India seeks end to urea imports in 5 years

A farmer casts urea fertilizer in a rice plantation on the expropriated and now redistributed farm of El Charcote in the central state of Cojedes October 14, 2010. El Charcote became a symbol of Chavez's socialist revolution when he sent soldiers to seize it in a 2005 push to break up major ranches and repopulate rural areas largely abandoned since Venezuela's oil industry took off in the 1920s. The government recently bought the last 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) of land on the farm, a vast cattle ranch that until 2005 belonged to one of Britain's wealthiest families, the Vesteys, and 130,000 cattle, part of a new drive by Chavez to increase state control of food in South America's top oil producer. Picture taken October 14, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE IMAGES OF THE DAY)



India, the world’s second-biggest consumer of urea, is boosting production of the crop nutrient seeking to end imports in the next five years.
The South Asian nation, where agriculture makes up about 14 percent of the economy, produced 24.5 million tons of urea in the year ended March 2016, compared with consumption of around 32 million tons during the period, according to data from the fertilizer ministry. The country imported more than a quarter of what it consumed from Oman, China and Iran. “We are in the process of reviving ailing plants, restart closed units, expand existing projects and build new ones,” Dharam Pal, joint secretary at India’s fertilizer ministry, said in an interview in New Delhi. “The target is to wipe out urea imports completely by 2022.”
Increasing local supplies of the nitrogen fertilizer will help shield farmers against global price fluctuations and limit government subsidies, allowing for greater spending to spur the rural economy. The goal also ties in with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to boost domestic manufacturing, as he seeks to create more jobs in the world’s second-most populated nation.
Imports surged from near negligible levels in the fiscal year ended March 2001, as consumption outpaced domestic supplies, according to a report by Projects & Development India Ltd., a state-run consultant. Urea imports stood at 68,000 tons in the year ended March 2001, the fertilizer ministry told parliament in 2003.
The ministry is studying proposals to revive loss-making Madras Fertilizers Ltd. and Fertilisers & Chemicals Travancore Ltd., Pal said. The plans, which seek to make both companies profitable by end of March, will need the cabinet’s backing, he said.
The government is also planning to restart five idle facilities owned by The Fertilizers Corp. of India and Hindustan Fertiliser Corp. State-run energy firms Indian Oil Corp., Coal India Ltd. and power producer NTPC Ltd. will together execute 180-billion rupees turnaround plan for 3 of these factories located in eastern part of country.
Madras Fertilizers rose as much as 5.4 percent to 30.25 rupees in Mumbai, gaining for the sixth trading session in a row. National Fertilizers Ltd. added as much as 4.9 percent to 77.80 rupees, while Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd. advanced as much as 1.6 percent to 84.85 rupees.

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