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India: Fertilizer
Country Study > Chapter 7 > Agriculture > Economic Development > Development Programs > Fertilizer


The rate of fertilizer consumption increased dramatically after independence, although it was still lower than in most other countries worldwide. India used only sixty-nine kilograms per hectare in 1989, ranking it fifty-sixth worldwide and below all its South Asian neighbors except Nepal. Fertilizer consumption increased from approximately 69,000 tons of nutrients in FY 1950 to 12.6 million tons in FY 1990, and was expected to be about 13.8 million tons in FY 1993. Punjab used the highest amount of fertilizer per hectare followed by Tamil Nadu. The use of fertilizers was high in Punjab and Harayana in the north because of adequate irrigation. In the south, other than in Tamil Nadu, consumption, especially in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, was higher than the national average. The disparity in the use of fertilizers across states was decreasing, however. Cow dung is an important source of fertilizer -- and fuel -- in India. Statistics on its usage, however, are not available.

The fertilizer subsidy has been growing since FY 1976. The initial subsidy was a response to the increase in the price of crude oil by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC -- see Glossary). The price increase led to a rise in the cost of naphtha, which in turn increased fertilizer prices. The fertilizer subsidy increased from Rs600 million in FY 1976 to Rs32 billion in FY 1988, to nearly Rs44 billion in FY 1990. Further increases are expected as the decade progresses. Plans in 1992 to cut the subsidy by 40 percent were curtailed following heavy political opposition from the major farming states.

Data as of September 1995

Last Updated: September 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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