The ‘Business Standard’ recently interviewed Nandula Raghuram, professor at Indraprastha University and chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI), on nitrogen use in India. The article is attached below.
Raghuram highlighted India uses 27 million tonnes of urea each year, 75% of which is subsidised by the government. Interestingly the same percentage is lost to the environment. Raghuram reported consumption of urea in India has not been increasing in the last couple of years and may have even fallen by up to 10% of peak consumption. This suggests we may expect an accompanying drop in nitrous oxide emissions from unused fertilisers (data has not yet been collected to confirm this). The use of neem-coated urea may play a significant role in this, as it reduces losses of nitrogen to the environment and improves utilisation into plants. Unfortunately, nitrogen emissions from India’s wastewaters continue to grow significantly (in part due to population growth and rapid rural to urban migration) and may become the top nitrogen source in the next 5-10 years. This may well be true for the rest of South Asia as they start reigning in urea consumption growth.