Source: The Indian Express Relevance: GS II (Governance) ; GS III (Indian Economy, Agriculture)

Context: In a major step towards transforming farming methods, the Finance Minister, in the Interim Budget for 2024-25, revealed plans for the widespread use of Nano DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate) in different crops and agricultural regions. This move highlights the government's dedication to promoting sustainable innovation within the agriculture industry.

Nano Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP):


  • Nano DAP, a revolutionary innovation in fertilizer technology, has been developed by the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO).

  •  This new form of Di-Ammonium Phosphate diverges from the traditional granular DAP by being a liquid fertilizer, comprising 8% Nitrogen and 16% Phosphorus by volume. 

  • The innovative composition of Nano DAP is designed to boost plant growth and development through increased efficiency in nutrient uptake.

Distinctive Characteristics of Nano DAP Compared to Traditional DAP:

  • Physical State: Traditional DAP is known for its granular form, whereas Nano DAP is distinguished by its particles being smaller than 100 nanometers, enhancing its surface area to volume ratio significantly.

  • Nutrient Utilization: Nano DAP exceeds traditional DAP in terms of nutrient utilization efficiency, enabling plants to absorb nutrients more effectively.

  • Cost Benefits: Economically, Nano DAP is more advantageous; a 500 ml bottle, priced at Rs 600, offers the same nutritional value as a 50 kg bag of conventional DAP, which costs Rs 1350.

  • Handling and Application: The liquid form of Nano DAP simplifies storage, transportation, and application processes, providing logistical advantages to farmers.

  • Environmental and Sustainability Impacts: Traditional DAP poses greater risks of soil and water pollution, whereas Nano DAP represents a more environmentally friendly option, minimizing ecological footprints through its liquid form and contributing to healthier soils and biodiversity, thus supporting sustainable farming practices.

  • Application Precision: Unlike traditional DAP, which is applied using conventional methods that may lack accuracy, Nano DAP supports precision agriculture by allowing for more precise and targeted nutrient applications. This ensures optimal plant nutrition while minimizing environmental degradation.

Importance of Advancing Nano DAP Adoption:

  • Alignment with Sustainable Agriculture: Nano DAP is a cornerstone for smart, sustainable agricultural practices and enhancing climate resilience. Its precise application technique reduces environmental harm and boosts crop efficiency.

  • Increased Absorption Efficiency: The nano-scale of the particles allows for superior penetration into plant tissues, enhancing seed vitality, chlorophyll levels, and photosynthesis efficiency.

  • Improved Crop Quality and Yield: The use of Nano DAP leads to higher quality produce, lower cost of inputs, and heightened crop yields, supporting food security and bolstering economic growth.

  • Advancement in Precision Agriculture: By facilitating precise nutrient application, Nano DAP ensures that crops receive exactly what they need for optimal growth, preserving environmental health in the process.

  • Soil Preservation and Biodiversity: Nano DAP contributes to soil health by mitigating contamination risks and boosting fertility, which in turn supports a diverse ecosystem conducive to sustainable farming.

  • Economic and Self-Reliance Benefits: Encouraging the use of domestically produced Nano DAP could reduce the need for imported fertilizers, lowering government subsidies and fostering economic self-reliance.

Obstacles in Adopting Nano DAP:

  • Optimization of Fertilizer Application: While Nano DAP and nano urea simplify usage and application, transitioning to these nanotechnology-based fertilizers might result in a decreased use of fertilizer volumes. Such reduction may adversely affect the nutrient supply to crops, potentially hindering their growth and productivity.

  • Alteration in Nutrient Balance: Introducing nano fertilizers can upset the critical balance of nutrients in the soil and within plant systems, leading to possible nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Such imbalances could detrimentally influence crop yield and quality.

  • Uncertain Environmental Effects: The long-term environmental impacts of employing nano-fertilizers are not fully understood. Concerns exist about the possible buildup of nanoparticles in the soil and aquatic environments, which could threaten ecosystems and biodiversity.

  • Health and Safety Risks: There are significant concerns regarding the movement of nanoparticles through the food chain, raising potential health risks to humans. The unique ability of nano-sized particles to penetrate biological tissues and cells may pose additional health risks.

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO):

  • Established in 1967, IFFCO is a multi-state cooperative society wholly owned by Indian Cooperatives.

  •  In 2021, IFFCO launched liquid nano urea, followed by the groundbreaking introduction of Nano DAP in 2023, marking significant milestones in agricultural innovation.


  • Nano Urea is a cutting-edge liquid fertilizer that uses urea nanoparticles to supply nitrogen to plants, serving as an alternative to traditional urea fertilizers.

  • Developed at the Nano Biotechnology Research Centre in Kalol, Gujarat, it supports the self-reliance goals of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Atmanirbhar Krishi.

  • It aims to cut down the reliance on imported urea by at least 50%, addressing the issues of excessive and unbalanced use of conventional urea, which improves crop yields and reduces environmental pollution.

  • A 500 ml bottle of Nano Urea delivers the same amount of nitrogen as a bag of conventional urea, containing 40,000 mg/L of nitrogen.

  • The launch of Nano Urea represents a move towards more sustainable farming practices by optimizing nitrogen use and reducing harm to the environment through nanotechnology.

Benefits of Nano Urea:

  • Enhanced crop productivity through optimized nitrogen delivery.

  • Reduction in soil, water, and air pollution.

  • Increased agricultural sustainability by curbing the reliance on imported urea.

  • Contribution to the vision of self-reliant agriculture in India, fostering innovation and technological advancement in the farming sector.

Essential Nutrients for Plant Growth:

  • Carbon: Primary element in organic molecules, vital for photosynthesis.

  • Hydrogen: Facilitates biochemical reactions, water uptake, and pH balance.

  • Oxygen: Involved in respiration, energy release, and nutrient transport.

  • Nitrogen: Vital for leaf and stem growth, protein synthesis, and overall plant vigour.

  • Phosphorus: Crucial for robust root development, flowering, fruiting, and energy transfer.

  • Potassium: Supports plant health, stress resistance, and water regulation.

  • Calcium: Strengthens cell walls, promotes cell division, and activates enzymes.

  • Magnesium: Key component of chlorophyll, essential for photosynthesis and metabolism.

  •  Sulfur: Necessary for protein synthesis, enzyme function, and nutrient uptake.

  • Iron: Essential for chlorophyll synthesis, electron transfer, and enzyme activation.

  •  Zinc: Important for enzyme function, hormone regulation, and protein synthesis.

  • Manganese: Required for photosynthesis, enzyme activation, and nitrogen metabolism.

  •  Copper: Supports enzyme activity, lignin formation, and nutrient uptake.

  • Boron: Facilitates cell division, sugar transport, and hormone regulation.

  •  Molybdenum: Necessary for nitrogen fixation, enzyme activity, and amino acid synthesis.

  • Chlorine: Involved in photosynthesis, water regulation, and ion balance.

  • Nickel: Required for nitrogen metabolism, enzyme activation, and seed development.

  • Cobalt: Essential for nitrogen fixation, vitamin B12 synthesis, and enzyme activity.

Charting the Path Forward: Embracing Innovation in Agriculture

  • Promoting Awareness and Education: 

  • Conduct farmer awareness programs and educational workshops to disseminate knowledge about the benefits and proper usage of Nano DAP.

  • Collaborate with agricultural extension services and local communities to ensure widespread understanding and adoption of this innovative fertilizer.

  • Research and Development:

  • Invest in research and development initiatives to further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Nano DAP formulations.

  •  Explore synergies with biotechnology and nanotechnology research to unlock new avenues for sustainable agricultural practices.

  • Policy Support and Incentives:

  • Provide policy support and incentives for farmers to encourage the adoption of Nano DAP, such as subsidies, tax incentives, and government-backed loan programs.

  •  Collaborate with regulatory bodies to streamline approval processes and ensure the availability of quality-assured Nano DAP products in the market.

  • Infrastructure Development:

  • Invest in infrastructure development to improve storage, transportation, and distribution networks for Nano DAP, ensuring timely availability to farmers across diverse geographical regions.

  •  Establish quality control mechanisms and certification standards to maintain product integrity and consumer confidence.

  • Capacity Building and Training:

  • Conduct training programs for farmers on best practices for the application of Nano DAP, including dosage, timing, and application methods.

  •  Empower agricultural extension workers and field staff with the knowledge and skills required to support farmers in adopting Nano DAP effectively.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation:

  • Implement robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact of Nano DAP adoption on crop yields, soil health, and environmental sustainability.

  • Collect data and feedback from farmers to continuously refine and improve Nano DAP formulations and application strategies.

  • Collaboration and Partnership:

  • Foster collaboration and partnerships between government agencies, research institutions, private sector entities, and civil society organizations to drive innovation and scale up the adoption of Nano DAP.

  • Leverage international collaborations and knowledge-sharing platforms to stay abreast of global trends and best practices in nano-fertilizer technology.

The broad acceptance of Nano DAP marks the beginning of a sustainable agricultural revolution in India. Through the integration of advanced technology and homegrown innovation, the country makes a significant leap towards self-reliance in agriculture and a commitment to protecting the environment. Nano DAP's transformative impact on farming heralds a future of enhanced green practices and prosperity for future generations.

Advait IAS