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India to be self-reliant in fertilisers production by 2023: Gowda

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New Delhi, Sep 13 (PTI) India will be self-reliant in fertiliser production by 2023 as new units are being set up with an investment of Rs 40,000 crore to reduce dependency on imports, Fertilisers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said on Sunday.

Addressing a webinar organised by cooperative IFFCO for farmers of Karnataka, the minister said the government is promoting nano fertilisers as these are 25-30 per cent cheaper and give 18-35 per cent higher yield, according to an official statement.

He lauded the IFFCO's experiment in nano fertilisers which has received good feedback from farmers and farm varsities.

'By 2023, India will be self-reliant in the production of fertilisers as under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' programme new fertiliser manufacturing units are being setup with an investment of Rs 40,000 crore in the country to reduce dependency on import,' Gowda said at the webinar.

Currently, the fertiliser production of the country is 42-45 million tonnes, and imports are at around 18 million tonnes, according to the official data.

To promote indigenous industries, the minister said all fertiliser companies are converting themselves to a gas-based technology.

Recently, four urea plants at Ramagundam, Sindhri, Barauni and Gorakhpur have been revived. 'By 2023, we should become self–sufficient in the production of fertilisers,' he added.

Talking about smart fertilisers, Gowda said that the government is encouraging the production of organic and nano fertilisers in the country as they are 25-30 per cent cheaper and give 18-35 per cent higher yield as well as keep the soil in good health.

He said IFFCO's nano experiment is a 'game changer' and informed that positive feedback has been received for nano fertilisers that were distributed freely to 12,000 farmers and agriculture universities across the country.

That apart, Gowda asked farmers to use urea judiciously according to their soil health cards.

More than 1500 farmers from Karnataka took part in the webinar. IFFCO's Managing Director U S Awasthi and its Marketing Director Yogendra Kumar as well as IFFCO Karnataka Marketing Manager Narayanaswamy besides agriculture scientists from University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore participated in the meeting.

In a separate statement, the government said Minister of State for Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya visited state-run National Fertilizers Ltd's Nangal plant in Punjab on Sunday.

The Nangal unit produces around 5 lakh tonnes of urea annually in addition to various types of industrial products like Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrite, Nitric Acid. The plant is one of the oldest fertiliser plants in the country.

Mandaviya also visited the Research and Development Farm of NFL Nangal Unit where high quality seeds are grown by the company in addition to extending Soil testing facilities for farmers. He interacted with a group of progressive farmers at the R&D Farm and distributed Soil Health Cards to some farmers, the statement added. PTI LUX MR