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India negotiating with Russia for long-term fertiliser import contract

New Delhi, Feb 4: India is negotiating with Russia for a long-term import contract to supply fertilizer at a reasonable price to cushion the farm sector from the demand and supply volatility.

India, which is one of the largest consumers of fertilizer globally, with demand exceeding 500 lakh metric tonnes annually, has had to deal with farmer agitations and backlash last year over the shortage of farm nutrients for crops.

News agency Reuters quoting senior Indian government officials said Fertiliser Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will be visiting Moscow in March to finalise the deal for committed shipment of fertiliser and hold negotiation for a reasonable price.

“Pricing and firm quantities are yet to be fixed … Our focus is to have secure supplies at reasonable prices. Since the (Indian) minister is involved so we hope to get some discount,” the news agency said quoting a source.

India is aiming to lock in 1 million tonnes a year each of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and potash; and about 800,000 tonnes a year of a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK), it said.

This will be the first time that the government will be directly involved in import negotiations for fertilisers. “Fertiliser prices are rallying in the global market. India is one of the biggest importers in the world and Russia is our key supplier. Our attempt is to insulate farmers from price volatility through long term supply contracts”, the news agency said quoting the source.

India’s Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd, National Fertilizers Ltd, Madras Fertilizers Ltd, Fertilisers And Chemicals Travancore and India Potash Ltd are expected to sign a 3-year deal for DAP, potash and complex fertilisers with Russian companies including Phosagro and Uralkali, the sources said.

Farmers across the country had resorted to protests in 2021 over the want of fertiliser, the shortage of which was attributed to export curb from China, global energy crisis and falling production level and Western sanctions against Belaruskali, the world’s second-largest potash producer.