Policy

Smaller bags have reduced urea use: Minister

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on January 02, 2018

Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers

The government’s decision to reduce size of urea bags to 45 kg from 50 kg on account of better nitrogen use efficiency of neem-coated urea has brought down the urea consumption in the country by 10 per cent in 2016-17, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Rao Inderjit Singh told Lok Sabha in written reply on Tuesday.

The domestic consumption of neem-coated urea in the previous financial year was 296.14 lakh tonnes (lt) as compared to 306.35 lt and 306.10 lt in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively.

“One of the primary benefits of neem coating is the slow release of urea, which results in increased nitrogen use efficiency.

“Due to this, the consumption of neem-coated urea reduces as compared to normal urea,” Singh added. The overuse of urea, cheaper among fertilisers, has been a major environmental concern in the country for some time.

Since 2015, the Department of Fertiliser has made neem coating compulsory for both indigenously produced and imported urea sold in the country.

In September last year, the Centre asked fertiliser companies to introduce bags containing 45 kg instead of 50 kg and gave them a lead time of six months for the implementation of the policy.

Many fertiliser companies, however, are not happy with the decision as it would increase their cost. “The increase in number of bags handled and transported would add further to our cost whereas the price of urea is controlled by the government,” a fertiliser industry source said.

Meanwhile, Sunilam, former MLA in Madhya Pradesh Assembly and farmer leader, said farmers in areas where the government has introduced aadhaar-seeding for availing urea have been suffering as long queues and glitches in the system have resulted in shortage of of urea bags.

This has led to farmers buying fertiliser from black market, he said.

Published on January 02, 2018
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