Indian Fertilizer Industry

By: EconomyWatch   Date: 29 April 2010

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India is primarily an agriculture based economy. The agricultural sector and its other associated spheres provide employment to a large section of the country's population and contribute about 25% to the GDP.

The Indian Fertilizer Industry is one of the allied sectors of the agricultural sphere. India has emerged as the third largest producer of nitrogenous fertilizers. The adoption of back to back Five Year plans has paved the way for self sufficiency in the production of food grains. In fact production has gone up to an extent that there is scope for the export of food grains. This surplus has been facilitated by the use of chemical fertilizers.

The large scale use of chemical fertilizers has been instrumental in bringing about the green revolution in India. The fertilizer industry in India began its journey way back in 1906. During this period the first Single Super Phosphate (SSP) factory was established in Ranipet in Chennai. It had a capacity of producing 6000 MT annually. In the pre and post independence era a couple of large scale fertilizer units were established namely the Fertilizer Corporation of India in Sindri, Bihar and the Fertilizer & Chemicals Travancore of India Ltd in Cochin, Kerala.

The Indian government has devised policies conducive to the manufacture and consumption of fertilizers. Numerous committees have been formed by the Indian government to formulate and determine fertilizer policies. The dramatic development of the fertilizer industry and the rise in its production capacity has largely been attributed to the favorable policies. This has resulted in large scale investments in all three sectors viz. public, private and co-operative.

At present there are 57 large scale fertilizer units. These manufacture an extensive range of phosphatic, nitrogenous and complex fertilizers. 29 of these 57 units are engaged in the manufacturing of urea, while 13 of them produce Calcium Ammonium Nitrate and Ammonium Sulphate. The remaining 20 fertilizer plants manufacture complex fertilizers and DAP. There are also a number of medium and small scale industries in operation, about 72 of them. The following table elucidates the installed capacity of each sector.




Sl. No

Sector

Capacity (LMT)

Percentage Share

N

P

N

P

1

Private Sector

53.94

35.13

44.73

62.08

2

Public Sector

34.98

4.33

29.0

7.65

3

Cooperative Sector

31.69

17.13

26.27

30.27

 

Total

120.61

56.59

100.0

100.0



The Department of Fertilizers is responsible for the planning, promotion and development of the Fertilizer industry. It also takes into account the import and distribution of fertilizers and also the financial aspect. There are four main divisions of the department. These include Fertilizer Imports, Movement and Distribution, Finance and Accounts, Fertilizers Projects and Planning and Administration and Vigilance. It makes an assessment of the individual requirements of the states and union territories and then lays out an elaborate supply plan.

Though the soil in India is rich in silt, it lacks chief plant nutrients like potassium, nitrogen and phosphate. The increase in the production of fertilizers and its consumption acts as a major contributor to overall agricultural development.

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