Fertilizers have played a vital role in the success of India’s green revolution and consequent self-reliance in foodgrains production. The increase in fertilizer consumption has contributed significantly to sustainable production in foodgrains in the country. Fertilizer is generally defined as “any material, organic or inorganic, one or more of the chemical elements required for plant growth”
India is the third largest fertilizer producer in the world. Fertilizer is a crucial input contributing to about 40 per cent of the productivity of the crop. With expanding agricultural production, improvement in technology and growing awareness among farmer, the consumption of agrochemicals has been on the upswing. The agrochemicals industry is made up of insecticides (74%), herbicides (20%) and fungicides (6%). India is one among the most dynamic generic pesticides manufacturing countries with a total market size of Rs 89 billion per annum. And yet, India’s own average consumption of pesticides is very low at 480gms per hectare which results in crops worth about Rs 120 billion being annually destroyed by pests. Crop protection has assumed special importance since foodgrains demand in the country is supposed to reach an estimated 343 million tonne by 2020.
The agrochemical industry is spread over around 20 large manufacturers and 600 formulators. While the organized sector contributes 55% to the industry’s output, the small scale sector makes up for the balance. The Indian industry has been focusing sharply on integrated crop management (ICM), increasing exports of genuine pesticides and concentrating on farmer friendly activities.
The pesticide industry is targeting a 10% share of global pesticides market and has been working on the ICM programme to introduce safer applications, spray devices and crop protection through balanced use of biological and chemical pesticide. The exports cover pesticide intermediates. Pesticides export from India was growing at the rate of 15% and is expected to witness a more accelerated growth. Spurious chemicals are growing at rates varying from 10% to 12% and have cornered a large chunk of the market.
The generic pesticide players include Excel Industries, Cheminova India, United Phosphorus, Rallis India, Aimco Pesticides, Bharat Rasayan, Bayer (India), Aventis, Meghmain Organics etc. producing a range of products like urea, DAP,MOP, Nitrogenous fertilizer(N), Phosphatic fertilizer(P), Potassic fertilizer(K) and NPK etc.
To conclude, fertilizer is a key ingredient in ensuring the food security of the country, as it increases the production and productivity of the soil. The domestic foodgrain production target has been set at 320 million tonnes by 2011-2012. This target can be achieved by higher productivity through improved farming practices, expansion of irrigation, better seeds and extensive and balanced use of fertilizers. Towards this end, the government of India is now planning to raise the production of urea by the end of 11th Five Year Plan by taking concrete steps to boost production and productivity. All these things show the definite growth of fertilizer industry in India.