India will not need to import urea from 2026 with an expected rise in the domestic production of conventional urea and growth in liquid nano urea likely to bring in self-sufficiency, Fertilisers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.

In 2021-22, urea consumption dropped by 5 per cent to 332.83 lakh tonnes (lt) from the previous year’s 350.43 lt. The domestic urea (conventional) production is 260 lt, while about 90 lt are imported per year to meet local demand. The Centre will save foreign exchange of about ₹40,000 crore due to reduction in imports, officials said.

“As per our estimate, we will be self-sufficient in urea by end of 2025 and there will be no import dependence. Our domestic production of conventional urea and nano urea will be more than the demand,” the minister said.

Mandaviya said around 60 lakh tonnes of production capacity will be added for conventional urea, while the output of nano urea is estimated to rise to 44 crores bottles (of 500 ml each) per annum, equivalent to 200 lt of conventional urea.

Nano urea

Highlighting that adoption of nano urea by farmers has been encouraging, he said the liquid nutrient is effective for maintaining soil health as well as for increasing crop yield.

Availability of nano urea was 3,90,03,284 bottles (equivalent 7.8 lt conventional urea) and sales 2,87,25,822 bottles (5.75 lt) between August 2021 and June 2022.

Co-operative major IFFCO has introduced innovative nano urea in the market in 2021 after commercial production started at Kalol plant in Gujarat. IFFCO has also transferred the formula free of cost to some public sector firms to produce nano urea. At present, IFFCO has production capacity of 5 crore bottles per year.

One bottle of nano urea is equivalent to one bag of urea and officials claim its application can effectively lead to a reduction in soil, water and air pollution which happens due to the overuse of chemical fertilisers both at production and consumption levels. The simultaneous adoption of drone technology for sprays will help popularising nano urea, officials said. “Due to targeted foliage application, there is no wastage of nano urea,” an official said.

On the subsidy, officials said it is estimated to rise to nearly ₹2.5-lakh crore this fiscal from ₹1.62-lakh crore in the previous year. The subsidy of urea alone is seen at about ₹70,000 crore this fiscal.

Consumption of urea

Quantity (lakh tonnes)% change (from yr-ago

(With PTI inputs)