YB WEB DESK. Dated: 9/11/2021 9:16:21 AM

NN KAUL Application of nano-fertilisers is emerging as a promising strategy to promote plant growth and development, and limit environment degradation Even though food is a necessity for a healthy living, excessive use of conventional urea to grow the food is irreparably damaging the environment. The damage is in the form of degraded soil quality that adversely impacts on the climate and contributes to global warming. So, on one hand conventional urea is helping us grow more food for the population, while on the other, it is harming the environment - the key constituent for a healthy living. In the absence of a substantial alternative, the world is in a Catch-22 situation as it needs a solution to do away with the excessive use of harmful, conventional urea. World over, agriculture is facing a wide spectrum of challenges, such as stagnation in crop yields, low nutrient use efficiency (NUE), declining soil organic matter, multinutrient deficiencies, shrinking arable land and water availability. Depletion and degradation of land and water resources present serious challenge for food, livelihood and nutritional security for the ever-growing population. Hence, a solution was warranted that could solve both the problems of food production at the same time keeping the environment safe. Finally, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) came out with a solution. IFFCO has developed a nanotechnologybased Nano Urea (liquid) fertilizer that offers solutions to most of the problems that come with the use of conventional urea. The Nano Urea has been developed indigenously, for the first time in the world, at IFFCO's Nano Biotechnology Research Centre(NBRC) in Kalol, Gujarat through a proprietary patentedtechnology. IFFCO's drive into this revolutionary product was based onthe contemporary and future challenges for agriculture in terms of water scarcity,impact of climate change, farm productivity and contribution towards creating a nutritiousfood surplus country. Nano Urea (liquid) is a source of nitrogen which is an essential nutrient required for proper growth and development of a plant. Nitrogen is a key constituent of amino acids, enzymes, genetic materials (DNA-RNA), photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll)and energy transfer compounds (ATP-ADP) in a plant. Since nano nitrogen particles are dispersed in liquid form in Nano Urea, it starts acting almost immediately when sprayed on crop leaves to meet the crop's nutritional requirement and also triggers pathways for uptake and assimilation of nitrogen inside the plants. Typically, nitrogen content in ahealthy plant is in the range of 1.5 per cent to 4 per cent. Foliar application of Nano Urea (liquid) at criticalcrop growth stages of a plant effectively fulfils its nitrogen requirement and leads tohigher crop productivity in comparison to conventional urea. Application of nano-fertilisers is now emerging as a promising strategy to promote plant growth and development. Precision and sustainable agriculture practices lead to efficient use of water,fertilizer, and other inputs. This makes agriculture more sustainable by reducing the waste,environmental pollution and energy consumption. Farmers typically apply fertilizers through the soil by either surface broadcasting, subsurface placement, or mixing with irrigation water. However, a large portion of bulk conventional fertilizers like urea is lost to the atmosphere or surface water bodies,thereby polluting the ecosystem. Excess nitrogen is lost through volatilisation as NH 3 or emissions N2O (a greenhouse gas) or NO or through NO3 leaching or runoff to water bodies leading toeutrophication and nitrate contamination. The Nano urea (liquid) developed by IFFCO has a dynamic advantage due to its nano-scale morphology and surface area to volume size ratio, which makes it moreimpactful. It is thus required in lesser measure compared to the conventional urea fertilizer to fulfill plant's nitrogen requirement. All India efficacy trials on over 40 crops by Indian Council of Agricultural Research's (ICAR) institutes, state agricultural universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, and farmers at more than 11,000 locations have demonstrated that Nano Urea (liquid) increases cropproductivity and can reduce the requirement of conventional Urea by 50 per cent. Further, application of nano urea (liquid) improves yield, biomass, soil health and nutritional quality of the produce. Nano Urea (liquid) has been tested for bio-safety and toxicity as per the guidelines of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India and international guidelines developed by OECD, which are adopted and accepted globally. Nano Urea (liquid) is completely safe for human, animals, birds, rhizosphere organisms and environment at the recommended levels of application. As per general practice, agricultural experts recommend use of two and a half bags of urea in one acre of wheat crop. Since a 500 ml bottle of Nano Liquid Urea is equivalent to a bag of urea, the cost of the same to the farmers will also come down accordingly. Being smaller in packing, the farmer's expenditure on its transportation and storage will also be reduced. This will eventually lead to an increase in farmers' income. IFFCO has fixed the price of one bottle of its Nano Liquid Urea at Rs 240. About 11,000 agricultural field trials were conducted on more than 94 crops across India to test the effectiveness of Nano Liquid Urea. An average eight per cent increase in crop yield has been observed in these trials. One single particle of urea is equivalent to 55,000 small Nano Urea particles. On foliar application, these small particles are delivered directly to the plant cell, thereby releasing nitrogen inside cells. This process not only increases efficient use of nitrogen but is also environment friendly.


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