Minister for home and cooperatives Amit Shah launched the cooperative major India Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative’s (IFFCO) liquid nano-diammonium phosphate (nano-DAP) on Wednesday. Promotion of nano DAP is expected to cut the country’s import dependence on the soil nutrient variety.
IFFCO will sell a 500-ml bottle of nano-DAP at Rs 600, which is less than half of the current price of a 50-kg bag of conventional soil nutrient variety. It will be available to farmers from kharif season 2023.
“With the introduction of liquid nano-DAP, the country’s import dependence on soil nutrients will reduce substantially,” Shah said.
Out of 10 million tonne (MT) of DAP used annually in the country, more than half is imported from West Asia and Jordan.
Shah said that the use of the conventional DAP in crops such as sugarcane and wheat is likely to reduce by 20% with the application of nano fertiliser, while reduction in usage will be around 6% in case of potato.
Currently, the cost of one bag of conventional DAP is Rs 1,350, while the actual cost of a bag is Rs 4,000. The gap between actual cost and prices paid by farmers is borne by the government under the fertiliser subsidy head.
IFFCO has stated that a bottle of nano liquid DAP, the world’s first, will be equivalent to one bag of conventional DAP.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research had earlier recommended provisional release of nano-DAP, following completion of biosafety and toxicity studies. Last month, the agriculture ministry, through a notification included nano-DAP under the fertiliser control order.
IFFCO has set up manufacturing facilities for nano-DAP at Kalol and Kandla in Gujarat and Paradeep in Odisha.
According to an IFFCO official, production of liquid soil nutrient has commenced in Kalol plant and 50 million bottles equivalent to 2.5 MT of conventional DAP will be produced in the current fiscal.
By 2025-26, IFFCO will manufacture 180 million bottles of nano-DAP.
In June 2021, IFFCO had launched nano urea in liquid form as an alternative to conventional urea.
The commercial production of nano urea was commenced on August 1, 2021 by IFFCO and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers. Soil nutrient in liquid form provides nitrogen to plants as an alternative to conventional urea. A 500-ml bottle of nano urea is equivalent to a 45-kg bag of conventional urea.
Imports account for a third of domestic soil nutrients consumption of around 60 MT annually.
Because higher global prices prevailed last year, the fertiliser subsidy rose by 56% to Rs 2.53 trillion in FY23 against Rs 1.62 trillion in 2021-22. The government has estimated the subsidy of soil nutrients at Rs 1.79 trillion in the current fiscal.
In case of urea, farmers pay a fixed price Rs 242 per bag (45 kg) against the cost of production of around Rs 2,650 per bag. The balance is provided by the government as a subsidy to fertiliser units.
The retail prices of phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertiliser, including DAP were ‘decontrolled’ in 2020 with the introduction of a ‘fixed-subsidy’ regime as part of Nutrient Based Subsidy mechanism announced by the government twice in a year.
Out of the total annual fertilizer production 38.4 MT, the cooperative societies have produced 13.2 MT of soil nutrients. “IFFCO alone has produced 9 MT of fertilizers and our cooperative societies like IFFCO, KRIBHCO have made a huge contribution in making India’s self-reliance,” Shah said.