Biofertilizers Policy Review For A Sustainable Transition Biology Essay

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Agricultural development set in motion by noted American botanist, Norman Borlaug in 1970 was based on the genetic improvement of particularly productive plants. This worldwide agricultural development, later to be called Green Revolution, helped various nations to tackle food security by improving agricultural yield with increased use of high-yielding varieties of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation methods.(Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations., 1984) Increased pesticide and fertilizer application was associated with a corresponding increase in crop yields.(Richardson, 1991; World Resources Institute., 1992) Over a span of years, intensive fertilization and excessive amounts of pesticides resulted in nitration (in turn causing eutrophication of lakes and freshwater streams), health hazards for rural inhabitants and environmental problems.(World Resources Institute., 1992; Dinham, 1993,1989)

The focus of this review is to bring out various variables which need to be mooted from a Biofertilizer policy regulation perspective in India. The following perspectives have been explained to provide a comprehensive dataset along with the policy target areas for creating a sustainable policy environment which will encourage the use of Biofertilizers:

According to Biofertilizers and Organic Fertilizers Covered in Fertilizer (Control) Order, 1985 (Amendment, March 2006 and further amendment November 2009); biofertilizer means the product containing carrier based (solid or liquid) living microorganisms which are agriculturally useful in terms of nitrogen fixation, phosphorus solubilization or nutrient mobilization, to increase the productivity of the soil and/or crop.(Fertiliser Control Order, 1985.)

2. India's production and consumption capacity of Fertilizers

(a) Global Context

According to International Fertilizer Industry Association, any natural or manufactured material containing 5% of one or more of the three primary nutrients- nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), or potassium (K) - can be considered a fertilizer.(International Fertilizer Industry Association Website, 2012.) India is the 2nd largest producer of Ammonia, Urea and NPK*; 3rd largest in case of DAP/MAP; and 5th largest for Phosphoric acid in the world. (11. International Fertilizer Development Center. 2009. Worldwide capacity listings by plant, several fertilizer products. September: Muscle Shoals, Alabama. * NPK are complex fertilizers that may contain nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, or a combination of the three.) India is the 2nd largest consumer of nitrogen and phosphate in the world. (12. FAOSTAT Online database, http://faostat.fao.org/)

(b) Indian Context

3. Major fertilizer and pesticide control legislations in India

Table : Major fertilizer control legislations in India

Legislation

Regulatory Body

The Fertiliser (Control) Order, 1985

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

With regards to the policy frame work; the major Indian legislations are mentioned in Table 1. The FCO of 1985, lays down the specifications of biofertilizers with tolerance limit, method of analysis of biofertilizers, maintenance and preparation of culture, and quality control apropos to Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Azospirillum, Phosphate solubilizing biofertilizer and Mycorrhizal biofertilizers. In practice a large variety of microbial inoculants are available including Algae, Azolla and Actinorrhizae besides the above mentioned organisms.

Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, New Delhi, vide their order Dated 24th March, 2006 included biofertilizers and organic fertilizers under section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955), in Fertilizer (Control) Order (FCO), 1985. These rules were further amended in respect of applicability, specifications and testing protocols vide Gazette notification 3 November, 2009. The amendment brought Mycorrhiza under the purview of the FCO. Schedule III, Part- A, consists of specifications pertaining to BFs in terms of base, viable cell count, contamination level, pH, particle size in case of carrier based materials, moisture content and efficiency character (for Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Azospirillum, Phosphate solubilizing biofertilizer), and additionally infectivity potential in case of mycorrhiza.

Under Clause 3, the fixation of prices is not applicable in case of BFs and organic fertilizers. This leaves ample space for inclusion of a directive indicating a tentative pricing of the biofertilizers, as in the case of chemical fertilizers. This will serve as a competitive benchmark for participating stakeholders involved in manufacturing, selling and distribution of BFs.

Also, the amendment contains ample clauses pertaining to the quality assurance measures elucidating the role of the inspection authority, time limit for analysis of the sample (7 days from its drawl) and communication of results. Non compliance to the laid down clauses may lead to suspension, cancellation or debarment to the dealer/ manufacturer.

Demand and Supply

From an economic perspective there is a need to bridge the gap between the demand side and supply side by having a holistic policy framework.

The basic important economic factors influencing demand are income of the consumers (farmers), price of related goods, taste pattern of consumer, expectations and number of buyers (Ref: Principles of Economics by Gregory Mankiw).The demand of fertilizers is a component of the final demand of the crop production; therefore it is termed as "derived demand". Debertin in 1986 has provided four factors influencing the "derived demand" of fertilizer namely, price of crop(s), price of fertilizer, prices of other inputs that substitute for or complement fertilizer and parameters of production function that describe the technical transformation of inputs into an output. These four factors have been used in analysis of the demand side in reports apropos to fertilizers as a whole. One such report is "Factors Affecting Demand for Fertilizer in Sub-Saharan Africa" by Agriculture & Rural Development Department, World Bank in 2006. However, with biofertilizers in picture there is need for incorporation of other demand functions which will take into account the taste patterns of farmers and their expectations. This sub component at the level of the "derived demand" is needed because most of the usage of biofertilizer is in view of promoting sustainability and reducing chemical inputs in farming. This is evident by the fact that biofertilizer as a mode for organic farming stems out of the consumer taste for organic products.

Similarly at the supply side, the key variables influencing demand are input prices, technology, expectations, and the number of sellers (Ref: Principles of Economics by Gregory Mankiw).

flow 1 pic policy environment.bmp

Table : State-wise Production of Biofertilizer in India

Production of Biofertilizer in India (in tonnes)

S No.

Name of the State

Year

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

South Zone

1

A & N Islands

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Andhra Pradesh

205

2019.5

2246.4

4500.62

4515.8

168.136

1345.28

3

Daman & Diu

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

Karnataka

1083.4

1135.9

612

341.64

2841.3

11921.1

3695.5

5

Kerala

54.85

213.25

8.34

261.75

814.45

1187

1936.45

6

Lakshadweep

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

Pondicherry

22.62

0

7.78

1827.78

471.29

561.792

452.79

8

Tamil Nadu

1845.5

1564.9

2207.6

1770.29

3467

4687.82

3732.59

 

Total

3211.4

4933.6

5082.1

8702.08

12110

18525.8

11162.6

West Zone

9

Chhattisgarh

86.95

0

0

0

0

0

0

10

Gujarat

1034.9

943

1371.6

1250.63

1263.3

1149.7

1309.19

11

Goa

0

0

0

3.5

0

0

0

12

Madhya Pradesh

1300.5

1333.9

823.07

1204.76

1884.9

848.448

1587.68

13

Maharashtra

3035

3050

2099

2425.96

2486.4

1249.87

1861.33

14

Rajasthan

590.01

30.64

430.59

339.75

302.3

353.67

805.571

15

D & N Haveli

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

Total

6047.3

5357.6

4724.2

5224.6

5936.9

3601.68

5563.76

North Zone

16

Delhi

0

1.36

1.23

0

168.84

1165.1

1021.85

17

Chandigarh

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

Haryana

22.54

20.16

23.48

30.22

8.89

14.25

6.195

19

Himachal Pradesh

9.48

10.3

9.59

0

56.21

0

8.5

20

Jammu & Kashmir

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

21

Punjab

2.95

0.37

2.27

2

1.7

1.14

301.232

22

Uttar Pradesh

115.98

130.27

486.3

212.78

250.06

885.517

962.642

23

Uttarakhand

0

0

0

0

0

48.23

32

 

Total

150.95

162.46

522.87

245

485.7

2114.23

2332.42

East Zone

24

Bihar

0

15

41

36.9

20

0

0

25

Jharkhand

0

0

9

205.62

201.68

15

15

26

Orissa

59.31

32.62

65.97

280.54

331.94

405.03

289.867

27

West Bengal

226.53

74.296

194.6

1406.48

922.34

241.24

256.5

 

Total

285.84

121.92

310.57

1929.54

1476

661.27

561.367

North East Zone

28

Arunachal Pradesh

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

29

Assam

88.5

25.2

107.6

8.465

70.901

129.355

121.04

30

Manipur

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

31

Meghalaya

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

32

Mizoram

1.14

0

0

1.68

3.58

1.996

2.5

33

Nagaland

8.03

0

17.03

10.65

13.98

16.0092

18.25

34

Sikkim

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

35

Tripura

5.8

0

0

23.25

14.27

14.68

278.402

 

Total

103.47

25.2

124.63

44.05

102.73

162.04

420.19

 

Grand Total

9798.9

10601

10764

16145.3

20111

25065

20040.3

Source: DAC- National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF), Ghaziabad

Table : Year wise comparison of Biofertilizer production, Consumption, Production and Impot of Fertilizers (NPK) and the amount of subsidy on Fertilizers in India

Year

Biofertilizer Production (in thousand tonnes)

Consumption of Fertilizers (NPK) (lakh MT)

Production of Fertilizers (NPK) (lakh MT)

Import of Fertilizers (NPK) (lakh MT)

Amount of Subsidy (Gross) Disbursed (Cash+Bonds) on Fertilisers in India (in thousand Crores)

Foodgrain Production(In Million MT)

2002-03

 

160.94

144.74

16.74

11.01568

174.78

2003-04

9.79889

167.98

142.66

20.18

11.84782

213.19

2004-05

10.600686

183.99

154.05

27.5

16.1277

198.36

2005-06

10.76442

203.4

155.75

52.53

19.38964

208.6

2006-07

16.145263

216.51

160.95

60.8

28.01955

217.28

2007-08

20.11105

225.7

147.07

75.83

43.31916

230.78

2008-09

25.06503

249.09

143.34

101.51

99.49471

234.47

2009-10

20.040348

264.86

162.21

91.47

64.03229

218.2

2010-11

 

 

109.73

99.85

123.67741

 

Source : DAC- National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF), Ghaziabad; Indian Fertilizer Scenario 2010, Department of Fertilizers,Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India;Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2484, dated on 10.03.2011;& Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1810, dated on 01.12.2011

Figure : Year wise comparison of Biofertilizer production, Consumption, Production and Import of Fertilizers (NPK) and the amount of subsidy on Fertilizers in India

Table : Production of Biofertiliser in India (2001-02 to 2006-07) (tonne)

Production of Biofertiliser in India (2001-02 to 2006-07) (tonne)

Strain/ Year

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Azotobacter

1324.74

1399.06

1386.75

1805.92

1874.93

2037.75

Azospirillum

1275.5

1153.87

1159.26

950.97

1228.75

1283.7

Rhizobium

1841.54

1136.08

1822.94

1419.89

1548.53

1579.66

Acetobacter

167.85

210.03

158.25

213.33

316.22

208.79

Azolla

1.5

2.08

2.61

1.76

1.62

1.6

BGA

9.99

0.01

21.71

14.59

10.01

28.99

PSB

4502.22

3259.32

4005.18

5918

6075.51

6920.42

VAM

0.44

1.7

29.81

23.7

29.48

0.03

Total

9123.78

5763.09

8586.51

10348.16

11085.05

12060.94

Source: Fertiliser Association of India

Table : Despatches of Biofertiliser in India (2001-02 to 2006-07) (tonne)

Despatches of Biofertiliser in India (2001-02 to 2006-07) (tonne)

Strain/ Year

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Azotobacter

1145.09

1136.24

1126.12

1375.25

1458.64

2005.33

Azospirillum

1269.54

1115.12

1156.54

942.25

1197.22

1284.76

Rhizobium

1847.16

1322.5

1745.75

1710.14

1871.06

1556.98

Acetobacter

167.86

208.05

155.59

213.46

314.49

208.42

Azolla

1.25

2.05

2.56

1.71

1.61

0.24

BGA

9.99

0.01

21.71

14.59

10.01

28.99

PSB

3741.52

2886.77

5574.56

5574.56

5963.31

6847.17

VAM

0.44

1.7

25.41

22.02

25.68

0.03

Total

8182.85

6672.44

9808.24

9853.98

10842.02

11931.92

Source: Fertiliser Association of India

Conclusion

The Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme (introduced by Govt of India, in 2010) has given the liberty, with regards to fixing of MRP (Maximum Retail Price), to the manufacturers and importers of chemical fertilizers depending on their cost economics associated with production and import. This has led to a steep increase in the prices of fertilizers. The incumbent government is keen on reducing the subsidies associated with urea, DAP, MOP and other chemical fertilizers. This has added tremendous pressure on the expenditure from the point of view of the farmers. However, this move may be supplemented by introducing relevant financial norms and subsidies for biofertilizers as an alternative usage to the farmers. This will not only meet their basic need for the addition of fertilizers to their crops, but will also promote environmentally sustainable measures/ initiative shown by the government. Thus, subsidies will speed up adoption of application of biofertilizers and biopesticides, and will provide the initial impetus to a sustainable agricultural movement.

There is a need for lucid thinking about integrating the biofertilizer and biopesticide policy into country's overall development strategy and goals. With emphasis on the evolution of fertilizer's traditional role as a productivity enhancing agricultural input to an instrument having wider implications in terms of soil fertility replenishment, soil conservation, food security, environmental sustainability, safety net and GDP; it is a logical choice to provide means and correct measures in terms of policy framework to popularize biofertilizers and biopesticides.

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