There has been a significant increase in the use of bio-fertilizers in the country, according to a reply in Lok Sabha.

The production of carrier-based bio-fertilizers in the country increased from 79,436.70 tonnes in 2019-20 to 1.69 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2021-22, recording a growth of 113.23 per cent. Meanwhile the production of liquid-based bio-fertilizers increased from 30,105.90 kilo litres (kl) in 2019-20 to 2.32 lakh kl in 2021-22, registering a growth of 673.72 per cent.

Replying to a query on the challenges in promoting bio-fertilizers among farmers and the steps taken to address them in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, said the major challenges are maintaining viability/performance of bio-fertilizer and its quality control.

“There is less demand for bio-fertilizers in comparison to chemical fertilizers amongst farmers primarily on account of the perception that chemical fertilizers have high nutrient content vis-à-vis bio-fertilizer, which is not direct source of nutrients. Secondly, bio-fertilizers being live products are temperature sensitive and have short shelf-life posing difficulty in storage and transportation to farmer’s doorstep. Further, after chemical fertilizer usage, the impact of bio-fertilizer on crop productivity is limited,” he said.

However, he said, the government has taken various initiatives to encourage farmers to use the bio-fertilizers.

Land degradation

To another query on effects of land degradation, Tomar said 104.2 million hectares (mh) of arable land in India is affected by different kinds of land degradation. Of this, 85.7 mh is affected by wind and water erosion, 17.5 mh by chemical degradation, and 1.1 mh by physical degradation.


To a query on the production and consumption of millets, the Minister said the States such as Odisha, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are implementing State millet missions to increase production and consumption of millets.

Average millet production in the country for the three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22 stood at 17.06 lt. Of this, Rajasthan’s share was maximum at 4.86 lt followed by 2.39 lt in Karnataka, and 2.23 lt by Uttar Pradesh.

Edible oil

Replying to a question on self-sufficiency in edible oil production, Tomar said the National Food Security Mission- Oilseeds (NFSM-OS) is being implemented from 2018-19 in the country. The intention is to augment the availability of edible oils and reduce the import burden by increasing the production and productivity of oilseeds (groundnut, soyabean, rapeseed and mustard, sunflower, safflower, sesame, niger, linseed and castor), and area expansion of oil palm and tree-borne oilseeds (olive, mahua, kokum, wild apricot, neem, jojoba, karanja, simaroba, tung, cheura and jatropha) in the country. The scheme comprises of sub-missions such as NFSM-Oilseeds, NFSM-Oil Palm and NFSM-Tree Borne Oilseeds, he said.

Efficacy of MSP

To a query on the efficacy of MSP (minimum support price), the Minister said the NITI Aayog had released a study entitled ‘Efficacy of Minimum Support Prices on farmers’ in 2016, covering 14 States, 36 districts, 72 blocks, 144 villages and 1440 households.

The study has found, among other things, that MSP declared by the government has encouraged 78 per cent of the farmers covered under the study to adopt improved methods of farming such as high-yielding varieties of seeds, organic manure, chemical fertilizer, pesticides and improved methods of harvesting, etc., he said.