A plan to import urea in advance by buying more than three times this October from a year ago has helped the government to maintain a steady supply of the key fertilizer as no State has so far complained of any shortage. Urea sales in October increased by 15 per cent from a year ago whereas the overall consumption during the first half of the fiscal surged by 8 per cent.

Both the timing and volume of imported urea is decided by the government and executed by four canalising agencies. Import was recorded at 15.33 lakh tonnes (lt) in October against 4.64 lt a year ago. In October 2020, 18.8 lt of urea was imported as the delivery was delayed from previous contracts due to Covid-19, experts said, adding that there was a record import of urea at 98.28 lt during the 2020-21 fiscal. “Last year, there was a shortage of both urea and DAP which the government has corrected with advance planning as this is a pre-election year and farmers cannot be antagonised. But there has to be some study on why sales are rising despite nano-urea marketed separately and also several schemes launched to reduce its usage,” said an official source.

H1 imports drop

Total sales of urea were 207.63 lt until October 31 in the current fiscal up from 192.61 lt in the corresponding period last year. Similarly, sales of Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) surged 19.6 per cent to 77.6 lt from 64.91 lt, Muriate of Potash (MOP) by 6.4 per cent to 9.31 lt from 8.75 lt and complex by 21.3 per cent to 74.03 lt from 61.01 lt year-ago.

Complex fertilizer is a combination of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potash (K) and sulphur (S) nutrients. According to latest official data, overall sales of all these key fertilizers have surged to 368.57 lt during April-October from 327.28 lt a year ago, up by 12.6 per cent.

Import of overall fertilizers dropped 3.3 per cent to 106.55 lt during April-October from 110.17 lt a year ago in which both DAP and complex registered a fall of 18 per cent, each. Complex import declined to 13.9 lt from 16.96 lt and DAP to 39.15 lt from 47.95 lt. But, MOP import surged 45.5 per cent to 15.58 lt from 10.71 lt.

Production of all fertilizers was up by 6.8 per cent to 297.8 lt from 278.94 lt, which included urea at 181.17 lt (against 163.44 lt year-ago), DAP 27.01 lt (23.61 lt), complex 56.43 lt (53.91 lt), SSP 29.64 lt (33.58 lt) and Ammonium Sulphate 3.55 lt (4.4 lt).