The Government of India is encouraging the production of Nano fertilisers in the country. The Department of Agriculture, Co-operation and Farmers Welfare vide notification No. S.O.884 (E) dated 24th February 2021 had notified for inclusion of any Nano fertiliser in Fertilizer Control Order (FCO) which will necessarily comply with the guidelines stipulated in the notification, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mansukh Mandaviya in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Further, in pursuance of Clause 20D of Fertilizer Control Order (FCO), the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare vide notification no S.O.885 (E) dated 24th February 2021 had notified the specification in respect of “ Nano urea (liquid) fertiliser” to be manufactured by Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) in India for a period of three years, Mandaviya further informed the lower house of Indian Parliament.
IFFCO has developed nanotechnology based Nano Urea (liquid) fertiliser that aims to address the imbalanced and excessive use of conventional urea. It further aims to improve crop productively, soil health and nutritional quality of the produce, the minister further added.
Why nano urea?
Urea forms 82 percent of the total nitrogenous fertilisers consumed in India and it has recorded exponential increase in consumption over the years. It is expected that urea consumption will touch 35 million MT during 2020-21. Around 30-50 percent of nitrogen from urea is utilised by plants and the rest gets wasted due to quick chemical transformation as a result of leaching, volatilisation and run off, thereby low use efficiency. The excess application of urea contributes to the greenhouse gas in the form of nitrous oxide lead to global warming. Nano Urea Liquid is environment friendly, smart fertiliser with high nutrient use efficiency and a sustainable solution for curtailing pollution and reduction in global warming in the long run as it reduces the emissions of nitrous oxide and doesn’t contaminate soil, air and water bodies. Thus, making it a promising alternative to the conventional urea, IFFCO had said during commencing commercial production of nano urea in June 2021.
According IFFCO, the size of one nano urea particle is about 30 nanometre (1 nm is one billionth of a meter), and when compared to the conventional urea it has about 10,000 times more surface area to volume size when compared to granular urea. Further, due to ultra-small size and surface properties of nano urea, it gets absorbed by the plants when sprayed on their leaves. Upon penetration these nanoparticles reaches to plant parts where nitrogen is required and release nutrients in a controlled manner.
It is required in lesser measure compared to the conventional urea fertiliser to fulfil plant’s nitrogen requirement. All India efficacy trials on over 40 crops by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) research institutes, state agricultural universities (SAUs), Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), and farmers at more than 11,000 locations have demonstrated that nano urea increases crop productivity and can reduce the requirement of conventional urea by 50 percent. Further, application of nano urea (liquid) improves yield, biomass, soil health and nutritional quality of the produce, according to IFFCO.
Nano urea has been tested for biosafety and toxicity as per the guidelines of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India and international guidelines developed by OECD which are adopted and accepted globally. Nano urea liquid is safe for human, animals, birds, rhizosphere organisms and environment at the recommended levels of application, according to the fertiliser manufacturer.