NEW DELHI: India is an agrarian economy and one of the world’s leading importers of fertilisers.
Fertilisers are being offered at a discount of anywhere between 10 to 25 per cent from Russia as a result of which nearly 20 per cent of the fertiliser imported between April and July came from Russia.
"India imported 7.74 lakh metric tonnes of fertilisers from Russia during the first quarter of the ongoing financial year which is more than a fifth of the total 36.4 lakh metric tonnes imported from across the globe," Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Dr Mansukh Mandaviya had stated in the Parliament.
Out of the 7.74 lakh mt fertiliser imported from Russia, urea comprised 47,000 mt, DAP (diammonium phosphate) 1.32 lakh mt and NPK (a complex fertiliser containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) 5.95 lakh mt.
Unlike oil, fertilisers is not under the list of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US following the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine.
"The imports from Russia in just the first three months of the ongoing financial year is equivalent to nearly 70 per cent of the 11.02 mt of fertilisers imported from Russia (during the previous financial year). Prior to this India relied mostly on China for its fertiliser imports. Nearly 24 per cent of the imports earlier came from China and 6 per cent from Russia," say sources.
Even if Russia gave DAP at 10 per cent discount compared to global prices it would work out well for India. For instance, India could buy DAP at $920 a tonne when global prices ranged around $1000 per tonne.
Meanwhile, experts point out that there is no way India can overlook importing fertilisers as agriculture is the mainstay of the economy.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently said that the world is facing a food security `catastrophe’ as shortages around the globe increase. He further warned that farmers in Asia, Africa and the Americas will be hit by the rising cost of fertiliser and fuel.
After the conflict in Ukraine, fertiliser supply has taken a hit causing a hike in prices.
"The Department of Fertilisers has been continuously monitoring the supply situation. The focus is to facilitate long-term tie-ups and short terms supplies of fertilisers from alternate sources," Madaviya said in the Parliament.
India has entered a long-term agreement to offtake 10 mt urea annually from Oman on Free on Board (FOB) basis through OQ trading for a period of three years.
"Shipment under the long-term agreement began in February this year," Mandaviya added.
The minister has travelled to various countries to secure the supply of fertilisers.
After visiting Jordan, earlier this year, a long-term agreement for supplying 30 lakh mt of rock phosphate, 2.75 lakh mt of MOP and 2.5 lakh mt of DAP has been made for a period of five years. Similarly, an agreement has been signed with Phosagro of Russia for the supply of DAP.
Meanwhile, during the last financial year out of the 341.73 lakh mt of urea consumed in India, 250.72 lakh tonnes was met through indigenous production and 91.36 lakh mt through imports – primarily from China (25.91 lakh mt), Oman (15.88 lakh mt) and UAE (7.95 lakh mt), according to government statistics.
Imports in April-June
- 7.74 lakh MT fertiliser imported from Russia during April June 2022
- Urea: 47,000 MT
- DAP (diammonium phosphate): 1.32 lakh MT
- NPK (a complex fertiliser containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium): 5.59 lakh MT