Fertilizer: Determinants of Agriculture – UPSC

In this article, You will read Determinants of Agriculture(Technological Factors): Fertilizer – for UPSC IAS (Agricultural geography).

Fertilizer

  • With the Green Revolution and the introduction of (High Yielding Variety)HYV seeds, the demand of fertilizers increased.
  • Fertilizer is soil amendments applied to promote plant growth.
  • Indian soils are used for agriculture over thousands of years which led to the exhaustion of soil fertility which in turn has led to the low productivity of the soil.
  • The solution of above is to use manure & fertilizers to make soil capable of giving good yields.
  • HYV seeds, fertilizers, irrigation in combination with technology have led to the unprecedented growth in agricultural production in India.
  • Fertilizer consumption is a barometer for agricultural prosperity as 70% of growth in agricultural production can be attributed to increased fertilizer application.

Benefits Of Fertilizer

  • Increased Farm Production through High Cropping Intensity Under Multiple Cropping Programs.
  • HYV of Seeds Performs Better in the Presence of Fertilizers Only.
  • Deccan (or Lateritic) Soil Need More P & K Which Can Be Provided By Use Of Fertilizers Only
  • Alluvial Soil Needs More Nitrogen Which Can Be Provided By Use Of Fertilizers Only
  • Sugarcane Lands of Maharashtra & Karnataka Needs More Potassium (K).
types of fertilizers

Production & Consumption

  • India is 3rd largest producer of fertilizer after China & the US.
  • India is 2nd largest consumer of fertilizer after china.
  • Production of all fertilizers (NPK) increased from 1059 thousand tonnes in 1970-71 to 16092 thousand tonnes in 2013-14 recording more than 15 times increase in 4 ½ decades.
  • All India’s average fertilizers consumption is 165 kg/ha of NPK but there are huge variations from states to states.
    • U.P is the largest consumer of fertilizers (4207 thousand tonnes)
    • Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra account for the consumption of more than 3000 thousand tonnes of fertilizer per year each.
    • North-Eastern India is least dependent on chemical fertilizers.
Rank  State  Consumption  
1  Andhra Pradesh  266 kg/ha  
2  Punjab  243 kg/ha  
3  Tamil Nadu  227 kg/ha  
4  Haryana  224 kg/ha  
5North Eastern States
(Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh)  
Lowest
5 kg/ha  
Per hectare consumption of fertilizers
  • Although India progressed a lot with respect to the production and consumption of fertilizers but it still lags behind several countries in consumption per hectare.
    • Pakistan, China, and Bangladesh have more consumption per hectare of fertilizer than India.
    • Most European countries, Egypt, Chile, Japan, New Zealand use much larger fertilizer than India.
consumption of fertilizers in india

Problems in Fertilizer Sector

  • There is low consumption of fertilizer (165 kg/ha) as compared to other counters due to:
    • Lack of awareness among people.
    • Lack of proper distribution system and lack of supply
    • Lack of irrigation faculties and under application of fertilizers
    • Chemical fertilizers being costly are outreach of poor farmers.
  • There is a wide imbalance in use of fertilizers with respect to:
    • Types of fertilizers: Different types of fertilizers are used by farmers in different regions for the same crops. – considering the skewed pattern of land use the ideal use of fertilizer as per Haumantha Rao committee is 4:2:1 but in reality, it is 8.2: 4.2:1.
    • Seasons: Requirement of fertilizers varies with respect to different seasons. Seasonal is variability accompanied by variable rainfall. More fertilizer is used in Rabi season as compared to Kharif season. Monsoon uncertainty is major factor here.
    • Crop: Different types of crops require different nutrient constituents, thus their fertilizer requirement is different. There is high usage of fertilizers with Rice, wheat, sugarcane accompanied with HYV Seeds & irrigation. However, the usage is low for pulses, coaster grains & oilseeds.
    • Soil: Different types of soil require different nutrient constituents, thus their fertilizer requirement is different. If soil has good carbon/organic matter then the use of fertilizers will be less. State like Sikkim has resorted to organic farming in order to minimise use of fertilizers.
    • Region: Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, U.P has high usage of fertilizer. Within states in few districts with high irrigation facilities and HYV seeds have high fertilizer usage.
  • High production & usage of urea due to high subsidy. Urea is not under the Nutrient Based Subsidy scheme.
  • Other nutrients of soil are neglected. There is also a greater depletion in micronutrients because of the monocultural pattern of use of NPK.
  • Cow dung provides best manure, but its use is limited as most of it is used as a kitchen fuel in shape of dung cakes due to decrease in supply of firewood and increase in demand of fuel in rural area.
  • Nitrate pollution in soil & water which leads to eutrophication (algal bloom)
  • India needs 80% of urea requirement through indigenous production, but India is largely import-dependent.
  • There is high imbalance in the use of fertilizers in India. For example, the use of Urea is 57%, DAP – 17% and that of MOP is 6%.
  • For meeting the requirements of Potassic (K) & Phosphate (P) Fertilizer Govt has notified new investment policy 2012 to encourage indigenous production of P and K fertilizers and decreasing the import dependence.
  • Subsidy on fertilizer: Nutrient Based Subsidy scheme gives fixed subsidy for P & K fertilizers depending upon its nutrient content.

Steps for Improvement of Fertilizer Sector

  • The country has a huge potential of rural & urban compost which if utilized will serve the twin purpose of waste disposal & providing manure to the soil.
  • Govt has given high incentives especially in form of heavy subsidy for using chemical fertilizer & this has led to a tremendous increase in consumption of fertilizers.
  • To maintain the quality of fertilizers, around 52 fertilizers quality control laboratories have been set up in different parts of the country.
    • Central fertilizer quality control & training institute of Faridabad with 3 regional centres at Mumbai, Kolkata & Chennai.
    • Fertilizer control order issued under Essential Commodity Act 1953 to regulate, trade, price, quality & distribution of fertilizes.
    • The order prohibits the manufacture, import & sale of any fertilizer which do not meet the prescribed standard.
  • Soil testing facilities: Under soil testing facilities the soil health card scheme has been launched with the following features:
    • Card to display soil fertility and would be recommended fertilizers according to soil & crop requirement
    • There will be 100 mobile testing labs
    • There will be issuing of around 14 crore cards in next 3 years
    • The theme of the soil health card scheme is “Swasth Dhara, Khet Hara
  • Mrid Aparikshak scheme
    • It is a digital mobile soil test kit facility
    • It tests various soil parameters like Ph, NPK, micronutrients, etc.
    • Farmers get all the required information through SMS.
  • Promote the use of organic measures like cattle dung, urban compost, sewage sludge, green manure, etc.
  • Biofertilizers should be used like microorganisms – which fix atmospheric Nitrogen or increase the solubility of other nutrients especially phosphate, e.g. blue-green algae, Rhizobium.
  • Govt should import fertilizer from a cheap source like Ukraine and increase the consumption in other low use areas by application of subsidies.
  • Equitable distribution of fertilizers to reduce regional, seasonal, and crop disparity.
  • Training & demonstration on a balanced use of fertilizers.
  • NBS scheme 2010 for phosphate & potash should also include urea.
  • Use of neem coated urea
  • Fertigation: It involves the use of fertilizer along with irrigation.
paramparagat krishi vikas yojana
paramparagat krishi vikas yojana (pkvy)
santosh kumar panel recommendation
organic farming

Vermicompost

  • Vermicomposting refers to breakdown of organic matter by earth worm. It makes water soluble, nutrient rich, moist organic fertilizers.
  • It increases soil aeration and enriches soil with micro organisms.
  • It improves root growth in plants.
  • It is easy to produce at affordable way.
process of vermicomposting

Neem Coated Urea And Its Benefits

  • Coating Urea with Neem oil or Neem cake has been proved to be an effective natural alternative to chemicals acting as inhibitors of urea release in soil. It has been scientifically established that Neem oil serves as an effective inhibitor if coated on Urea.
  • Gradual release of urea helps plants to gain more nutrient & results in higher yield with less use of urea.
  • Lower level underground water and its contamination due to the leaching of urea is controlled by Neem Coated Urea.
  • Neem acts as a natural insecticide
  • Collection of neem seeds needed for neem coated urea will generate employment in rural area which will help in doubling the income of farmers.
  • Neem coating helps to check heavily subsidized urea pilferage to chemical industry & other uses such as making of adulterated milk
  • Neem Coated Urea prevents eutrophication.
  • Difference in Plain urea and Neem Coated Urea
    • In Neem coated urea, they put a layer of neem over the plain urea that increases the land fertility capacity that leads to the higher production of crops.
    • The oil coating of neem in Neem coated urea mixes up slowly with the land and the crops soaks it according to the need.
    • The unwanted urea washed away with the water or gets diluted in the air as nitrogen. If the farmer uses the Normal urea or Plain urea, the maximum unit of the manure is left unused.
Plain urea and Neem Coated Urea

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