For the first time in the last many decades, India will not import any urea for kharif season requirements as current stocks exceed the estimated demand, potentially helping the government to avert any shortages and ensure stable foodgrain production.

Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday said there will be no shortage of fertilisers in the upcoming kharif sowing season as the domestic production and stocks-in-hand estimated at 19.43 million tonnes (mt) will be sufficient to meet the local demand of about 18 mt.

Though urea that is being imported under long-term supply agreements will be utilised in the next winter season, there will be no requirement for import to meet kharif (summer-sown) demand, the minister said. The country will also not need to import complex (combination of N, P, K nutrients) fertilisers, he said.

Imports up 1.4%

During April-January of current fiscal, urea import has jumped 1.4 per cent to 7.31 mt with sales increasing by 7.3 per cent to 31.85 mt and there was low opening stock last year. Officials said the main reason for controlling the import despite higher demand was increase in domestic production as well as additional use of nano urea.

The domestic production of urea in April-January surged 12.8 per cent to 23.72 mt, official data show. There have been revival of some closed urea plants during this period that helped augment domestic availability, officials said. The estimated opening stock as on April 1 this year is 5.5 mt while domestic production at 13.93 mt during the next six months.

On the other hand, Mandaviya said there will be some import of DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) to meet the local demand. He, however, sidestepped on the issue of the availability of MoP (muriate of potash) — a key nutrient in horticulture and plantation crops.

Briefing media, Mandaviya said the government has made elaborate planning for fertiliser demand and supply for the upcoming Kharif season. Though sowing will commence with the arrival of monsoon (normal onset on Kerala coast is around June 1), the fertiliser season starts from April as the government ensures its availability before farmers begin planting.

Nano urea output

Similarly, the opening stock of DAP is seen at 2.5 mt and production at 2 mt, taking the total availability to 4.5 mt for the kharif season, against the requirement of 5.88 mt. The availability of complex fertiliser is estimated to be 7.72 mt against the demand of 6.37 mt. But the availability of MoP (which is 100 per cent imported) is seen at 0.4 mt against the demand of 1.98 mt.

On nano urea, the minister said the annual production capacity has reached to 17 crore bottles and will touch 44 crore bottles by November 2025, which is equivalent to 20 mt of conventional urea. As the current urea production capacity has exceeded 26 mt, with the use of nano urea, the total availability will be over 46 mt in terms of conventional urea by 2025, which will be much higher than current annual demand of about 36 mt.

“If there will be surplus, we will export,” Mandaviya said. The urea subsidy has already reached ₹1,42,332 crore as on January 31 in the current fiscal.