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The fertilizer industry presents itself as one of the most energy-intensive sectors within the Indian economy and is therefore of particular interest in the context of both local and global environmental discussions.
Agricultural growth is mainly dependent on advances in farming technologies and increased use of chemical fertilizers. The effectiveness of fertilizers can only be assured if applied in optimal combination specific to the local soil and climatic conditions.
The Government has been encouraging Indian Companies to establish Joint Ventures abroad in Countries which are rich in fertilizer resources for production facilities with buy-back arrangements and to enter into long term agreement for the supply of fertilizers and fertilizer inputs to India.
Further, the Department is also working to have access to the acquisition of the fertilizer raw materials abroad. The government ensured that production, movement and sale of fertilizers remained uninterrupted during the lockdown and thereafter. Fertilizer and allied activities were exempted from lockdown restrictions.
Railways waived penalties of demurrage and wharfage and priority was given for berthing of ships, discharge and movement of fertilizers from ports. Companies producing phosphatic & potassic (P&K) fertilizers are operated under a partially decontrolled environment.
But the sector suffers from unfair competition from imports. Taxation regimes including customs duty and GST are harming the viability of domestic production. It is reflected in the low capacity utilization of plants manufacturing complex fertilizers.
A large number of restrictions in the marketing of fertilizers inhibit innovation in the transportation, storage and sale of fertilizers. This does not permit cost optimization. But more importantly, many times these restrictions affect the timely supply of fertilizers in certain parts of the country.
Major fertiliser cooperative IFFCO Ltd. announced that the Indian government’s Patent Office has granted it a 20-year patent on its ground-breaking nanotechnology-based fertilisers nano urea and nano DAP.
In the nation, urea and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) are the two most commonly used fertilisers. According to a statement from IFFCO, the Indian government has granted them a 20-year patent for their nano versions.
By lowering the cost of agricultural inputs, this intellectual property of IFFCO Nano Urea and Nano DAP would enhance the Indian economy.
Farmers and the environment both benefit from Iffco’s nano urea and nano DAP next-generation fertilisers. The reduction of soil, air, and water pollution will be made possible by these items.
The Indian Fertilizer market is estimated at $XX Billion in 2020, growing at XX% CAGR till 2026.
Indian Potash Limited (IPL), which is part of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers’ Department of Fertilizers, has signed an MoU with Israel Chemicals Limited (ICL) for the delivery of Muriate of Potash (MOP) in the range of 6 to 6.5 LMT per year.
It’s a big step toward making MOP more widely available in the country. This would help to boost agricultural production in the country, consequently improving the lives of farmers.
It gives me great pleasure to report that M/s. Israel Chemicals Limited (ICL) is also collaborating with Indian Potash Limited (IPL) on a project titled “Potash for Life focusing on attaining improved fertiliser use efficiency” with the goal of increasing farmers’ income.
Also Indorama India Private Limited has been granted permission by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to acquire Indo Gulf Fertilisers (IIPL). The proposed combination involves IIPL purchasing Indo Gulf Fertilisers, Grasim Industries Limited’s (‘GIL/Seller’) fertiliser division, as a going concern on a slump sale basis.
IIPL is largely in the business of producing, trading, and selling fertilisers, primarily phosphatic fertilisers and specialty plant nutrients. GIL makes viscose staple fibre, chloralkali, fertiliser (through Target Business), textiles, and insulators.
Indo Gulf Fertilisers specialises in urea, customised fertilisers, agri-inputs, crop protection, plant and soil health products, and specialised fertilisers.
In 2020, Coromandel introduced four new technologically superior products in the Nutrient business. Crop Protection portfolio was strengthened by introducing six new chemistry products and leveraging technology to improve the solutions in the areas of soil health, crop diagnostics, nutrient and agrochemical recommendations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption in the areas of digital marketing, farmer and dealer engagement and supply chains. FY 20-21 likely to be a defining year for ag-tech adoption by the farmers.
Indian agriculture has been constrained by the structural limitations and resource constraints – small landholdings, monsoon dependency and lack of output marketing infrastructure, which has severely impacted its productivity.
With further resource shrinkage and the need to feed an ever-increasing population, agriculture needs to reinvent itself, adopt smart technologies and sustainable agriculture practices. Tata Chemicals has been working for climate change mitigation by reducing carbon footprint.
Their emissions reduction targets for operations in India, North America, Europe and Kenya have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, being consistent with levels required to keep global warming to a well below 2°C.
The Indian Fertilizer industry is predominantly dependent on imports either for the raw material & intermediaries or for finished products. Further for manufacturing technology also, the country is completely dependent on big foreign players for the technology license for setting up of new plants as well as for technological up-gradation of existing plants.
The country has several institutions conducting extensive research on the subjects focused primarily on agriculture, however, there is no dedicated research institution in the country which is exclusively devoted to research in the fertilizer sector.
There is a growing need for setting up a National Level Research & Development Centre, exclusively devoted to the promotion of research in the fertilizer sector. The chemical fertilizer industry is operated in a hazardous environment and faces many risks including those related to health, safety and the environment in addition to general business & financial risks.
To mitigate them, the Companies have a comprehensive Risk Management Policy that is regularly reviewed and a periodical review of the risks, procedures and strategies is undertaken.
Currently, there are many challenges being faced by the Fertilizer Industry which needs to be addressed including delay in payment of subsidy due to inadequate subsidy budget for fertilizers set by the Government of India, over regulations and procedural delays, unviable investment by Industry on energy saving schemes to meet the stiff energy norms fixed under New Urea Policy (NUP-2015).
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