The synergy of the advancements in the sciences of fertilizers and crops has given birth to new product applications. Rallis India Ltd recently introduced hydro calcium nitrate (Ca (NO3) 2), a water-soluble fertilizer in the speciality fertilizer segment. The product, manufactured by Norsk Hydro of Norway, can be used for greenhouse vegetables and flowers, outdoor vegetable crops, grapes, mangoes and plantation crops.
Commenting on the need for such special application products, Rallis India Ltd VP (Fertilizer) K Dorai Raj explains, " The move towards multi-cropping system and the high-yielding crops has resulted in increase in the nutrient uptake from the soil. Mining out the nutrients from the soil leads to nutrient depletion, a problem that can be overcome by using speciality fertilizers".
Hydro calcium nitrate is the first product of its kind in India and is claimed to be the source for fully water-soluble calcium, essential for crops at all stages. Many fertilizer systems rely on the soil supply of calcium. Plants require calcium during high growth rates. Calcium deficiency is often most pronounced in fruits, which develop symptoms such as ‘blossom end rot’ in tomatoes and peppers, ‘bitter pit’ in apples, etc.
"Though India produces a high quantity of fruits and vegetables, India’s share in the export market is negligible. The need of the hour is to produce superior quality produce that can ensure better returns for the farmers," says Dorai Raj, adding that Rallis stressing on improving the quality of the fresh produce.
Plants with high calcium supply develop better resistance to diseases and hence give produce with better storage properties, longer shelf life and reduced post harvest losses. Available in two grades? Solution grade and field grade – the product is approved under the Fertilizer Control Order by the Government of India.
In India, the speciality fertilizer market is growing at the rate of 20 percent, which still is in the nascent stage. Explaining the necessity for such chemicals, Dorai Raj said, "water scarcity has drawn considerable attention towards the sustainable use of natural resources by employing techniques like drip irrigation. Application of fertilizer directly to the root zone (Fertigation) through drip irrigation will ensure immediate intake of calcium and other nutrients required for healthy plant growth.
This technique is applicable only if fertilizers are 100 percent soluble in water. However, most of the fertilizers manufactured in India do not meet the required criteria, leading to the clogging of pipes. Therefore the fertilizers have to be imported from Europe to Israel."
Elaborating the product marketing strategy, Dorai Raj says, "The product has been well accepted by the farmers. We have received feedback from the apple and grapes growers. We have built product awareness through demonstrations, meetings and farmers’ training programs. The fertilizer gives good results for cereals, pulses and oilseeds."
In India approximately 80,000 to 1,00,000 ha are under micro irrigation for horticultural crops. "With the onset of WTO, we will have access to the markets of different countries, but to be competitive in the international marketplace, our products will have to be at par with the global standards," says Dorai Raj.
Rallis already has a strong presence in the market with its water-soluble NPK fertilizer Aquafert (manufactured by Norsk Hydro) having emerged as industry standards. To strengthen its speciality Fertilizer segment, Rallis has tied up with Borax US for water-soluble Boron ‘Solubor’. Shortly, Rallis will also introduce an NPK fertilizer containing micronutrients.
Source: Agrovision – strategic Newspaper