More and more urea

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It is ironic that while India ranks third in fertiliser use worldwide, it ranks 14 and 16 respectively in the production of rice and wheat. It is even more ironic that India’s fertiliser policy ensures precisely such a result.

Fertiliser use in India is dictated by the larger perceived need to increase foodgrain yield, itself a staple of post-independence agricultural policy. Foodgrain production has made a quantum jump from 50.8 mt in 1950-1951 to above 200 mt in 2000-2001. This is paralleled by an increase in fertiliser consumption, from 69,800 tonnes in 1950 to 16.7 mt in 2000-2001 (see graph: How it pans out).

The latter figure is a composite one; it points to the volume of use of 3 industrially produced fertilisers that mimic the properties of a soil’s primary nutrients