The Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Ananth Kumar has advocated a “3 A” approach towards fertilizers in the country, these being authenticity (Quality), availability and affordability. Inaugurating a Conference of Officers of State Agriculture Departments handling fertilizers in New Delhi today, Shri Ananth Kumar said that the ultimate aim of the Government should be to provide last mile timely availability of quality fertilizers at affordable rates to the farmers. This, he said, would ensure the fertilizers security of the country which is essential for the food security.
Sh. Ananth Kumar said that till two years back, there used to be shortage of urea, leading to its hoarding, black-marketing and smuggling. He congratulated the Indian Fertilizer manufacturers for running the plants at over 100 per cent capacity and achieving an all time record of 245 lakh MT urea production last year. The Minister said that the timely imports, pre-positioning of the fertilizers, contribution of the States in timely distribution, and cooperation of the Railways through Good Rake Movement also helped in making the fertilizer position comfortable in the country.
Sh. Ananth Kumar asked the State Government officials to enforce quality checks on the fertilizers, undertake district level planning for supply of fertilizers, ensure early turnaround of rakes, provide adequate storage facilities, and take benefit of pre-positioning. He called upon the States to initiate a drive against those who indulge in hoarding, black-marketing, diversion and smuggling of fertilizers. He also said that the unethical practices of the retailers/companies to tag certain items for selling to farmers along with the required fertilizers, should be discouraged. The Minister also emphasized on the issue of soil security and ways to compost initiative. He said the Government is reviving the sick fertilizer PSU and the basic principle of producing where it is being consumed.
Sh. Ananth Kumar said that the Government is soon planning to set up Indian Council for Fertilizers Research, on the lines of ICMR and ICAR. He said research is very much required to discover and develop various means and ways of producing quality fertilizers, fortified fertilizers, hybrid fertilizers, nutrients and various combinations which are good for the soil. He said research has a role to play in the all aspects of the fertilizer chain which includes production, transportation, storage, availability, application, etc.
The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, and Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Sh. Mansukh L Mandaviya said that Prime Minister has given a call to double the income of farmers and the Department is working on this direction by reducing their input costs. He said that poor farmers are often misguided by certain vested interest and it is essential to launch a campaign to inform them about the best practices, balanced and optimum use of fertilizers. He said that recently the Government announced reduction in non-urea fertilizers and the farmers should be made aware about this. He called upon the States to work in tandem with the Central Government for the welfare of the farmers.
The Conference of Principal Secretaries/Secretaries/Directors dealing with the Agriculture Departments in the State/UTs is the first such initiative of the Department of Fertilizers. The Central and the State Government officials dealing with the various aspects of fertilizers discussed various issues concerning the sector including availability and supply of fertilizers, implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme, fertilization and neem-coating of urea, quality control of fertilizers, issues in Fertilizer Monitoring System and promotion of city compost.