Urea Efficiency: Challenges and Fortification Solutions

Urea Efficiency: Challenges and Fortification Solutions
Posted on 14-08-2023

Enhancing Urea Efficiency: Addressing Challenges and the Need for Fortification

The recent launch of 'Urea Gold,' a sulphur-fortified urea fertilizer, by India's Prime Minister has sparked discussions on improving the efficiency of urea usage in agriculture. This article delves into the consumption patterns of fertilizers in India, concerns regarding rising urea usage, government initiatives to reduce its consumption, the introduction of Urea Gold, and the challenges associated with its adoption.

Fertilizer Consumption Scenario:

Fertilizers provide vital nutrients to crops for optimal growth and yield, categorized as primary, secondary, and micro nutrients. The success of the Green Revolution was fueled by high doses of fertilizers, significantly boosting grain production. Over time, the yield response to fertilizers has diminished due to disproportionate nutrient application by farmers.

Concerns over Urea Consumption:

India's annual urea consumption ranks second globally after China, with imports accounting for a considerable share. Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE), the ratio of utilized nitrogen to applied nitrogen, has declined, resulting in excessive application to achieve the same yield.

Government Efforts to Reduce Urea Consumption:

The Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) system introduced in 2010 aims to promote balanced fertilization by setting subsidies for individual nutrients. Initiatives like neem coating and liquid 'Nano Urea' were launched to control urea usage, but consumption trends have been inconsistent.

Introduction of Urea Gold:

'Urea Gold' is fortified with sulphur (S) along with nitrogen (N), addressing soil deficiencies in sulphur. This formulation aims to improve NUE by gradually releasing nitrogen, reducing frequent application.

Challenges and the Way Forward:

Pricing is a key challenge, as fortified fertilizers need to strike a balance between premium rates and subsidy support. Uniform distribution of micronutrients through factory-applied coatings is a critical aspect for effective adoption.

In conclusion, as India strives to enhance agricultural productivity while minimizing environmental impact, innovations like Urea Gold highlight the path toward more efficient fertilizer usage. However, addressing challenges related to pricing and implementation will be crucial to ensure the successful adoption of such fortified fertilizers.

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