India will be a global price setter in fertilisers by 2024: Mandaviya

New Delhi, January 13

Fertilizers Minister Mansukh Mandavia said on Thursday that his country, as one of the largest consumers, will set global fertilizer prices in 2024, not the few suppliers that are doing so now, signaling confidence in India’s strength in transitioning to alternative nutrients.

In his speech before a workshop on monophosphate fertilizers (SSP), which is considered an alternative to diammonium phosphate (DAP), the minister said: “Fertilizer prices have so far been set by global players. In 2024, India will set the price of fertilizers. I have told global suppliers that we can provide alternative fertilizers. India has done so in the case of DAP, by promoting the SSP. We will ensure that farmers are not harmed.”

Mandaviya also said he was encouraging companies not to import DAP above a certain level and that global prices are declining as a result. “We will drop DAP below $650/ton this month. By the end of March, DAP will drop to its previous price (before the Russo-Ukrainian war), he said.

Imported DAP fell to $743 a ton in November 2022, from a peak of $945 in July. In August 2020, DAP was imported at $336 a ton, after which prices started to climb, reaching last year’s highs.

The minister also said that several global suppliers have signed three-year agreements with Indian companies to secure supply. Global companies have realized that if India stays where it is, demand will not be created. He added that if the supplying country refuses, two more countries must be willing to meet the country’s import requirements.

Urging SSP manufacturers to explore demand in neighboring countries, Mandaviya offered to facilitate exports so that the units could be run at capacity. For 120,000 tonnes of installed capacity in 101 units, SSP production in 2022-23 is estimated at 55-56 liters, which the industry attributed to lower demand. Moreover, SSP sales are likely to decline by 9 percent, industry officials said.

In response to requests from SSP manufacturers, the minister said that unless the industry regains the confidence of farmers by not compromising on quality, local demand will not rise. The Minister of Fertilizers has asked SSP manufacturers to emulate the model of the Australian wine industry, for which the government will provide all necessary support. In Australia, the wine industry has assured that it will maintain quality, and the government has given them the power to take action against members who do not meet the standards.

The industry is preparing a detailed proposal proposing two SSP parks – one in Visakhapatnam on the east coast, and one in Bhavnagar on the west coast, said Arvind Chaudhary, managing director, Fertilizer Association of India.