Nanourea, a revolution in the agricultural sector, says the Union Minister

Nano urea is a revolution in agriculture. This will reduce storage space and money while improving yield, said Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers.

He was speaking at the foundation laying ceremony for South India’s first nano-urea (liquid) production plant by IFFCO at Naganayakanahalli in Devanahalli Taluk on Thursday evening.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai laid the foundation stone for the factory. It is estimated that the plant will be built in 15 months, at a cost of Rs 350 crore, on 12 acres of KIADB land. It is planned to produce 5 crore bottles of 500ml each per year.

This is the second nano-urea production plant in India. The other is operational in Gujarat and produces 1.5 lakh bottles per day.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, State Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Bhagwanth Khuba and others attended the occasion.

“The fertilizer subsidy had stopped many innovations in agriculture. Nano-urea will reduce the burden of government subsidies, even if the price of urea increases in the international market. It will also reduce the import of urea,” Mandaviya said.

This can be sprayed using drones and will protect soil quality, thereby increasing yield. Trials are in their final stages, he added.

Nano DAP is also in the trial phase and India is on the verge of becoming self-sufficient in fertilizer, he added.

“The Prime Minister had ordered that the price of fertilizer should not increase even if the subsidy increases and there should not be a shortage either. India has not faced a shortage of fertilizers for the past two years,” Mandaviya said. The scientists and IFFCO took up the challenge to become self-sufficient and came up with an indigenous nano-product, he added.

Addressing the assembly, the Chief Minister thanked the Union Government for choosing the state for this project. He compared granular urea to chemotherapy causing collateral damage, saying it pollutes soil and water. He called nano-urea a “farmer’s friend” that saves them transportation costs and storage space while helping them get a better yield.

The Karnataka government has signed agreements with two companies for the manufacture of ammonia from seawater, one of the plants is being set up near Mangaluru, he said.

What is liquid nanourea?

Liquid nano-urea is urea in liquid form with a smaller particle size compared to conventional urea. Cheaper than conventional urea, nano-urea is expected to reduce environmental pollution caused by the granular form, by reducing its excessive application.

It has been tested on over 90 crops at 11,000 sites in India. Half a liter of nano-urea at the price of Ra 240 can replace approximately one bag of conventional urea.

When sprayed on the leaves, nanourea penetrates through pores and other openings and is taken up by plant cells. Unused nitrogen is stored in the plant vacuole and is slowly released for proper plant growth and development. The small size (20-50 nm) of nanourea increases its availability for crops by more than 80%.

This was locally developed through the proprietary technology of the Nano-Biotechnology Research Center (NBRC) of Indian Farmers’ Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO) at Kalol, Gandhinagar district. It has been found to increase crop yield by 8%. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first liquid nano-urea plant by IFFCO near Kalol town in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in May this year. The nano urea liquid is expected to potentially replace 13.7 million tonnes of conventional urea usage by 2023 and is expected to save Rs 40,000 crore in foreign currency.

Lana T. Arthur