A task force constituted for promoting balanced and sustainable use of chemical fertilisers has suggested bundling bio-fertiliser with urea bags. It has also asked government to promote drip-fertigation technique in which fertiliser is incorporated within the irrigation water by the drip system. It conserves 30-40% nutrients and cut down water use by 50%.
“We have been (told) to devise a mechanism for cutting use of chemicals and urea in agriculture. Recently, the Prime Minister has urged farmers to reduce use of urea. This has become necessary for conserving soil fertility,” said a senior agriculture ministry official.
He said the task force also suggested formulation of crop-wise nutrient requirements to curb excess use of chemicals and fertilisers. “All crops do not require the nutrients in the same ratio. So the application of nutrients in terms of fertiliser requirement should be in tune with nutrient ratio desired for that crop. Advisories should be issued,” said the official.
The official said urea should be brought under Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy for better subsidy management. Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidised fertilisers based on their nutrient content.
“Currently urea is sold at a fixed price decided by the government, irrespective of its cost. The price difference is being given to manufacturers as subsidy. This is promoting overuse of urea, whose overdose is harmful for soil fertility. Subsidy, subsequently, should be passed on directly in farmers’ bank accounts,” he said.