New Delhi: The government on Sunday said established procedures have been fully followed while provisionally approving nano urea based on encouraging field results and feedback from farm scientists at ICAR and state universities. In June 2021, cooperative IFFCO launched nano urea in liquid form as an alternative to conventional urea. It has set up manufacturing plants to produce nano urea and is also selling in the market.
In a statement, the Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry said: "It is clarified that the established and existing procedure for registration of any fertiliser for notification as per Fertiliser Control Order (FCO), 1985 has been fully accounted for".
The process has not been fast-tracked, the ministry asserted.
Nano Urea has been notified provisionally under the FCO based on the existing procedure for introduction of fertilisers under FCO, 1985, which requires data from only two seasons, it added.
"Nano Urea has been provisionally notified under FCO based on encouraging results and feedback received from scientists of ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) and State Agricultural Universities," the statement said while issuing clarification on some reports.
Central Fertiliser Committee (CFC), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, has also recommended nano urea based on data and due deliberations in this regard, the ministry said.
In addition, the Department of Biotechnology has also been referred for safety and bio-safety issues.
"It is only after satisfaction with regard to efficacy, biosafety and biotoxicity that Nano Urea has been brought under FCO as a separate category of nano fertilizer," the ministry said.
The government said the data is not limited to two seasons and research as well as farmer field trials have been continuing for more than four seasons. As many as 11,598 trials have been conducted since the 2019-20 crop year (July-June).
"Consistent results have been recorded without any detriment to soil health/ fertility status," the statement said.
For evaluation of nano urea, the ministry said premium ICAR research institutes and state agricultural universities have been at the vanguard of nano urea trials.
"Different aspects associated with crop productivity; reduction in fertilisers dosage, farmers profitability have been addressed through these trials," it noted.
The ministry also listed some key research institutes/state agriculture universities engaged in nano urea trials.
Summary of results of nano urea application across different locations and agro-climatic regions has revealed that foliar application of nano urea at critical growth stages of crops like rice, wheat, maize, tomato, cucumber and capsicum etc, led to a reduction in the application of nitrogenous fertilisers.
The application also increases yield in the range of 3-23 per cent in wheat; 5- 11 per cent in tomato; 3-24 per cent in paddy/rice; 2-15 per cent in maize, 5 per cent in cucumber and 18 per cent in capsicum.
"Nano fertilizers are novel in the way that they provide immense opportunity in terms of addressing the challenges being faced by intensive agriculture practices currently underway, which are ultimately harming the soil, air and water in the long run," the ministry said.
The government said nano fertilisers like nano urea should be holistically viewed.
In July this year, Union minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya said that India might not need to import urea after 2025 as domestic production of conventional urea and nano liquid urea supplies could be sufficient to meet the domestic demand.
By FY25, around 440 million bottles of 500 ml nano urea will be produced. This will be equivalent to around 20 million tonnes of urea. It will take care of the 9 million tonnes that India imports annually.
The country's domestic urea production is around 26 million tonnes, while demand is around 35 million tonnes. And, the gap is met through imports.