2025-end and there will be no import dependence. Our domestic production of conventional urea and nano urea will be more than the demand," he told reporters here.
The minister said around 60 lakh tonnes of production capacity will be added for conventional urea, while the output of nano urea is estimated to rise to 44 crores bottles (of 500 ml each) per annum, which will be equivalent to 200 lakh tonnes of conventional urea.
Mandaviya said the adoption of nano urea by farmers has been very encouraging and highlighted that the liquid nutrient is effective for maintaining soil health as well as for increasing crop yield.
According to a ministry official, the government will save foreign exchange of about Rs 40,000 crore per annum due to a reduction in imports.
One bottle of nano urea is equivalent to one bag of urea. Its application can effectively lead to a reduction in soil, water and air pollution which happens due to the overuse of chemical fertilisers both at production and consumption levels.
At present, the capacity of nano urea is 5 crore bottles per year.
Co-operative major IFFCO has introduced innovative nano urea in the market. The commercial production started on August 1, 2021, from IFFCO's plant at Kalol in Gujarat.
Seven more nano urea plants are being set up by IFFCO as well as two state-owned firms RCF and NFL. IFFCO has transferred the nano urea technology to these two public sector undertakings free of cost.
On demand of nano-urea, the official said the total despatch of nano urea was 3,90,03,284 bottles and sales of 2,87,25,822 bottles between August 2021 and June 2022.
Nano urea has been sold across various states. As many as 3,36,456 bottles have been exported as well.
Explaining the benefits, the official said that nano urea is eco-friendly as it leads to less soil, air and water pollution. It is also safe for humans, flora and fauna.
"Due to targeted foliage application, there is no wastage of nano urea," the official said, adding that the product is cost and energy effective.
Nano urea will lead to an increase in farmers’ income on account of a reduction in input cost, higher crop yield and better price in view of better quality crops.
It is estimated that average Rs 4,000 per acre increase is estimated in the income of farmers by using nano urea.
The use of nano urea will reduce the transportation cost and will benefit small farmers immensely.
On the overall fertiliser subsidy bill, the official said it is estimated to rise at about Rs 2.5 lakh crore this fiscal from Rs 1.62 lakh crore in the previous year.
The subsidy of urea alone is seen at about Rs 70,000 crore this fiscal year. The maximum retail price (MRP) of urea is fixed at Rs 267 per bag of 45 kg each, while the subsidy per bag is Rs 2300 currently.
IFFCO is selling nano urea at Rs 240 per bottle of 500 ml.
The government is making available fertilisers, namely urea and 25 grades of P&K fertilisers to farmers at subsidised prices through fertiliser manufacturers/importers.
Under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) scheme, which is being implemented since April 2010, a fixed rate of subsidy (in Rs per kg basis) is announced for nutrients namely Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P), Potash (K) and Sulphur (S) by the government on an annual basis.
The subsidy rates per kg for the nutrients N, P, K, and S are converted into per tonne subsidies on the various P&K fertilisers covered under the NBS.
In the case of urea, the Centre fixes the maximum retail prices and reimburses the difference between the maximum retail price and production cost in the form of a subsidy.