India To Stop Importing Urea By 2025 End: Mansukh Mandaviya

The minister highlighted that the government has revived four closed urea plants and is reviving one another factory. 

India To Stop Importing Urea By 2025 End: Mansukh Mandaviya File Photo

New Delhi: India will by the end of 2025 stop importing urea as a massive push for domestic manufacturing has helped bridge the gap between supply and demand, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said.

In an interaction with PTI, the minister noted that the availability of fertilisers is very important for Indian agriculture. He said the country has been using chemical fertilisers for the last 60-65 years to enhance crop production. Now, Mandaviya said, the government is making efforts to promote alternate fertilisers like nano liquid urea and nano liquid di-ammonium phosphate (DAP). (Also Read: Apple Laid Off Over 600 Employees As Car, Smartwatch Projects Stopped)

"Use of alternate fertilisers is good for crops and soil health. We are promoting it," he said. Asked about achieving self-sufficiency in urea production, Mandaviya said the Modi government has adopted a two-pronged strategy to end dependency on urea imports. (Also Read: RBI To Soon Launch App To Enable Retail Investors To Participate In Govt Bonds)

The minister highlighted that the government has revived four closed urea plants and is reviving one another factory. He noted that India needs around 350 lakh tonnes of urea annually to meet domestic demand. Mandaviya said the installed domestic production capacities have been increased to around 310 lakh tonne from 225 lakh tonne in 2014-15.

"At present, the gap between annual domestic production and demand is around 40 lakh tonne," the minister said. Mandaviya said the annual domestic production capacity of urea would reach around 325 lakh tonnes after the commissioning of the fifth plant and the target is to replace the use of 20-25 lakh tonne of conventional urea with nano liquid urea.

"Our agenda is very clear. By the end of 2025, Modiji will end the country's import dependency on urea," he said while asserting that the import bill of urea would become zero. According to the government data, imports of urea fell to 75.8 lakh tonne in 2022-23 from 91.36 lakh tonne in the previous year.

Urea imports stood at 98.28 lakh tonne in 2020-21, 91.23 lakh tonne in 2019-20 and 74.81 lakh tonne in 2018-19. Mandaviya highlighted that the Modi government in the last 10 years has ensured an adequate supply of fertilisers for the agriculture sector.

He said the Centre also protected Indian farmers from a sharp rise in prices of fertilisers in global markets by increasing the subsidy on key crop nutrients. For 2024-25, the government has allocated a fertiliser subsidy of Rs 1.64 lakh crore as against the revised estimates of Rs 1.89 lakh crore for the 2023-24 fiscal.

In 2022-23, the fertiliser subsidy had shot up to Rs 2.55 lakh crore. Last month, Mandaviya had informed that India's conventional urea consumption is estimated to have declined 25 lakh tonne during the last fiscal on increase in demand of nano liquid urea and the government's efforts to discourage the use of chemical fertilisers.

Urea consumption stood at 357 lakh tonne during 2022-23. Cooperative organisation IFFCO had launched nano liquid urea a few years back. It has also provided technology to some other companies to set up nano urea plant.

A total of 7 crore nano urea bottles (of 500 ml each) have been sold during the August 2021 and February 2024 period. One bottle of nano urea is equivalent to one bag (45 kg) of conventional urea.

The government has also launched 'PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth' (PM-PRANAM) scheme to incentivise states and Union Territories (UTs) to promote the usage of alternative fertilisers and balanced use of chemical fertilisers.

Under the Urea Subsidy Scheme (USS), urea is provided to the farmers at a statutorily notified Maximum Retail Price (MRP). The difference between the urea MRP and the production cost is being paid to manufacturers.

Besides, under the Nutrient Based Subsidy Policy, a fixed amount of subsidy is notified on an annual/semi-annual basis, which ensures availability of P&K (phosphatic and potassic) fertilizers at reasonable prices to farmers. Urea is imported on a government account.

However, all P&K fertilisers (DAP, MOP and NPK) are covered under Open General License (OGL) under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme and they are imported by the fertilizer companies on commercially viable terms.