The government is likely to make the purchase of bio-fertiliser compulsory with every bag of urea bought by a farmer in order to promote organic nutrients and slash the use of chemical fertilisers.
A task force constituted for promoting balanced and sustainable use of chemical fertilisers has suggested bundling bio-fertiliser with urea bags. Also, it has asked the government to promote drip-fertigation. As a technique, drip-fertigation is used to attain higher yields with limited water. In this technique, the fertiliser is incorporated within the irrigation water by the drip system. It conserves 30-40% nutrients and cuts down water usage by 50%.
"We have been (told) to devise a mechanism for cutting use of chemicals and urea in agriculture. Recently, the Prime Minister has urged farmers to reduce use of urea. This has become necessary for conserving soil fertility," said a senior agriculture ministry official.
He said the task force also suggested formulation of crop-wise nutrient requirements to curb excess use of chemicals and fertilisers. This affects the quality of soil as well.
"All crops do not require the nutrients in the same ratio. So the application of nutrients in terms of fertiliser requirement should be in tune with nutrient ratio desired for that crop. Advisories should be issued," said the official, reported The Economic Times.
The official said urea should be brought under Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy for better subsidy management. Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidised fertilisers based on their nutrient content.
"Currently urea is sold at a fixed price decided by the government, irrespective of its cost. The price difference is being given to manufacturers as subsidy. This is promoting overuse of urea, whose overdose is harmful for soil fertility. Subsequently, subsidy should be passed on directly in farmers' bank accounts," he said.