Fertiliser Crisis – What Union & State Govts should do

30 organisations and dozens of other concerned individuals have sent an open letter to the Minister and Secretaries of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare as well as Chemicals and Fertilisers about the on-going fertiliser crisis. The organisations endorsing include the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) – Kisan Swaraj, the Jai Kisan Andolan and the media house RuralVoice.in, which has been covering this issue extensively. Individuals signing the letter range from varied backgrounds, including academics who specialise in soil science, those promoting regenerative agriculture to farmers themselves.

The letter begins by describing the global synthetic fertiliser crisis and then goes on to suggest measures that can be taken by the central and state governments both immediately and in the longer term. The letter is attached as PDF and can also be found in the mail below. It can also be accessed here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/16iN70yoOg94CiVkcsOQ8K1eXol2GRiVh/view?usp=sharing

For further details, please write to asha.kisanswaraj@gmail.com.

———- Forwarded message ———
From: ASHA Kisan Swaraj <asha.kisanswaraj@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jun 27, 2022 at 12:23 PM
Subject: Open letter on the Fertiliser Crisis and What Union and State Governments Should Do
To: <agrimin.india@gmail.com>, <india-cfm@gov.in>
Cc: <secy-agri@gov.in>, <sec.cpc@nic.in>

Date: 27th June, 2022


  1. The Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India 
  2. The Minister of Chemicals & Fertilisers, Government of India


  1. Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India
  2. Secretary, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers, Government of India

Subject: Statement on the Fertiliser Crisis and What Union and State Governments Should Do

Dear Madam / Sir,

India (and the world) is currently facing an acute fertiliser crisis. This crisis is likely to continue beyond this kharif season too. The joint statement by the undersigned, which is attached with this letter, describes the crisis and suggests steps (both immediate and longer term) that the Government of India and State Governments can take to mitigate this.


  1. Organisations:
    1. Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) – Kisan Swaraj
    2. Berojgar Mahila Sewa Samiti
    3. Bharat Jan Andolan
    4. Federation of Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners Association
    5. G Naturals and Dairy Farms LLP
    6. Go Organic Life
    7. Grow Your Own Veggies (GYOV)
    8. Jai Kisan Andolan
    9. Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS)
    10. Jatan Trust
    11. Jharkhand Kisan Parishad
    12. Kisan Sewa Sansthan
    13. Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
    14. Nalla Sandhai
    15. NSDF
    16. Organic Farmers Market (OFM)
    17. Regenerative Bihar
    18. ReStore
    19. Restore Gardens
    20. RuralVoice.in
    21. Safe Food Alliance
    22. Samanvaya Consulting
    23. SANWD
    24. Save Our Rice Network
    25. Shramik Bharti
    26. Tamilnadu Organic Farmers Federation
    27. Thaalanmai Uzhavar Iyakam
    28. Tharchaarbu Iyakkam
    29. Tula Organic Clothing
    30. Women’s Collective
  2. Individuals:
    1. Aaditeshwar Seth, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
    2. Amita Shah, Research, Ph.D. (Economics), CFDA
    3. Anshuman Das, Agroecology trainer
    4. Ashok Yadav, Dr., Social worker
    5. Bhukya Anil, B. Tech
    6. Debasis Pati, B. Tech, Master in Sociology / OUAT / IGNOU
    7. Deborah Dutta, Senior Research Fellow, IRMA
    8. Dilnavaz Variava, Promotes sustainable development 
    9. Dinesh Abrol, Academic
    10. Gurpreet Singh, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability
    11. Hiren Gohain, Retd University Teacher
    12. Jeewika, Educator and farmer
    13. K Krishna Prasad, Pursuing M.Tech in Bioinformatics
    14. Krishna Shree, Researcher
    15. Kunuthur Srinivasa Reddy, Ph.D. Soil Science, ANGR Agricultural University
    16. Kunwar Singh, DSWO, UP Govt
    17. KVSN Moorthy, Post graduate now running business
    18. Madhu Prasad, Former Associate Professor, Zakir Husain Delhi College, Delhi University
    19. Manas Arvind, Regenerative agriculture promotor
    20. Naga Venkata Ramana Lanka, Retired Engineer
    21. Navin Kumar
    22. Nidhi, Masters in Biosciences 
    23. Prakash Upadhyaya
    24. Praneeth Adusumilli, Student 
    25. Punam Behl, PhD researcher, University of Reading, UK
    26. R S S Raghu Prasad, Service
    27. Ranjan Solomon, Consultant 
    28. Ravi, Student
    29. Romal Singh, Development professional
    30. Sai Mouli, Engineer
    31. Shashank Pansari, Assistant Professor
    32. Shreekumar, Farmer
    33. Sreelekha Rangubhatla, Post graduation in bioengineering 
    34. Subba Rao, Retired GM (SAIL), Electrical Engineering
    35. Suhas Kolhekar, Dr., Social justice and health rights activist 
    36. Tarak Kate, Scientist; MSc; PhD; Dharamitra
    37. Ujjwal Utkarsh, Filmmaker
    38. Vijay Bharatiya, Youth facilitator
    39. Vinoth Kumar M D, Engineering
    40. Vishwajeet Kumar, Social work

Statement on the Fertiliser Crisis and What Union and State Governments Should Do



India began encouraging large scale use of synthetic fertilisers during the Green Revolution. The hybrid crop varieties introduced during this period required synthetic fertilisers for nutrition in order to reach their advertised yields. The three major nutrients that are given through synthetic fertilisers are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potash (K). Synthetic fertilisers, especially urea, require irrigation in order to have the desired effect on the crop. If urea is used at a time when irrigation is not possible, it will have an adverse effect on the crop. As a result, synthetic fertilisers are used more in the irrigated regions of the country.

An additional reason for the higher use of external synthetic inputs in the irrigated regions of the country as compared to the rainfed regions is the fact that using synthetic inputs increases the cost of production for the farmer. If there is inadequate rainfall, then the more the farmer invests in production, the greater the loss. Hence, farmers in rainfed regions prefer to use less external synthetic inputs in order to minimise their cost of production and their financial risks. Farmers in irrigated regions, however, go for a high-cost high-return model of agriculture since monsoon failure is not a risk for them.


Nutrition from synthetic fertilisers cannot be absorbed by plants directly. If a seed is planted in a bag of synthetic fertilisers, it will not be able to grow. Various soil microbes (such as phosphorus solubilising bacteria, potash mobilising bacteria, etc) are necessary to convert the nutrients from synthetic fertilisers into an available form which can be absorbed by plants. The degree to which such soil microbes are present in the soil can be roughly gauged by the organic carbon content in the soil, which is one of the parameters checked in a typical soil test.

Since farmers started focussing more on the use of synthetic fertilisers, use of natural fertilisers (like manures and compost) started coming down. This has resulted in lower soil organic carbon content, as a result of which the ‘use efficiency’ of synthetic fertilisers have reduced. As a result, farmers are using progressively higher doses of synthetic fertilisers each year to achieve the same yields.

Domestic Production and Imports

India is the second largest importer of fertiliser. India consumes about 350 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) of Urea and about 100 LMT each of DAP and NPKS complexes and about 30 LMT of MOP. Even for domestic production, we import the raw material – natural gas to make urea and phosphoric acid to make DAP.

India imports (either as raw material or as finished synthetic fertilisers):

In the current green revolution agricultural paradigm, although India is not dependent on direct food imports for food security, India has an extremely vulnerable import exposure to fertilisers to ensure food security. ‘Ship-to-mouth’ has been replaced by ‘ship-to-farm-to-mouth’. The green revolution has not made the ships disappear but merely replaced the contents of the ships from food to fertiliser. At a time when there are geopolitical crises in regions strategic for global food, fuel and fertiliser exports and international supply chains disruptions due to pandemics, we must not forget that our national food self-sufficiency is a mirage we see due to our (non-atma) nirbharta on synthetic fertilisers from other countries.

Subsidy policy

The government has two different subsidy policies for synthetic fertilisers:

  • Urea: The MRP of one bag of urea has been fixed at Rs. 268 for a 50 kg bag and Rs. 242 for a 45 kg bag since 2018. This works out to Rs. 5,360 per metric ton (MT) of urea as the farmer price. The difference between the farmer price and the cost of production of urea is borne by the Government of India as a subsidy. As a result, the quantum of this subsidy varies depending on the international price of urea and the price of the raw material, which is natural gas.
  • Other major synthetic non-urea fertilisers: Fertiliser companies are free to set their own MRPs for synthetic fertilisers such as Di Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), Mono Ammonium Phosphate (MAP), Muriate of Potash (MoP) and various grades of complex NPK(S) fertilisers (which have varying percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, potash and, sometimes, sulphur). The amount of subsidy for each fertiliser grade depends on the quantity of various nutrients in them and is called a Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS). Since the recent fertiliser crisis, the union government has been increasing the NBS (Image 1 below) to ensure that the farmer prices of fertilisers have not changed much during the period of the crisis.

Table with rough estimates of subsidies of various grades of popular fertilisers at approximate May 2022 prices:

Fertiliser grade (N:P:K)QuantityInternational price in Rs.Subsidy in Rs.Farmer price in Rs.
Urea (46:0:0)In MT55,36050,0005,360
Per 45 kg bag2,4922,250242
DAP (18:46:0)In MT77,00050,00027,000
Per 50 kg bag3,8502,5001,350
MoP (0:0:60)In MT49,00015,00034,000
Per 50 kg bag2,4507501,700

Image 1

As a result of this policy, urea is relatively much cheaper than other grades of fertiliser and application of synthetic fertilisers is unhealthily skewed towards urea – both from a soil and plant health perspective and from a financial health perspective for the union government.

The Current and Immediate Crisis

Fertiliser subsidy bill to cross Rs 2 lakh crore this year: PM Modi

There is a serious crisis of lack of availability and, as a consequence, high prices for many synthetic fertilisers, as farmers walk into Kharif 2022. They experienced the crisis to an extent in Rabi 2021-22 also, but the Russia – Ukraine War had not erupted at that time.

Image 2

Fertiliser prices globally have almost tripled in the last 2 years because of many geopolitical reasons, including the Russia-Ukraine war. There are several reasons for the hike. Some of these are:

  • The price of natural gas, the main feedstock for urea, has spiked up
  • Covid-19 restrictions that have disrupted every global supply chain
  • China, the largest phosphate producer, has restricted exports to stockpile at home
  • Sanctions on a major Belarusian potash producer
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has cut off approximately 20% of the world’s synthetic plant nutrient exports: Russia & Belarus supply almost 40% of the total potash globally. Russia alone accounts for 22% export of the ammonia, 14% of the urea, and 14% of the MoP.

India’s fertiliser stocks are very low and have been declining for the past 2 years as shown in Image 3. 

Image 3

There is presently a policy uncertainty that the fertiliser industry is facing. There is a lack of long-term clarity on the quantum of non-urea (i.e., NBS) fertiliser subsidies and, as a result, fertiliser companies are unable to make long-term plans on production, imports and stocks. The government has been taking ad-hoc short-term decisions on the fertiliser subsidy season-wise and even these decisions are not taken adequately in advance to allow the industry to forecast and plan sufficiently ahead.

The Centre’s fertiliser subsidy expenditure is likely to be in the range of Rs 2.10 – 2.30 lakh crore in the current financial year; whereas the budget estimate for the financial year 2022-23 was only Rs 1.05 lakh crore. This will be the highest ever expenditure on fertiliser subsidy by a wide margin.

This is not a short-term crisis – the prices will remain high for at least one year. The spike in prices has led to protests in many countries such as Peru, Brazil, Spain, Greece and Pakistan. The global market is highly competitive and there is a constraint on supply. It is unclear if the revised subsidy will be enough to procure the required fertiliser.

The Longer Term Crisis

Urea production is based on natural gas and natural gas prices are closely related to international oil prices. On the energy front, the world is preparing for peak oil in the coming decades and is moving to renewable sources to counter availability and high prices of energy (in addition to climate change). However, little, if anything, is being done to consider renewable sources of nitrogen as availability and high prices of natural gas increasingly become a concern in the future. Besides, the fact that the production process of urea and its use in agriculture emits greenhouse gases and is a significant source of climate change being caused by agriculture.

Phosphatic fertilisers are also limited by the availability of phosphorus in various forms (such as rock phosphate) for mining. As per most estimates in a study that undertakes meta-analysis which was done after the previous commodity crisis a decade ago, we will run out of earth’s phosphatic reserves within this century. In the decades approaching the end of phosphatic reserves, even when they are still available, prices of phosphatic raw material are likely to keep going higher and higher. As a result, we will hit ‘peak phosphorus’, a time when its global production will peak, much before we run out of it and during the lifetime of the present generation. To quote the aforementioned study, “In the long term, it is widely acknowledged that cheap fertilizers will become a thing of the past” and, as per the same study, the world is expected to hit peak phosphorus in about a decade in 2033. Therefore, in addition to the need to reduce our import-dependence, we also need to start advocating for methods of agriculture that are based on local, renewable sources of phosphatic nutrients to start preparing for peak phosphorus.

India and the world is slowly transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. The reason for this, apart from climate change, is the fact that the world is going to reach peak oil in the coming decades. As and when this happens, we will probably reach peak urea as well, since it is produced from natural gas. As mentioned in earlier, like peak oil, in the coming decades we will reach peak phosphorus as well. However, while India is transitioning into renewables for energy, there is very little being done to transition towards renewable plant nutrition.

The recent example of Sri Lanka has often been cited to make a point that countries cannot hope to be food secure without synthetic fertilisers. Just as it is immediately apparent that it would be foolhardy for a country to transition to renewable energy overnight by banning imports of fossil fuels, similarly a demonitisation-like overnight switch away from synthetic fertilisers would be disastrous as well. Just like there is significant investment into and policy support for renewable energy to make a gradual transition, the country has to plan a gradual transition to more regenerative ways of agriculture. Just like there was significant research and development as well as an enabling policy environment to create the green revolution over a generation, our agriculture institutes and universities as well as our governments now need to guide the country into regenerative agriculture production in this generation.

What can be done

In this context, acting now is of crucial importance. These actions will decide what the current year is going to look like for the farmers of the country.

What the Union Government can do immediately within the Green Revolution paradigm

  1. Subsidies: Announce a synthetic fertiliser subsidy policy which will be in place for at least the next couple years. Having policy clarity beyond a season will help the industry also plan imports of raw materials and production sufficiently in advance so that the country has enough stocks of synthetic fertilisers for the next few seasons.
  1. Imports: Mobilise the Ministry of External Affairs to make a contingency plan of sourcing fertilisers and raw materials from other countries. For the future, long-term partnerships and investments in other countries also need to increase. Media reports seem to indicate that this is underway.
  1. Preventing black marketing (with state governments):
    • Establish a national control room for logistics and movement of fertilisers.
    • Activate inspectors to ensure no hoarding of fertiliser stocks and black-marketing at higher prices during sales.
  1. Increasing awareness among farmers about appropriate grades and dosages of fertilisers:
    • Although the quantum of phosphatic fertiliser produced domestically from raw material available in India is in single digit percentages that can be counted on one hand – this miniscule production is of Single Super Phosphate (SSP) from rock phosphate reserves in India. Therefore, the government should encourage farmers to use SSP for their phosphatic requirements. This will have two advantages:
      1. Being completely domestic, including in raw material, this will reduce some pressure on import requirements for fertilisers.
      2. In addition to phosphorus, SSP also supplies sulphur and calcium to the soil and crops – leading to more balanced nutrition. Sulphur is especially useful for pulses and oilseeds and calcium improves soil porosity and helps balance soil acidity.
    • Promote use of complex NPKS fertiliser grades such as 20:20:0:13, 10:26:26:0, 12:32:16:0, etc, instead of higher analysis fertilisers like DAP and MoP. Although this will not affect the overall import requirements of the country very much, it will lead to more balanced use of fertilisers and reduce the requirement of urea. This will help reduce the subsidy burden on the government since, relatively, urea has the highest subsidy outflow for the government per unit weight (i.e., per bag or per MT). Supplying nitrogen through non-urea fertilisers will reduce the subsidy bill of the government.
    • Fertiliser dosage recommendations by State Agricultural Universities need to be updated. The prevalent recommendations are often dated and there is a need to rationalise them based on the current soil health conditions. Especially in areas where there has been an overuse of synthetic fertilisers, the soil may already be having a lot of nutrients which need to be tapped into by recommending the use of phosphorus solubilizing bacteria, potash mobilising bacteria, etc with reduced doses of synthetic fertilisers.
  1. Improving use efficiency:
    • Promote the use of water-soluble fertilisers and foliar sprays, which are sprayed on the crop rather than applied on the soil. This is a far more efficient way to supply nutrients to the crops than soil application and, if this is begun to be practised widely, it should dramatically reduce the quantity of fertilisers needed by the country. Compared to a 50 kg bag of fertiliser required for basal application, 2-3 kgs of sprays will be able to suffice. Skewing subsidies towards water soluble and liquid fertilisers will also help further grow their adoption.
    • Promote investment in and use of efficient fertiliser molecules, such as nano-urea.

What the Union Government can do in the long term towards a more regenerative agriculture paradigm

  1. Move from fertiliser subsidy to companies to DBT for farm inputs subsidies to cultivators: While the government should certainly announce a subsidy policy for the next couple of years so that the industry has clarity and can plan production and imports for the next few seasons, in the long term, the current synthetic fertiliser subsidy regime perversely incentivises excess use and overdose of synthetic fertilisers. The more the industry sells and farmers apply synthetic fertilisers, the more the government subsidies it. This needs to change in the long term.

Currently, the government seems to be moving towards a new subsidy regime like that for cooking gas (LPG), where the farmer pays the market price when buying the synthetic fertiliser and the subsidy amount is then reimbursed to the farmer post facto. Presumably, like in the case of LPG, there may also be upper limits to how much fertiliser a particular farmer can buy – with such a limit possibly linked to the size of the landholding as well as soil health. Apart from various issues related to implementation of such a system, in principle such a “reform” would still not address the fundamental perverse incentive that input subsidies (in the form of fertiliser subsidy) is only given for those purchasing synthetic fertilisers. This skews subsidies more in favour of farmers in irrigated areas and those in rainfed areas are at a disadvantage, as explained in the section titled ‘Introduction’. Such a system also puts farmers who are growing through organic, natural or agroecological methods without using synthetic inputs at a big disadvantage, since they would not be eligible for such subsidies conditional on purchase of synthetic fertilisers.

Therefore, in the long term, it is recommended that a farm inputs subsidy be directly transferred to cultivators’ accounts without the condition that they purchase synthetic fertilisers. Farmers should be free to use such input subsidies to spend on any kind of input they wish – synthetic or natural. Such a farm inputs subsidy must have the following features:

  • It must go to cultivators accounts (as opposed to the account of the land owners).
  • It should be proportional to the area being sown. Those leaving their land fallow should not receive such an input subsidy. Those who are not sowing their entire land holding should also only receive it in proportion to the land area that it is being sown in a particular season. Hence, such a payment will be conditional on a land revenue official recording the crop area sown by each farmer before they are eligible to receive the payment.
  • This amount should be pegged to inflation and increase in proportion to the rising costs every year.
  1. Diversify / increase procurement of crops apart from rice and wheat: The green revolution focussed primarily on cereals and even within cereals mainly on paddy and wheat. As mentioned earlier, the hybrid varieties developed were also such that they cannot perform well unless sufficient synthetic fertilisers are applied. Since most of the procurement by the government, more so in irrigated areas, is of paddy and wheat, these are the crops that farmers prefer to grow. Such limited procurement, thereby, also incentivises agriculture which requires synthetic fertilisers. Moving away from paddy and wheat, the government should particularly focus on increasing procurement in the following crops:
    • Millets: Millets are advantageous to promote for multiple reasons, namely:
      1. They require little to no synthetic fertilisers to grow.
      2. They require less water and will, thereby, also help improve reducing groundwater levels. For this reason, they can also be grown relatively more easily in rainfed regions also. They are also hardy and less sensitive to the vagaries of the climate.
      3. They are more nutritious than paddy and wheat and so better for consumers’ health as well.
      4. They also serve as fodder crops for livestock rearing.
    • Legumes (pulses): Leguminous crops have nitrogen fixing properties. This means that they take nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert them into a form that can be assimilated by the plant from the soil through its roots. As a result, such crops require no additional nitrogen to be added and save on urea. As in the case of millets, procuring more legumes can meet multiple objectives, as listed below:
      1. As just mentioned, they will reduce the offtake of urea.
      2. Like millets, they require relatively less water and can be grown in non-irrigated, rainfed regions.
      3. A vast majority of the legumes are pulses, which India is a net importer of. Incentivising more production of pulses will also favourably impact the national trade deficit.
      4. Consuming more legumes will also be nutritionally beneficial to Indians. As a country, our diets are deficient in proteins, which pulses are rich in.
      5. Growing more legumes which are oilseeds, like groundnut, will also reduce India’s edible oil imports.
      6. Like millets, pulses also serve as a source of fodder for animals.

For this reason, giving MSP for all crops will benefit the fertiliser outlook of the nation as well. Farmers, who used to practise growing multiple crops earlier, have now shifted to monocropping in-line with the government’s mono-procurement policies. Diversifying procurement will encourage farmers to increase the biodiversity their fields again and grow crops more suitable to their agro-climatic region as well as those which require less water and synthetic fertilisers.

  1. R&D push towards regenerative agriculture: During the green revolution, the agricultural universities and institutes were oriented towards meeting the agricultural challenges of the time. Unfortunately, they still seem to be stuck in the same paradigm, whereas the challenges facing agriculture in India today are different. Agriculture research in the country needs to reorient itself towards the needs of the sector today, and work in developing and mainstreaming modern regenerative agricultural techniques. 

For example, traditional agriculture depended on cattle manure as a source of microbes for composting agricultural waste to make them suitable as agricultural inputs. However, livestock integration in agriculture today is much lower and manure is not easily available. Research could focus on microbial cultures, stimulants and inoculants that can be distributed to farmers in lieu of cattle manure to compost their agricultural waste to recycle them as inputs for agriculture. Farmers should also be taught, through extension systems, how they can make and multiply such cultures themselves. Further, soil testing and soil health cards should, in addition to the chemical nutrients in the soil, also check and report on biological status of the samples and specific microbes missing in the soil can be then supplemented with appropriate advice. In addition to merely providing nutrition to crops, the focus should be on restoring holistic soil health.

  1. GST for bio-fertilisers reduced to 5% and brought on par with synthetic fertilisers. The GST on bio-fertilisers is presently twelve percent whereas the GST for synthetic fertilisers is five percent. The present higher tax rate on bio-fertilisers is a disincentive to transition towards more sustainable agriculture and both bio-fertilisers and synthetic synthetic fertilisers should have a uniform GST slab.

What states governments can do to promote regenerative agriculture

  1. Encourage conservation and recycling of agricultural waste: The fundamental principle of conservation of mass means that as much produce as is taken out of a farm needs to be put back into the farm in order to maintain soil health and, thereby, crop yields. The more that is taken from the farm, the more external nutritional inputs are needed to substitute them. Therefore, except the harvested produce, all other agricultural waste should be recycled and go back into the soil in the farm after composting. In addition to acting as substitutes for synthetic nutrition through biomass, this also serves to increase the soil organic carbon and, thereby, increase the microbial activity in the soil to make existing nutrients in the soil available to the crop. Specific steps that could be taken in this direction include:
    1. Encourage sustainable alternatives to stubble burning. In addition to contributing to climate change, this practice also puts nutrients from the farm into the atmosphere apart from also killing the soil microbes which help in making the nutrients in the soil available to plants.
    2. Fly ash from sugar mills, boiler ash from distilleries in the sugar industry, paddy husk, coconut pith and the banana pseudostem are all sources of potash, which the country otherwise imports hundred percent. All these ‘wastes’ should be recycled in agriculture as potash substitutes.
    3. Export of oil seed cakes, which are sources of nitrogen and phosphorus, should be banned. This is the equivalent of India exporting fertiliser, when the country itself is very deficient in its own fertiliser needs.
    4. Incentivise construction of good animal shelters with floor lining that allows for collection of livestock waste – both dung as well as urine. The dung serves as a good fertiliser. The urine can serve as a large scale source of nitrogen as well as act as a pesticide. Another method of getting animal waste into farms is by animal penning of sheep, camels, etc where animal herds are kept on farms by pastoralists during the off-season.
    5. Human and animal waste can be recycled as agricultural inputs by encouraging the creation of biogas plants. Besides serving as a source of agricultural input, biogas plants will also reduce the need for cooking gas, thereby also reducing the country’s requirement of LPG.
    6. City waste should be effectively composted and be made available to farmers as fertiliser. It is unfortunate that the fertiliser subsidy component for city compost has been discontinued in FY 2022-23. Additionally, the present quality of city compost leaves a lot to be desired. Better segregation at the source is necessary along with high standards for quality control and assurance. A recent report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) titled ‘State of Biofertilizers and Organic Fertilizers in India’ includes suggestions on improving the quality and adoption of biofertilisers and organic fertilisers.
    7. Encourage large scale, local inputs manufacturing by convergence with the animal husbandry departments. The initiative by the Chhattisgarh government is worth emulating and can be expanded to dung from ruminants apart from cows as well. This has been elaborated in a separate box at the end of this document in Annexure 1.
    8. Other potential sources of biomass include pond, tank and well silts as well as leaf litter.
    9. The phosphatic content of organic manures can be increased by addition of rock phosphate, which is available domestically, to make Phosphorus Rich Organic Manure (PROM).
  1. Extension departments should increase awareness and knowledge about sustainable alternatives:
    1. Governments should embark on a large-scale campaign for balanced use of fertiliser and promotion of alternatives. Media should be used in different ways to mount an effective campaign.
    2. Use the methods of farmer field schools and encourage peer learning from ‘progressive’ farmers
    3. Promote inputs that can be made on the farm or locally through nano-enterprises as a cottage industry.
  1. Encourage green manuring: This can be done by providing seeds for green manure crops (like dhaincha, sunhemp, cowpea, beans, etc) at subsidised rates to farmers. Further, governments must encourage the building and sustaining of micro-climate for soil microbiota to work along with on-ground plant species, including through 365-day green cover of the soil. This will be much more effective if use of herbicides, which destroy the entire biomass in the farm lands, is discouraged.

Annexure 1

Godhan Nyay Yojana was launched by Chhattisgarh Government on 20th July 2020 with multiple objectives of promoting animal husbandry, giving employment to women’s SHGs, to provide high quality natural fertilisers to farmers and to improve soil health in the state. 
In this scheme, cow dung is procured on a fixed rate and vermicompost is prepared by women’s SHGs from the same. Such vermi-compost is then sold to farmers from cooperative societies. CG state became the first Indian state to buy cow dung at Rs. 2 per kg from cattle owners. 
This Godhan Nyay Scheme has prevented open grazing by cattle and addressed the problem of stray animals on roads. This is an innovative cow-dung-to-cash scheme. Livestock owners and dung collectors are selling cow dung to government / women’s SHGs who in turn are preparing organic fertilisers from the same.
Under the Godhan Nyay Yojana, 70 lakh quintals of cow dung have been purchased till early May 2022. An amount of Rs. 150 crores has been transferred to cattle keepers. 11000 Panchayats have so far established Gauthans for this purpose. 85000 women’s SHGs have produced 20 lakh quintals of high quality vermi-compost so far, and sold the same to local farmers. These SHGs have earned an income of 14 crore rupees.

Annexure 2

Coverage of the fertiliser crisis by Rural Voice as additional reference material:

  1. Using right technique can lead to saving of fertilizers


  1. 50 per cent increase in DAP subsidy; prices of complex fertilizers to remain unchanged despite high global prices


  1. DAP price reaches Rs 80,000 per tonne; delay in new import deals may affect availability in Kharif season


  1. AIKS demands immediate withdrawal of hike in fertilizer prices


  1. Urea price reaches $1,200 and phosphoric acid $2,000; fertilizer prices may go up


  1. IFFCO sets record with a production of 8 lt phosphoric acid a year at Paradeep plant


  1. Indian Potash signs MoU with Israel Chemicals for MOP supply


  1. India may buy fertilizers besides crude oil on discount from Russia


  1. Massive hike in fertilizer prices due to Russia-Ukraine war; efforts to find new import sources gather pace


  1. Bio-fertilizers blue-green algae and Azolla better nitrogen substitutes for crops


  1. Russia–Ukraine tensions likely to disrupt supply of barley and fertilizers


  1. Economic Survey: Need to focus on crop diversification; Rs 85,000 crore fertilizer subsidy in nine months


  1. Food and fertilizer subsidies may cross Rs 5 lakh crore this year; cut in Budget likely


  1. IFFCO ranks No. 1 among 300 cooperatives in the world


  1. Complex fertilizers sales up by 50 per cent amidst DAP shortage


  1. Urea prices go down by up to 45 per cent in global market due to fall in demand


  1. रूस से कच्चे तेल के साथ उर्वरक भी डिस्काउंट पर खरीद सकता है भारत


  1. यूरिया की कीमत 1200 डॉलर और फॉस्फोरिक एसिड 2000 डॉलर के पार, बढ़ सकते हैं खाद के दाम


  1. रूस-यूक्रेन युद्ध के चलते उर्वरकों की कीमतों में भारी इजाफा, आयात के नये स्रोत तलाशने की कोशिश तेज


  1. रूस-यूक्रेन तनाव से जौ और उर्वरकों की सप्लाई बाधित होने की आशंका


  1. डीएपी की कीमत 80 हजार रुपये प्रति टन पर पहुंची, नये आयात सौदों में देरी से खरीफ सीजन में उपलब्धता पर पड़ सकता है असर 
  1. डीएपी पर सब्सिडी में 50 फीसदी बढ़ोतरी, ऊंची वैश्विक कीमतों के बावजूद कॉम्प्लेक्स उर्वरकों की मौजूदा कीमतें रहेंगी बरकरार


  1. कॉम्प्लेक्स उर्वरकों की रिकॉर्ड कीमत बढ़ोतरी के बीच एनबीएस पर एक्सपर्ट समिति गठित


  1. वैश्विक बाजार में यूरिया की कीमत 45 फीसदी तक घटी, मांग में गिरावट का असर


  1. डीएपी कीमतों की कुंजी मोरक्को के ओसीपी ग्रुप के पास, उर्वरक के निर्यात बाजार में चीन की वापसी



Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA-Kisan Swaraj)




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