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Sale of Potash derived from molasses allowed to fertiliser farms


Prelims: Economy (Subsidies), Potash derived from molasses, Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme, Muriate of Potash, Potash.

Mains: General Studies-III, Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices; Public Distribution System – Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping; Issues of Buffer Stocks and Food Security; Technology Missions; Economics of Animal-Rearing

Why in the News ?

The government has allowed sugar mills to sell potash from molasses (PDM) to fertilizer companies. This assists mills in earning additional revenue and qualifying for nutrient-based subsidies

Source: LiveMint

Key Facts 🗝️

  • India is the second-highest consumer of fertilisers after China

📌 FYI on Prelims

Muriate of Potash: Muriate of potash, also known as potassium chloride contains 60% potash. Potash is essential for plant growth and quality. It plays a vital role in the production of proteins and sugars.


  • Decisions that have been taken by the Government

    • Price set for current year-The government has set a price of ₹4,263 per metric tonne for sugar mills to sell PDM to fertilizer companies this year(2024).
    • Subsidy provided– PDM manufacturers can also claim a subsidy of ₹345 per ton under the Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme (NBS) from the Department of Fertilizers.
    • Significance of this move:
      • Sugar mills sell PDM to fertilizer companies to produce potash fertilizer, which is then sold in the market.
      • The government is working to make India self-sufficient in fertilizers.
      • The goal is to become self-sufficient in urea by 2025. This involves increasing production from 30 million tonnes to 31-31.5 million tonnes and substituting 2.5 million tonnes of demand with alternatives like nano urea and urea gold.
  • Potash derived from molasses (PDM):
    • Potash derived from molasses (PDM) is a potassium rich fertilizer that is produced as a by-product of the sugar-based ethanol industry.
    • Derived: It is derived from the ash generated during the distillation process in molasses-based distilleries.
    • Current production in India: At present, India imports all of its required potash (100 %) for fertilizers, which comes in the form of muriate of potash (MOP).
    • Significance:
      • It can be used as a source of potassium fertilizer in agriculture to improve soil fertility and enhance crop yields.
      • Farmers can use PDM (which contains 14.5% potash) as an alternative to MOP, which contains 60% potash.
  • Potash:
    • Potash includes various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form.
    • Most of the world’s potash comes from Canada, with the largest deposits located in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Four countries (Canada, Belarus, Russia and China) accounted for 80% of the world’s potash production in 2019.
    • Today, potash comes from either underground or solution mining.
    • In India, few deposits of potash mineral are reported from Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh, Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, Kaimur district of Bihar and Sawai Madhopur and Karauli districts of Rajasthan.
    • It is in the form of Glauconitic (a potassium bearing green mica) sandstone.
    • Potassium is an important element of the human diet as it is essential for growth and the maintenance of tissues, muscles and organs, as well as the electrical activity of the heart.

The Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme:

  • It has been implemented from April 2010 by the Dept of Fertilizers.
  • Under NBS, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis, is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic & Potassic (P&K) fertilisers depending on its nutrient content.
  • It aims at ensuring the balanced use of fertilisers, improving agricultural productivity, promoting the growth of the indigenous fertilisers industry and also reducing the burden of Subsidy.


Mains: PYQ/FAQ

Q. India’s agriculture sector is hampered by the double edged sword of high demand of fertilisers and global rise in their price. Discuss.

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