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Some Urea Units to face the grim prospect of shutting down because of lockdown: Fertiliser Association Reports

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

To sustainably feed nearly 10 billon people by 2050 while reducing nutrient losses, we need to make fertilizers more efficient and accessibility. Agrarian crisis is still at a peak here in India. Fertilizer remains the major input in realizing potential of high yielding variety seeds. Simple laws of mass and energy conservation dictate that one cannot realize high yields without input of sufficient plant nutrients to the soil. However, it is equally true that there is a need for very judicious use of chemical fertilizers. 

India is now the second largest consumer of chemical fertilizers in the world, next only to China. It is also the second and third largest global producer of nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizers respectively. Between 1952-52 to 2017-18, the annual consumption of fertilisers, in nutrient terms—nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)—rose from 0.07 million MT to 58 million MT and per hectare (ha) consumption increased from under 1 kg to about 135 kg. 

Urea constitutes a major share of total fertilizer Production. The main chemical fertilizers produced in India are urea, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), single super phosphate (SSP) and some variants of complex fertilizers. Nitrogen (in the form of urea) dominates the fertilizer market in terms of consumption. Urea is a highly subsidized commodity since government has for long controlled the market price of urea in order to make it affordable to farmers. However, urea’s low price has led to its excessive use in agriculture. Globally, urea constitutes 50 per cent of all nitrogenous fertilizer consumption.  

Fertilisers are rampantly being used by farmers all over the globe and they are among the five imports from China. The lack of availability of   India’s non-Urea or DAP Fertilisers import could take a hit if the outbreak of the virus is unconstrained and will start impacting China's economic growth too. But the huge problems have started showing off in India and globally. The Fertiliser imports are going to cost more in the recent future. 

The Situation looks like its worsening in India and Some Urea plants are on the verge of closure reports Fertiliser Association, India. India has a lock down and hence we cannot import products from China leading to Chinas closure of these Fertilizer plants. This could worsen situations in China and India and some plants could face closures, and people can lose jobs too causing a decline in China’s production and, therefore, reduced supply in the global market. Ag News reports that DAP prices have already fallen during the past year-and-a-half, from $425 to $295 per tonne. “There is a possibility that if China’s global fertilisers exports reduce, equilibrium in the international global will improve and prices will start rising after some stability,” says a fertiliser and chemical analyst with a large foreign broking house to Ag New 

But however, says domestic companies manufacturing these items will be in an advantageous position. 

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