TERI''s Mycorrhiza technology to cut fertiliser imports: Reddy
New Delhi, Jan 7 (PTI) Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy today said a new technology developed by research body TERI for mass production of biofertiliser ''Mycorrhiza'' can reduce the country''s dependence on chemical soil nutrients and help increase crop productivity.
Mycorrhiza is the only known fungal system categorised as a biofertiliser. Its application is limited in India because of constraints related to mass production. TERI has solved the problem by developing mass inoculum production technology for mycorrhizal fungi.
Addressing the International Conference on Mycorrhiza, Reddy said, "I am happy to note that The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) together with Department of Biotechnology have developed an innovative technology of mass production of Mycorrhiza. How come we did not know about this biofertiliser? It is a miraculous science and will benefit farmers."
Mycorrhiza helps the roots to tap soil nutrients, which are otherwise beyond their reach. The fungi will enhance crop yields, promote resistance to drought/pests and lead to less consumption of water and "reduce fertiliser imports", he said.
The country imports more than half of its demand of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and the entire requirement of Muriate of Potash (MoP) annually.
The Minister highlighted that though increased use of chemical fertilisers may be inevitable in the current state of development, limitations of production, subsidies and environmental degradation also need to be considered.
Stating that Mycorrhiza is being effectively used in agriculture, forestry and horticulture globally, Reddy said the government has recognised the importance of Mycorrhiza through the Fertiliser Control Order, to facilitate widescale use of this technology and production in the country.
"The conventional technology of producing Mycorrhiza had limitations in providing large scale agriculture productivity and sustainability benefits...I believe that the production from this technology (new) is significantly cheaper than chemical fertilisers," he said, adding that this innovative technology is being used in India and abroad.
The Minister, however, said that in spite of well-known advantages, Mycorrhiza is not being used extensively by farmers due to lack of awareness.
At present, five Indian companies and one US-based firm have taken the TERI''s technology licence for mass production of Mycorrhiza. Currently, production capacity is around 5,000 tonnes, TERI Director Alok Adholeya said.
Two more companies from the fertiliser sector have taken the licence recently. The production capacity would be increased by encouraging more industries, he added.
Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) Chairman Ashok Gulati said, "Mycorrhiza fungi is more sustainable and can reduce import of chemical fertilisers. It can make Indian agriculture much more competitive as it will reduce fertiliser cost." PTI LUX
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