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Nano – Fertilizers

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Nano – Fertilizers

Context:

  • Recently, Union Home Minister launched liquid nanodiammonium phosphate (nano-DAP) developed by the Nano Biotechnology Research Centre (NBRC) (Kalol) of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO).
  • During the current fiscal, IFFCO plans to produce 50 million bottles (500 ml) of nano-DAP which will be scaled up to 180 million bottles by 2025-26.
  • According to Managing Director of IFFCO, by then imports of DAP might not be required; currently, India imports over 50 percent of its DAP requirement.
  • According to the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers by 2024-25, India will be producing around 440 million bottles of nano urea and after 2025 India need not import urea as domestic production of conventional and nano liquid urea could be sufficient to meet domestic demand.
  • Urea imports decreased from 9.83 million tons in 2020-21 to 9.13 million tons during 2021-22 and further down to 7.48 million tons during 2022-23.

What is Nano fertilizer?

  • Nano urea is urea in the form of a nanoparticle containing nitrogen particles of 20–50 nanometres in size.
  • It provides nitrogen to plants in liquid form as an alternative to conventional urea.
  • A 500ml bottle of nano urea is equivalent to a 45kg bag of conventional urea.
  • While the former is available to farmers for Rs 240 without any subsidy support, to supply the latter at the same price, the government has to give a subsidy of Rs 2410.
  • If all of the conventional urea is replaced by nano–urea, the urea subsidy can be brought down to zero.

  • Likewise, nano–DAP provides nitrogen and phosphate nutrients to plants in liquid form as an alternative to conventional DAP.
  • A 500ml bottle of nano-DAP is equivalent to a 50-kg bag of conventional DAP.
  • While the former is available to farmers for Rs 600 without any subsidy support, the latter is made available at more than double this price or Rs 1,350 and that too with the government giving a subsidy of Rs 2650.

Advantages of Nano fertilizers:

  • They increase soil fertility yield and quality parameters of the crop, they are nontoxic and less harmful to environment and humans, they minimize cost and maximize profit.

  • Nano particles increase nutrients use efficiency and minimizing the costs of environment protection.
  • Improvement in the nutritional content of crops and the quality of the taste.
  • Optimum use of iron and increase protein content in the grain of the wheat.
  • Enhance plants growth by resisting diseases and improving stability of the plants by anti-bending and deeper rooting of crops also suggested that balanced fertilization to the crop plant may be achieved through nanotechnology.
  • Nano fertilizers can easily penetrate into the seed and increase availability of nutrient to the growing seedling which result healthy and more shoot length and root length but if concentration is more than the optimum it may show inhibitory effects on the germination and seedling growth of the plant.

Drawbacks of Nano Fertilizers:

  • Lack of a nano-fertilizer risk management system
  • Lack of production and availability of nano fertilizers in required quantities. This limits the wider scale adoption of nano-fertilizers as a source of plant nutrients.
  • The high cost of nano fertilizers
  • Lack of standardization in the formulation process. This brings about different results of the same nanomaterial under various pedoclimatic conditions.
  • Lack of awareness among the farmers
  • Farmers are less interested in risk taking
  • Sustainability of small and marginal farmers

Way forward:

Nano fertilizers can yield better results but they can’t perform miracles. For a ‘substantial’ and ‘sustainable’ reduction in subsidy, the government should implement long pending reforms such as the removal of all controls on fertilizers and direct benefit transfer (DBT) of subsidy to farmers.

Syllabus: Mains; GS III – Agriculture 

SOURCE: THE PIONEER

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