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Dramatic fall in organic fertiliser production in India from 2017-18 to 2020-21: CSE report

IANS | April 25, 2022 04:54 PM

NEW DELHI: In 2020-21, India produced 3.88 million tonnes of organic fertilisers, a dramatic decrease from 338.72 million tonne in 2017-18, a new report said adding that a targeted, ambitious, and well-funded nationwide programme is needed to drive the change towards organic and natural farming.

The Centre has initiated several schemes and programmes through which it promotes production and use of biofertilisers and organic fertilisers.

These schemes include those aimed at farmers to promote organic and natural farming such as Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North-Eastern Region, National Food Security Mission and National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm.

"However, the sum total of funds spent on these schemes and programmes is dwarfed by the annual subsidy provided on chemical fertilisers. For example, the total organic farming practicing area covered under these schemes and programmes is only about 2.7 per cent of India's net sown area of 140.1 million hectare, " said the CSE report State of Biofertilisers and Organic Fertilisers in India.

Between 2018 and 2021, a sum of only Rs 994 crore was released for Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Rs 416 crore for the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for Northeastern Region, and about Rs 4 crore for biofertilisers under the National Food Security Mission.

Total subsidy on chemical fertilisers is steeply growing every year. In 2020-21, the annual subsidy bill was Rs 1, 31, 230 crore, which is more than 10 times the subsidy bill in 2001-02 (Rs 12, 908 crore). The subsidy bill has grown sharply from 2019-20, when it was Rs 83, 468 crore, partly due to rising international prices leading to higher subsidies on imported fertilisers.

Providing details of production of organic fertilisers, the report mentioned that in 2017-18, Bihar led with 30 per cent production of organic fertilisers in India and was followed by Gujarat and Jharkhand.

In 2018-19, Karnataka was the biggest producer of organic fertilisers, with a 94 per cent share in countrywide production. The state continued to be the leading producer in 2019-20, but its share dropped to 64 per cent. In that year, Andhra Pradesh had the second biggest share. In 2020-21, with a share of 63 per cent, Chhattisgarh led the countrywide production of organic fertilisers and Karnataka slipped to the second spot.

In 2020-21, India produced 3.88 million tonnes of organic fertilisers, a dramatic decrease from 338.72 million tonne in 2017-18. The reasons for the steep fall in national production of organic fertilisers within a span of three years, or the manner in which state-wise shares in the total production have changed substantially between years, are not clear, the latest report from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has pointed out.

However, there are some things to look forward to. In 2020-21, the total production of liquid biofertilisers in India was about 26, 442 kilolitres (kl), which marked a growth of about 552 per cent over the 2014-15 figures and when it comes to carrier-based solid biofertilisers, in 2020-21, India produced about 1, 34, 323 tonnes, a growth of about 435 per cent over the 2008-09 figure and 83 per cent over the 2018-19 figure.

Pointing out that in 2017, India had 424 carrier-based solid biofertiliser manufacturing units and 108 for liquid biofertiliser manufacturing units, the CSE report said, "The production capacities are not optimally utilised by all states. There is also lack of compiled countrywide information on companies, registered biofertiliser products and authorisations given at the Central level."

Production and availability of biofertilisers and organic fertilisers must be ensured, and their use must be promoted through a multi-pronged approach by the Centre and states, the report recommended and suggested several steps to ease out the creases in the field.

Biofertilisers are ready to use live formulates of beneficial microorganisms that on application to seed, root or soil mobilise nutrients through their biological activity in particular and help in building up the micro-flora and soil health in general.

Organic fertilisers consist of decomposed organic material derived from animal, human and plant residues. They are of different types depending on the source of the organic material and nature of composting. For example, organic manure is a mix of cattle dung and plant residues, while vermicompost is developed with the help of earthworms.

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