Indian Potash Ltd (IPL), Coromandel International and Chambal Fertilizers have signed separate pacts with Canada-based Canpotex, one of the world’s largest suppliers of potash, for the import of 1.5 million tonnes (mt) of the crop nutrient for next three years, said a Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers statement.

Canpotex, which exports around 13 mt of potash annually to over 40 countries, generates 75 per cent of its export business from five countries — Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The company invests $2 million a year in fertiliser education programmes, currently in operation in over 25 countries. It works closely with farmers on the benefits of applying the most effective ratio of potash (K), nitrogen (N) and phosphates (P) in their fields under this programme.

India meets 100 per cent of its potash requirement through imports, buying about 4 mt of Muriate of Potash (MoP) annually. Potash, which is a source of potassium, is used both for direct application as MoP as well as in combination with ‘N’ & ‘P’ nutrients in NPK (complex) fertilizers.

Improving availability

The Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were presented to Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday, the Ministry said.

“This supply partnership is expected to improve the fertiliser availability within the country and reduce supply side and price vulnerabilities,” Mandaviya said. He said it was a significant step towards ensuring long-term fertiliser availability for the farming community.

Reducing volatility

The MoU will reduce both supply and price volatility and ensure stable long-term supply of potassic fertiliser to India, the minister said.

Rates of imported potash has been constant at $590/tonne since March 2022, whereas it was $280/tonne until November 2021. The sales of MoP dropped 55 per cent to 5.4 lt during April-August 2022 from the year-ago period whereas its import increased by 12 per cent to 7.12 lt in the same period.

Mandaviya said the Centre has been encouraging the domestic fertiliser industry for establishing supply linkages through long-term partnerships with resource-rich nations. He said the government is working towards long-term MoUs for potash and other fertilisers with countries like Russia and Israel among others.