HM Amit Shah says the use of chemical fertilizers will increase cancer cases by 50% in the next 15 y
- In a virtual interaction with farmers of Gujarat, he appealed to farmers to adopt natural farming. Mr. Shah said excess use of chemical fertilizers will lead to increased cancer cases.
- He also set a target to encourage 50 percent of the farmers in his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency to give up chemical fertilizers and take up natural farming.
- He said due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers, the soil is slowly turning barren.
- With the Green Revolution and the introduction of (High Yielding Variety)HYV seeds, the demand for fertilizers was increased.
- Fertilizer is basically 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.
Production & Consumption
- India is 3rd largest producer of fertilizer after China & the US.
- India is 2nd largest consumer of fertilizer after china.
- U.P is the largest consumer of fertilizers (4207 thousand tonnes)
Fertilizer Policy in India and Governmental Interventions
- Since independence, the Government of India (GoI) has been regulating the sale, price, and quality of fertilizers.
- GoI has declared fertilizers as an essential commodity.
- GoI issued the Fertilizer Control Order (FCO) under the Essential Commodities Act, 1957.
- No subsidy was paid on Fertilizers till 1977 except Potash for which subsidy was paid only for a year in 1977.
- Retention Pricing Scheme (RPS): Introduced in 1977 for nitrogenous fertilizers.
- New Pricing Scheme (NPS): Concession Scheme for urea units based on the prices of feedstock used and the vintage of plants. It had various phases like NPS-I (2003-2004), NPS-II (2004-2006), and NPS-III (2006 onwards).
- Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Policy, 2010: The government fixes subsidies on an annual basis based on the weight of the different macro/micronutrients (N, P, K, S, etc) contained in the fertilizer
- Manufacturers/Marketers are allowed to fix the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) at a reasonable level
- Neem Coated Urea Policy, 2015: The government made it mandatory for domestic fertilizer firms to “Neem coat” at least 75 percent of their urea production (It can even go up to 100%). * * * Earlier, there was a cap of 35% on this.
- The government has also allowed manufacturers to charge a small 5 percent premium on Neem-coated urea
- New Urea Policy, 2015
- To incentivize domestic manufacturers and free transportation of P (phosphorus) and K (potassium) fertilizers.
Negative Impact of excessive use of fertilizers
- Deleterious effect on soil health and crop productivity showing deficiencies of other major and micronutrients.
- Even with recommended doses of NPK and more, deficiency of micro and secondary nutrients has become yield-limiting factor over the years.
- Deficient nutrient may also affect plant growth and cause plant physiological disorders.
- There is also the possibility of nitrate contamination in groundwater due to excessive/over-use of nitrogenous fertilizers, particularly in light-textured soils that has consequences on human/animal health if used for drinking purpose.
Measures for improvement
- ICAR has recommended soil test-based balanced and integrated nutrient management through conjunctive use of both inorganic and organic sources of plant nutrients to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, preventing deterioration of soil health, environment, and contamination of groundwater.
- In addition, split application and placement of fertilizers, use of slow-releasing N-fertilizers and nitrification inhibitors growing leguminous crops, and use of resource conservation technologies (RCTs) are also advocated.
- The Government has launched a National Mission on Soil Health Card to promote soil test-based balanced and judicious fertilizer application in the country.
- Similarly, organic farming is being promoted under Parampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER) in the country.
- Training and demonstrations are organized through ICAR institutions including Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), and agricultural universities to educate farmers on all these aspects.