Urea, a major nitrogenous fertilizer used extensively in Indian agriculture with its consumption rising from 26.7 million tonnes to 35.7 million tonnes between 2009- 10 to 2022-23. It has been historically linked to increased yield however, continuous and extensive use of urea can lead to imbalance in soil nutrients.
Fortification of urea with micronutrients and secondary nutrients addresses this problem leading to holistic soil health and better yields.
How to enhance efficiency of soil:
- Nutrient balance: while urea primarily supplies nitrogen soil might be deficient in micronutrients such as Zinc. Boron and Manganese. By fortifying urea with these micronutrients, a balanced nutrient supply is ensured.
- Improved uptake by the plants: the combination of primary and secondary nutrients in fortified urea allows plants to take up each nutrient more efficiently.
For instance, the presence of sulphur, a secondary nutrient, can facilitate better uptake to nitrogen.
- Prevention of nitrogen loss: fortified urea, especially with nitrification inhibitors can reduce nitrogen loses ensuring more nitrogen is available for plant uptake.
How it will address soil deficiencies?
- Replenishment of depleted micronutrients: continuous cropping without replenishing micronutrients can lead to Zinc deficient soil especially in states like Punjab.
Fortified urea addresses this problem.
- Improved soil health: micronutrients though required in minute amount but play crucial role in soil microbial activities and overall soil health.
For example, Boron is vital for flower setting in plants and deficiency can significantly reduce the yields.
Some commonly used micronutrients in fortified urea:
- Iron: Iron is essential for plant growth and development. It is involved in photosynthesis, respiration and production of chlorophyll. Iron deficiency can lead to stunted growth, yellowing leaves and reduce yield.
2.Zinc: Zinc is also essential for plant growth and development. It is involved in the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acid and it also play role in resistance to pests and diseases.
Zinc deficiency can lead to leaf chlorosis and reduce yield.
- Manganese: it is involved in production of chlorophyll and the metabolism of carbohydrates. Its deficiency also leads to reduced yields.
- Cost: fortified urea is typically more expensive than the non-fortified urea. This can be a barrier to adoption especially for farmers who are already struggling to make ends need.
- Availability: it may not be available in all areas; this can be a problem for farmers who lived in remote area or who have limited access to the market.
- Storage: it must be stored properly to prevent the nutrient from degrading.
- Acceptance: farmers may not be familiar with fortified urea or they not believe that it is effective.
- Regulations: fortified urea may be subject to government regulations. This can add the cost and complexity of its implementation.