The Centre has pegged lower the consumption of urea and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) while raising the expected sales of muriate of potash (MOP) and complex fertilizer during kharif 2024 against the actual sales of these crop nutrients last year. The government prepares the demand estimates for all fertilisers before every season on the basis of feedback received from the States.

According to the latest official data, demand for urea in the current kharif season, starting from April 1, is estimated to be 177.13 lakh tonnes (lt), down by 4 per cent from actual sales of 183.95 lt in kharif 2023. Similarly, DAP demand has been pegged at 59.87 lt for Kharif 2024, lower by 6 per cent from actual sales of 63.96 lt in Kharif 2023.

On the other hand, MOP demand this season is likely to be 10.26 lt, which will be 33 per cent more than actual sales of 7.72 lt in the last kharif. Sales of complex fertilisers are seen to be 74.16 lt, 16 per cent more than 64.23 lt sold last season.

All four types of fertilisers combined may see a total demand of 321.42 lt in current season, a notch higher than 319.86 lt actual sales recorded during April-September period of of last year.

How Govt calculates

Though fertiliser purchased in September is used in rabi season and there is also similar overlapping when it is bought in March, the government calculates for the purpose of fertiliser demand as April-September period Kharif season and October-March for Rabi season.

“It is surprising as last year the monsoon was “below normal” whereas this year every agency is predicting a “normal” monsoon. Fertiliser usage has a direct linkage with rainfall particularly in rainfed areas. A higher demand estimate should have been ideal for this year to prepare for adequate availability,” said Agriculture Scientist S K Singh.

However, official sources said that except in case of MOP, the demand estimates are higher in all other fertilisers when compared with demand for Kharif 2023. Total demand of urea, DAP, MOP and complex fertilisers were estimated at 303.61 lt for last kharif and sales exceeded it.

Fertiliser minister Mansukh Mandaviya in February said India’s conventional urea consumption would likely decline by 25 lt in 2023-24 fiscal on increase in demand of nano liquid urea and the government’s efforts to discourage use of chemical nutrients. Urea consumption was 357 lt during FY23.

The overall sales of urea during April-February of last fiscal was recorded at 341.2 lt against 341.2 lt in the year-ago period.