New Delhi, January 13

Exuding confidence in India’s strength to move to alternate nutrients, Fertiliser Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said the country, as one of the biggest consumers, will set global fertiliser prices in 2024, and not the few suppliers who do so now.

Addressing a workshop on Single Super Phosphate (SSP) fertiliser, considered an alternative to Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP), the minister said: “ Fertiliser prices have so far been set by global players. In 2024, India will set the fertiliser price. I have told global suppliers that we can make available alternative fertilisers. India has done it in the case of DAP, by promoting SSP. We will ensure that farmers are not affected.”

Mandaviya also said he has been encouraging companies not to import DAP above a certain level and global prices have been falling as a result. “We will bring down DAP to below the $650/tonne level this month. By March-end, DAP will drop to its earlier price (before Russia-Ukraine war), he said.

Imported DAP dropped to $743/tonne in November 2022, from a peak of $945 in July. In August 2020, DAP was imported at $336/tonne, after which prices started climbing to reach their highest last year.

The minister also said many global suppliers have signed three-year agreements with Indian companies for assured supply. Global firms have realised that if India stays back, demand will not be created. If one country refuses to supply, another two countries should be made ready to meet the country’s import requirement, he added.

Exhorting SSP manufacturers to explore demand in neighbouring countries, Mandaviya offered to facilitate exports so that units can run to capacity. Against 120 lakh tonnes (lt) of installed capacity in 101 units, SSP production in 2022-23 is estimated at 55-56 lt, which the industry attributed it to low demand. Further, SSP sales were likely to drop by 9 per cent, industry officials said.

Responding to demands from SSP manufacturers, the minister said unless the industry wins back the confidence of farmers by not compromising on quality, domestic demand will not rise. The Fertiliser Secretary asked SSP manufacturers to emulate the model of the Australian wine industry, for which the government would provide all necessary support. In Australia, the wine industry assured it would maintain quality, and the government empowered them to take action against members who did not conform to standards.

Arvind Chaudhary, Director-General of the Fertiliser Association of India, said the industry is preparing a detailed proposal suggesting setting up two SSP Parks – one in Visakhapatnam on the east coast, and another in Bhavnagar on the west coast.