Our country India is predominantly an agrarian economy. It is thus, in the light of this fact, all the more obvious that we need to improve the agricultural infrastructure and production to achieve the national economic objectives.
One of the most important factors of agriculture indeed is the fertilizer – a chemical substance used to increase the yield of the crop. In order to have productive agriculture and proper nutrition, it is essential that the fertilizers being used meet the expected quality standards. Besides, there should be efficient and effective quality control systems which ensure delivery of good quality fertilizers to the farmers.
Improving the fertilizer quality used for the agricultural purpose is of utmost importance, given the amount of impact, fertilizers have on the crop as well as the environment. Using fertilizers is almost a trade-off between excellent crop yield and environmental sustainability. Enhancing the quality of fertilizers reduces the intensity of this trade-off, by increasing their performance along with making them environment-friendly.
The consequences of using fake, substandard, low quality or adulterated fertilizers are grave. They hold the potential of seriously damaging the agricultural sector and hence the economy, along with the environment. Since they cannot provide the required nutrients to the soil, they affect the composition and texture of the soil, crop growth and development, and eventually decrease the agricultural productivity. In this way, they affect the individual finances of farmers and on an aggregate level, the economy of the whole nation – especially agrarian economies.
Poor quality of the fertilizers not only erodes the trust of farmers in fertilizers, it discourages them from using it at all. It also curbs the efforts of the private and government organizations to follow food security, reducing poverty and promoting national economic growth.
Ensuring optimum quality of fertilizers is necessary because the ultimate result of its use, that is, improving the agricultural productivity is indispensable for getting food, prime materials and capital required for the modernization and industrialization of the country and strengthening of the economy. The problem of low quality can pertain to any reason – ranging from adulteration, deliberate manufacturing of low-quality fertilizers, misbranding to underweighted bags of substance. All of this and more make a fertilizer unfit for use in agriculture.
There are different kinds of fertilizers, one of them being coated fertilizers. For such fertilizers, a coating material is used to control their solubility in the soil. Fertilizer coating material is applied generally to granular or prilled Nitrogen. Although, a coating is required for multi-nutrient fertilizers as well. Since urea constitutes the highest amount of Nitrogen of common soluble fertilizers, it is the primary ingredient for most of the coated fertilizers. This way, kaka suppliers and manufacturers also have a role to play in determining the quality standard of a fertilizer. Not only does good quality urea provide a good coating, it makes the fertilizer able of providing the sufficient nutrients to the soil. This way, a check should be kept on urea dealers as well.
As important as it is to coat the fertilizer, there should be a suitable material for the purpose. The conventional products like mineral oil, fuel oil, paraffin wax etc do more harm than good to the substance. They are used to make the fertilizer remain free-flowing and clean. Although they end up being inefficient and harmful to the soil in the long run.
It is required for all the fertilizer mining and manufacturing companies to use essential green technology products for deforming, floatation and coating of fertilizers in each of their plants. It has been proven that using green technology coatings can reduce the post-production dust by more than 80% as compared to the 45% in the case of mineral oil products.
The thickness and composition of the fertilizer coating material are adjusted meticulously to control the nutrient release rate. As the description goes on the product label, the time duration of nutrient release from specific fertilizers can range from more than a few weeks to many months. Since the addition of coating involves a particular cost, coated fertilizers are found to be more expensive than uncoated fertilizers.
Thus, the need of the hour is to plan the research, chose the right strategy, employ the calibrated workforce and move ahead in order to achieve the determined goal. Considering the negative impacts of substandard fertilizers, the main objective of this research is to create something that is biodegradable, environment-friendly, efficient as well as cost-effective.