Use of nanotechnology for plant nutrients to halve urea usage and raise productivity

New Delhi: The government has approved the use of nanotechnology for plant nutrients, a decision which is expected to halve the use of urea and increase productivity by 15%. “The Central Fertiliser Committee, the regulatory body of fertiliser products, has approved the usage of nano nitrogen after a year-long field trial. Now nano nitrogen will soon be commercially available to farmers,” said a fertiliser ministry official, who did not wish to be identified. “This will help cut our dependence on import. Last year we had imported more than 9 million tonnes of urea.”

The approval is initially for three years, which may be extended after a proper review of its commercial use, said the official.

“Since the technology is new, we need to ensure that it has no adverse impact on the environment and human health. We will keep a close watch on the results of this product,” he said.

Nano nitrogen is a patent product of IFFCO. It is in liquid form and 500 ml of nano nitrogen is equivalent to a 50 kg bag of urea in its impact.

The consumption of urea in the country has reached about 35 million tonnes, with 70% manufactured in India. The use of urea puts a financial burden on the government, which pays more than 70% subsidy on urea to ensure cheaper fertiliser for farmers.

“Since there will be no subsidy on nano nitrogen, the subsidy burden of the government will also ease with nano nitrogen replacing urea usage. The government pays a subsidy of over 50,000 to urea companies,” said the official. Fertiliser maker IFFCO had launched field trials of nano nitrogen last year across 9,000 sites in the country with the support of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

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According to IFFCO, the cost of one bottle of nano nitrogen will be 240, which is less than a bag of urea costing 266.

“We are planning to set up a unit at Kalol, Gujarat, after getting clearance from the ministries concerned. We hope production will start in the first week of April 2021,” said IFFCO managing director US Awasthi.



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