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Liquid Nano Urea (LNU) – Need & Significance

From Current Affairs Notes for UPSC » Editorials & In-depths » This topic

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially inaugurated the country’s first liquid nano urea plant at Kalol, Gujarat recently. This patented product is expected to not only substitute imported urea but also produce better results on farms.

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This topic of “Liquid Nano Urea (LNU) – Need & Significance” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

What is Liquid Nano Urea (LNU)?

  • It is essentially urea in the form of a nanoparticle. Urea is chemical nitrogen fertiliser, white in colour, which artificially provides nitrogen, a major nutrient required by plants.

The need for LNU

  • The liquid nano urea produced by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) Limited comes in a half-litre bottle priced at Rs 240 and carries no burden of subsidy currently.
  • By contrast, a farmer pays around Rs 300 for a 50-kg bag of heavily subsidized urea.
  • The international market price of a bag of urea is between Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000, and significant quantities of it are imported.
  • According to IFFCO, a bottle of nano urea can effectively replace at least one bag of urea.

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In what respects is the indigenous liquid nano urea a better bet than conventional urea?

  • While conventional urea has an efficiency of about 25 per cent, the efficiency of liquid nano urea can be as high as 85-90 per cent.
  • Conventional urea fails to have the desired impact on crops as it is often applied incorrectly, and the nitrogen in it is vaporized or lost as a gas. A lot of nitrogen is also washed away during irrigation.
  • Liquid nano urea is sprayed directly on the leaves and gets absorbed by the plant.
  • Fertilizers in nano form provide a targeted supply of nutrients to crops, as they are absorbed by the stomata, and pores found on the epidermis of leaves.
  • Liquid nano urea has a shelf life of a year, and farmers need not be worried about “caking” when it comes in contact with moisture.

What is planned for the future of liquid nano urea production?

  • Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) commissioned the Kalol liquid nano urea plant, the country’s first, in August 2021.
  • Over 3.6 crore bottles of this urea have been produced, of which 2.5 crore have been sold.
  • IFFCO is setting up additional facilities for the production of nano fertilizers at Aonla, Phulpur, Bengaluru, Paradeep, Kandla, Deoghar and Guwahati, besides expanding the Kalol plant, for the production of nano urea, nano DAP and nano micronutrients.
  • These units will have a production capacity of 2 lakh bottles per day.

Practice Question for Mains

  1. What is liquid nano urea, produced by IFFCO, which can potentially revolutionize the use of nitrogen fertilizers in India? (15 Marks, 250 Words)
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