The government is set to commission three near-revitalized urea production units, with the apparent goal of graduating from an 80% reduction in import dependency to exporting the surplus, as experts predict a drop in consumption following the introduction of nano urea and the promotion of natural farming.
The Gorakhpur plant in Uttar Pradesh, which was commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December last year, is expected to start producing full capacity of 1.27 million tonnes (mt) per annum in the coming months, while the Ramagundam plant in Telangana state, depending on gas supply, it could be operational to full capacity (1.27 mt) around the month of June.
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Two other facilities, one in Sindri (Jharkhand) and the other in Barauni (Bihar), each with a capacity of 1.27 mt, could be operational by June, as 94 percent of the projects were completed by January.
Two further private-sector urea factories, one in Kota (Rajasthan) and the other in Panagarh (West Bengal), have already been operational, adding 2.6 million tonnes to the country’s urea capacity.
‘By the end of June, we anticipate production to rise to 31.8 mt, up from 24 mt in 2018-19, with demand hovering around 33 mt.’ So, when two more units, one in Talcher (Odisha) and the other in Namrup (Assam), could be commissioned, the country will reach self-sufficiency because production will exceed 34 mt,’ an official stated.
Adoption of nano-urea
However, some experts have suggested that the government should be prepared to export in the future because, with 100% capacity utilization, there may be a surplus as nano-urea use grows and the natural farming campaign finds traction.
‘Nano urea will significantly reduce present urea usage in bags.’ Green ammonia, which is the next step in reducing urea, has also been discussed by the administration. Because the dosage will be very low, resulting in a surplus while also promoting balanced fertilizer use, the government should prepare to take up the market vacated by China, according to Vijay Sardana, an agriculture and food policy specialist.
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Last year, China banned the export of urea to meet domestic demand, causing global prices to skyrocket to new highs. In the aftermath of the war in Ukraine and following sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, Russia has recently curtailed outbound shipments.
Bharat Urea is a company based in India
Meanwhile, the government has been playing with the notion of launching a single brand of urea, Bharat Urea, at least for imported fertilizers if domestically manufactured crop nutrients are not practicable. According to reports, it reviewed the benefits and drawbacks of such an endeavor with industry officials last week as part of a proposed scheme called Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan-Urea Pariyojana.