FERTILIZERS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Agriculture)

News-CRUX-10     2nd May 2024        
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Context: Recently, the government's key goal after the Lok Sabha elections is likely to focus on balanced fertilization, aiming to deter farmers from excessive application of urea, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), or muriate of potash (MOP) with high concentrations of primary nutrients.


  • About: It is a substance, either natural or artificial, that contains chemical elements essential for plant growth and productivity.
  • Role: Fertilizers augment the natural fertility of soil by replenishing chemical elements depleted by previous crops or by enhancing soil fertility directly.
  • Fertilizers to Enhance Soil Fertility: In situations where soil fertility is inadequate, natural or manufactured materials, commonly referred to as fertilizers, can be added to supply essential plant nutrients.
  • Composition of Fertilizers: While the term "fertilizers" typically encompasses largely inorganic materials, it generally excludes lime or gypsum, which serve distinct purposes in soil management.
  • Diammonium phosphate fertilizer: It is perfect for any agriculture crop to provide full phosphorus nutrition throughout crop growth and development, as well as a starter dose of nitrogen and low sulfur.
  • Muriate of Potash (MOP): It is the most concentrated form of granular potassium and typically the most cost-effective. The even granule size of MOP allows for accurate spreading.

Nutrient-Based Subsidy

  • About: Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) is a mechanism wherein the subsidy is provided to fertilisers based on their nutrient content rather than a flat rate for all fertilisers.
  • Implementation: The NBS scheme was implemented from April 1, 2010.
  • Fertilizer Covered: Nitrogen(N), Phosphorus(p), Potassium (K), and Sulphur(S).
  • Subsidized Fertilizers under NBS:

o NBS applies to fertilizers like Di Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), Muriate of Potash (MOP), Mono Ammonium Phosphate (MAP), Triple Super Phosphate (TSP), Single Super Phosphate (SSP), Ammonium Sulphate (AS), and 16 grades of complex fertilizers.

  • Objective: The primary goal of NBS is to ensure the balanced use of fertilisers and promote the application of required nutrients to enhance soil fertility.
  • Fortification/Coating Incentive:

o Fortified/coated variants of subsidized P&K fertilizers, adhering to Fertilizer Control Order (FCO) provisions for Boron and Zinc, receive additional per tonne subsidies.

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