Urea imports plunge 57% in April-February period
Urea imports fell 57% to 5.303 million tonne (MT) by February end this fiscal owing to increased domestic production, according to data compiled by the department of fertilisers.
The country had imported 8.309 MT urea in April-January period of 2015-16. InfraCircle on 24 February had reported that the import of urea during the current fiscal is likely to be significantly lower than last 5-6 years at around 5.5 MT because of new urea policy and neem coating of the soil nutrient.
Meanwhile, import of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) also dropped 37% to 4.37 MT till February this year, compared with 6 MT last fiscal.
Fertiliser demand for kharif and rabi seasons remained subdued after two successive years of drought and because of unsold inventories. InfraCircle had earlier reported that the urea requirement for the current rabi season, which starts in October and runs through March, will be low at around 15 MT as compared to 15.8 MT during the same period last year.
At present, three state-run firms—State Trading Corp. of India, MMTC Ltd and Indian Potash Ltd—are allowed to import urea. Moreover, these agencies are given instructions by the government for the quantum and timing of import.
India’s annual urea demand is around 31 MT. The country witnessed a record production of 24.5 MT of urea for the financial year ended 31 March 2016. Due to an increase in the domestic production, urea import in the country during the last financial year also came down by around 3.4% to 8.47 MT compared with 8.75 MT in 2014-15. The country last imported 5.20 MT of urea during 2009-10.
India imports around 2 MT of urea every year from OMIFCO under a long-term offtake agreement between the government and OMIFCO. The import of urea from OMIFCO is done through fertiliser cooperatives Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO) and Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (KRIBHCO).
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