India being a highly populated country, achievement of food security has been the prime agenda of the government over the years. Food grain production is inextricably linked with fertiliser consumption, both of which have seen a phenomenal growth in the country during the past four decades. Total nutrient consumption—nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N+P+K) has gone up from 0.78 mt in 1965-66 to 25.58 mt in 2012-13, while food grain production has increased from 72.35 mt to 255.36 mt during the same period. India ranks second in the world in terms of fertiliser nutrient consumption, next only to China. However, per hectare consumption of fertiliser in India is lower compared to many other countries, even the neighbouring ones. The pattern of fertiliser use is also skewed. Before embarking on a state wise analysis, a brief look into the factors which influence fertiliser use is warranted.
Soil characteristics: The use of fertiliser depends upon the fertility status of the soil. Soil characteristics should be known before the application of fertilisers and doses determined based on the recommendations of the soil test analysis.
Rainfall and irrigation: In India, about 75 per cent of the total rainfall is received from the south west monsoon (June-September) and both, agriculture and fertiliser use is heavily dependent upon it. If monsoon fails there is shrinkage in the use of fertiliser and vice versa. Significantly, rainfall also influences fertiliser use in irrigated areas.
Quality and improved seeds: Fertiliser demand is influenced by availability of high yielding variety seeds, which require high fertiliser use for better results.
Crop type: Quantum of fertiliser use depends upon the type of crops grown. Fertiliser use per hectare is relatively more in high value/commercial crops—fruits and vegetables, sugarcane, tea, tobacco, etc., as compared to cereals and pulses.
Credit availability: Purchasing power of the majority of the farmers in India is weak. They are thus unable to buy the entire requirement and have to depend on credit from either financial institutions (commercial banks, cooperatives) or private sources. If credit availability is adequate, a rise in demand for fertilisers may be seen.
Fertiliser price: Average share of fertiliser price to total cost of cultivation is about 20 per cent. A steep increase in fertiliser prices not compensated through proportionate amount of subsidy may result in a fall in consumption.
Output price: The price of output also influences fertiliser use. If it is attractive, farmers do not hesitate to spend more on fertilisers, which is why per hectare use of fertiliser is high in commercial crops.
It is against this backdrop that state wise pattern of fertiliser use is narrated.
State-Wise Fertiliser Use
The fertiliser industry in India has been cooperating with the government in ensuring required quantity of various fertilisers across the country over the years. Fig. 1 shows the pattern of fertiliser use in different states with per hectare consumption and NPK use ratio during 2011-12. The ideal nutrient ratio of NPK usage is 4:2:1—however in most regions it is skewed against the ratio with a propensity to use larger quantities of N (urea) as it is cheaper.
The major fertiliser consuming states in the east zone are Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Jharkhand accounting for 14 per cent of the total fertiliser nutrient consumption in the country. The share of other states falling in the zone—Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura account for merely 0.1 per cent of total consumption of fertiliser in the country. There is a wide variation in per hectare fertiliser use from 2.4 kg in Arunachal Pradesh or 3.2 kg in Nagaland to 192 kg in Bihar and 169 kg in West Bengal. Fertility status of soil in the states of east zone is low to medium in case of nitrogen and phosphate and medium in case of potash. NPK use ratio is around 4.2:1.8:1 in the east zone. Urea, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), single super phosphate (SSP) and muriate of potash (MoP) are the main products used in the states of east zone.
Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand are the major fertiliser consuming states in the north zone. These four states account for about 28 per cent of the total fertiliser consumption in the country. The share of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir is however less than 1 per cent. UP ranks first having 15 per cent share in the all India consumption. Per hectare consumption is more than 200 kg in Haryana (220 kg) and Punjab (243 kg), while it is 168 kg in UP and 142 kg in Uttarakhand. Fertility status of soil in the states of north zone is low to medium in case of nitrogen and phosphate and medium to high in the case of potash. Use of N is high and P medium and K low in the north zone—the ratio of NPK use being 20.4: 6.8: 1. Urea, DAP, SSP and MoP are the main products used in the states; also the use of MoP is relatively less (10 per cent) in the zone compared to states in the other zones.
The major fertiliser consuming states in the south zone are Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. These four states account for about 26 per cent of the total fertiliser nutrient consumption in the country. Andhra Pradesh ranks second with a share of 12 per cent in all India consumption, while Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a negligible share of 0.08 per cent. Fertility status of soil in the states of south zone is low to medium in case of N and P and medium to high in case of K. NPK use ratio in the zone is 3.9:2.2:1. Most of the fertilisers including urea,
DAP, SSP, MoP and various grades of NP/NPK fertilisers are being used in the states of this zone. Continued promotional work undertaken by the fertiliser industry facilitated the use of a variety of fertilisers for balanced fertiliser usage in this zone.
Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are the major fertiliser consuming states in the west zone. These five states account for 31 per cent of the total fertiliser consumption in the country. The share of Goa, Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli falling in the zone is negligible (0.03 per cent). Maharashtra ranks third with a share of 11 per cent in all India consumption. Per hectare consumption is less than 200 kg in all the states—142 kg in Gujarat, 126 kg in Maharashtra and 105 kg in Chhattisgarh. It is lower than 100 kg in the remaining states—86 kg in Madhya Pradesh and 52 kg in Rajasthan. Fertility status of soil in the states of west zone is low to medium in case of N and P and medium to high in case of K while NPK ratio is more or less balanced, except in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Overall NPK use ratio of the zone is 7.3:4:1. Most of the fertilisers including urea, DAP, SSP, MoP and various grades of NP/NPK fertilisers are being used in the states of west zone. Availability of various products, and promotional and extension work done by the industry, has led to the use of a variety of fertilisers in this zone.
Fertiliser consumption in India has witnessed a phenomenal increase over the past four decades. India has attained self-sufficiency in food grain production, primarily due to increase in fertiliser use along with high yielding variety seeds and irrigation during the period. The Indian government has passed the Food Security Bill in the Parliament recently. This act will facilitate 62 mt of food grains to be distributed at a subsidised price to 74 per cent of the population every year. In this context, fertiliser is needed to be given due importance. There is a need for balanced and integrated use of primary, secondary and micro nutrients to obtain higher productivity of food grain and other crops. To fulfill this objective, congenial policy environment is required so that the fertiliser industry is able to supply the required quantity of this vital input to the farmers in a sustained manner.