The government said on Sunday that established procedures had been fully followed while tentatively approving nano-urea based on encouraging field results and feedback from agricultural scientists at ICAR and state universities.
In June 2021, the IFFCO cooperative launched nano urea in liquid form as an alternative to conventional urea. It has set up manufacturing plants to produce nano-urea and also sells in the market.
In a statement, the Department of Chemicals and Fertilizers said: “It is clarified that the established and existing procedure for registering any fertilizer for notification under the Fertilizers Control Order (FCO) 1985 has been fully taken into account”.
The process has not been accelerated, the ministry said.
Nano-urea was notified provisionally under the FCO based on the existing procedure for introducing fertilizers under the FCO, 1985, which requires data for only two seasons, he added.
“Nano-urea has been provisionally notified under the FCO based on the encouraging results and feedback received from scientists at ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) and state agricultural universities,” the statement read. while clarifying certain reports.
The Central Fertilizer Committee (CFC), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, also recommended nano-urea based on the necessary data and deliberations in this regard, the ministry said.
Additionally, the Department of Biotechnology was also referred for safety and biosafety issues.
“Only after being satisfied with efficacy, biosafety and biotoxicity was nano-urea placed under FCO as a separate category of nano-fertilizers,” the ministry said.
The government said the data is not limited to two seasons and that research as well as farmers’ field trials have been ongoing for more than four seasons. No less than 11,598 trials have been carried out since the 2019-20 agricultural campaign (July-June).
“Consistent results were recorded without any detriment to soil health/fertility,” the statement said.
For the evaluation of nano-urea, the ministry said ICAR research institutes and state agricultural universities have been at the forefront of nano-urea testing.
“Different aspects associated with crop productivity; reduction of fertilizer dosage, profitability of farmers were addressed through these trials,” he noted.
The ministry has also listed some key state agricultural research institutes/universities engaged in nanourea trials.
The summary of the results of nano-urea application in different locations and agro-climatic regions revealed that foliar application of nano-urea at critical growth stages of crops like rice, wheat, maize, tomato, cucumber and capsicum, etc., led to a reduction in the application of nitrogen fertilizers.
Application also increases yield by 3-23% in wheat; 5 to 11% in tomato; 3-24 percent in paddy/rice; 2 to 15% in corn, 5% in cucumber and 18% in pepper.
“Nano-fertilizers are novel in that they offer a huge opportunity to address the challenges faced by current intensive agricultural practices that end up harming soil, air and water in the long term. “, said the ministry.
The government has said nano-fertilizers like nano-urea should be viewed holistically.
In July this year, Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that India may not need to import urea after 2025 as domestic production of conventional urea and nano liquid urea could be sufficient to meet domestic demand.
By FY25, approximately 440 million 500ml nano-urea bottles will be produced. This will equate to approximately 20 million tonnes of urea. It will take care of the 9 million tons that India imports each year.
The country’s domestic urea production is about 26 million tons, while the demand is about 35 million tons. And the gap is filled by imports.
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