Regional iImbalances and Impact of Soil Health Card on Fertilizer Consumption in Gujarat

Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2012

174 Pages, Grade: A












3.1. General information of Navsari and Surat districts

3.2. Land utilization pattern in Navsari and Surat districts

3.3. List of selected villages

4.1. Socio-economic characteristics of sample farmers

4.2. Land use pattern of sample farmers

4.3. Cropping pattern of sample farmers

4.4. Periodwise compound growth rate of nitrogen fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.5. Periodwise compound growth rate of phosphorus fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.6. Periodwise compound growth rate of potash fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.7. Periodwise compound growth rate of total fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.8. Periodwise compound growth rate of gap in nitrogen fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.9. Periodwise compound growth rate of gap in phosphorus fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.10. Periodwise compound growth rate of gap in potash fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.11. Periodwise compound growth rate of gap in total fertilizer consumption in Gujarat State by region

4.12. Determinants of fertilizers use in sugarcane crop

4.13. Determinants of fertilizers use in kharif paddy crop

4.14. Fertilizer use efficiency for sugarcane crop

4.15. Fertilizer use efficiency for kharif paddy crop

4.16. Fertilizer consumption for with and without Soil Health Card in sugarcane crop

4.17. Fertilizer consumption for with and without Soil Health Card in kharif paddy crop

4.18. Cost of cultivation per hectare for with and without Soil Health Card in sugarcane crop

4.19. Cost of cultivation per hectare for with and without Soil Health Card in sugarcane crop

4.20. Comparison of crop yield between farmers for with and without Soil Health Card in South Gujarat


1. Maps showing the study area

2. Schematic representation of sampling design

3. Compound growth rates of N consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

4. Compound growth rates of P2O5 consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

5. Average consumption of N fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to2009-10

6. Compound growth rates of K2O consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

7. Compound growth rates of NPK consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

8. Average consumption of P fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to2009-10

9. Average consumption of K fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to2009-10

10 Average consumption of NPK fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to 2009-10

11 Compound growth rates of gap in N consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

11 Compound growth rates of gap in P2O5 consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

12 Average gap of N fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to 2009-10

13 Average gap of P2O5 fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to 2009-10

14 Compound growth rates of gap in K2O consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

15 Compound growth rates of gap in NPK consumption in different regions of Gujarat State

16 Average gap of K2O fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to 2009-10

17 Average gap of NPK fertilizer in different regions of Gujarat State during 1960-61 to 2009-10


1.1 General

The process of economic development and its growth in early stage of developing country is crucially dependent upon the progress of agricultural production with a larger share in national income, employment and export earnings. Thus, agriculture determines the pace of progress. In India, agricultural sector still occupies a predominant position in the country’s economy, accounting for about 13.9 per cent of gross domestic product and one- fifth of foreign exchange. This sector provides employment to about 58.2 per cent (www.indiancensus, 2001) of the total labour force in the country. Furthermore, its forward and backward linkages with other sectors of the economy are well established in the literature of development economics. Therefore, to achieve an accelerated pace of economic growth, sustained development of the agriculture sector is sine qua non.

With the 2 per cent world’s geographical area, India has the responsibility to feed 18 per cent of world population. Since independence, our country is constantly increasing foodgrains production which has reached to 244.78 million tonnes in 2010-11, more than about five times the 50.8 million tonnes in 1950-51. With the success of green, white and blue revolution, India is now in the position of self reliance in foodgrains production. It is expected that the total foodgrains demand by 2020 and 2025 is estimated to be 294 and 322 million tonnes, respectively (Kumar, 1998; Malavia, et al., 2000). Thus by 2025, we need to produce about 118 million tonnes additional foodgrains per year from the same or even less area. The most challenging problem which India faces today is the growth rate of foodgrains production which is lower than the population growth rate during last two decades. Growing population puts enormous pressure on the available natural resources and infrastructure, which become more and more fragile. The foodgrains area per person was 0.22 hectare during 1950 which declined to 0.10 hectare during 2000 and it is projected to be 0.06 hectare in 2050 ( Thus, in developing countries like India, reeling under population pressure, the efficient use of fertilizer must go hand-in-hand for a better tomorrow.

1.2 Meeting the challenging problem

To meet the challenge, the agricultural production can be increased either by pronging more area under cultivation or through increasing productivity. In our country, land is becoming limited and shrinking resource; the demand for land also competes for its use. The cultivated area is about 145 million hectares, and has remained constant for the last 30 years. Because of severe limitations on the increase of net area sown, it would be difficult to bring additional areas under plough to grow the extra amount of foodgrains required to feed the teeming millions. Hence, in order to realize the need based targets of agricultural production, the pattern of production enhancement will have to rest heavily on increased productivity. This essentially culls for optimizing the usage of the existing farm land by adopting new strategy for agricultural development. As a key element of the foodgrains production cycle, fertilizer usage contributed to about 50 per cent of increased foodgrains production in the world (Hegde and Sudhakarbabu, 2004; Tanwar and Bisvas, 2005). In India, fertilizer consumption is concentrated in about one- third of the cultivated area. It is key element to increase sustainable production of agriculture (Painuly and Dev, 1998).

1.3 New strategy in agriculture

In the above context, balanced use of fertilizer is essential to stabilize crop yield and sustain high crop productivity. The new strategy of judiciously use of fertilizer with well planned integrated plant nutrient supply system(IPNS) as an approach, which adapts plants nutrition to a specific farming system and particular yield targets, the physical resource base, the available plant nutrient sources and the socio-economic back ground should be adopted to overcome the environmental problems (Dudal and Roy, 1995). The sources of plant nutrients may be mineral fertilizers and/or biological nitrogen fixation and/or organic materials depending upon particular location. This integrated plant nutrient supply system should be science based, associating agronomy, ecology and social sciences. It should use a farming system approach and not limit itself to cropping system only. It should address both increased productivity and profitability and integrate maintenance and rehabilitation of natural resources. It will thus be possible to give a technical package of management requirement for a given soil- water - plant - environment situation for realizing maximum fertilizer input use efficiency.

1.4 The role of fertilizer

It is well recognized that a cluster of social, economic, technical and institutional factors affect the level of productivity. Among these, the influence of technological factors predominates for these factors which bring structural changes in agricultural production system by affecting productivity levels. Importance of the other factors lies in as much as they make the economy conductive to rapid adoption of technological advancement. This has been amply demonstrated by experiences of the agriculturally developed countries which have attained high level of crop productivity through application of technological inputs such as improved and high yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds, fertilizers water management, plant protection measures and mechanization. Among these inputs, chemical fertilizers have played a vital role. The same has been experienced in Indian agriculture particularly after the mid sixties which led to substantial productivity gains in the country. The role played by fertilizers in the so-called "Green Revolution"" cannot be neglected. Hence, this revolution is also called “Seed Fertilizer Revolution".

As fertilizers are a key component in the package of practices for increasing crop production, they help to replenish essential nutrients that are lost from the soil at every harvest. Several experiments and demonstrations on fertilizers use have proved that the crop yield can be increased sustainably through proper use of fertilizers. Fertilizers, HYVs and irrigation play quite a complementary role in increasing crop yields. Although irrigation influences crop production in many ways, it does not give much higher returns without the use of fertilizers and high yielding varieties of seeds. It is difficult to assess realistically the impact of each single factor in bringing about the increased agricultural production. High yielding varieties by themselves play vital role and their potential could be exploited by application of fertilizers. Thus, crop yields depend mainly on the three control variables, irrigation, high yielding variety and use of chemical fertilizers, apart from natural factors such as rainfall, plentiful sunshine and ideal temperature. The average yield per hectare of crops in India is very low due to exhausted soils which have been over cropped from centuries without adequate replenishment for plant nutrients through fertilizers. It is not possible for the most soils to supply the needed amounts of plant nutrients removed from these soils in the past for getting continuously higher yield of crops. Such heavy removal of plant nutrients from soil leads to depletion of soil fertility, which shows up in crop yield decline and lowered factor productivity (Yadav et at., 1998). Therefore, application of fertilizers is essential to prevent soil degradation, keeping agriculture land productive and economically viable.

1.5 Fertilizer consumption scenario

Among the new technology, fertilizer plays a decisive role in modern agriculture. Commercialization of agricultural sector, change in product mix and declining labour productivity and labour use are the major factors that drive the intensive use of fertilizers.

The fertilizer consumption in India has increased many folds from 65.6 thousand tonnes in 1951-52 to 281.22 lakh tonnes in 2010-11. The corresponding figures for total consumption of N2, P2O5 and K2O during 2010-11 were 165.58, 80.50 and 35.14 lakh tonnes, respectively. The fertilizer consumption in India has grown considerably in the last five decades however, it is still low in comparison to other countries. The fertilizer consumption was 25.75 kg per hectare during 1970 and it increased to 75.43 kg per hectare during 1990s registering a growth rate of 3.94 per cent between 1990-91 and 2000-01 (Ramasamy, 2004). The average fertilizer consumption per hectare of cropped area in India rose from mere 0.55 kg in 1950-51 to 144.14 kg in 2010-11. It is disheartening to note that in spite of this impressive growth over the last five decades, per hectare consumption in India is still very low as compared to that of many other countries.

A great deal of variability was observed in fertilizer consumption during 2009-10 among the states. Amongst states in the country, per hectare consumption was quite high in Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. It was quite low in case of Rajasthan, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. The all India average consumption of fertilizer was 135.3 kg per hectare in 2009-10. Gujarat occupied eighth position on the basis of per hectare consumption of total NPK (154.96 kg) in the country. It is still far below the levels of consumption of some of the progressive states. Hence, it is necessary to identify the factors influencing temporal and spatial variations in fertilizer use in the state of Gujarat.

The success of modern agriculture depends on the use of technological inputs, of which, chemical fertilizers happens to be quite important one, which become popular among Indian farmers after independence.

Though there are very few recent studies at the national level on growth pattern of fertilizer consumption at the end still fewer have focused specifically on study of factors influencing fertilizer consumption. The process of adoption of fertilizer technology is crop specific and region specific. Regions may differ widely in respect of soil, climatic conditions, irrigation, and adoption of HYVs, the average size of farm and so on. Analysis of region wise data on fertilizer consumption would be useful because it can reveal the degree of variation in the growth of fertilizer consumption among various regions. It will provide also an understanding of the forces behind the past growth of fertilizer consumption.

Use of fertilizers at farmer's level is a complex one. Generally it is found that farmers are not using recommended level of fertilizers for the crops under cultivation, which result into a gap in fertilizer use. It is, therefore, important from the farmers’ point of view to use this input up to the level where the net income can be maximize and the gap in efficient use of fertilizer. Thus, it is clear that the studies on fertilizer consumption will be of paramount importance to the planners as well policy makers in preparing realistic future plans to create condition for rapid increase in fertilizer consumption to attain long term goals of agricultural productivity.

1.6 Soil testing services- Soil Health Card

In the context of changing policy environment, it seems likely that farmers will be under increasing pressure to pay higher prices for fertilizers. In the irrigated areas in Gujarat where the fertilizer use is widespread and has reached 1.5 times or more than the recommended rates, the issue of fertilizer use efficiency has increasingly become important (Desai, 1986). The soil testing services is closely related to fertilizer use efficiency. It identifies soil specific requirements of different nutrients. In 2005, the Government of Gujarat has launched Soil Health Card Scheme in which Soil Health Card are issued for farmers containing the information on soil type, cropping pattern, crop sequence, fertilizer dose on the basis of soil analysis etc. The farmers are advised to use chemical fertilizers on the basis of information provided in soil health card, which resulted into optimum yield response and thereby increase in net income. No systemic study to examine the impact of Soil Health Card has been conducted.

The present study entitled, " Regional imbalances and impact of soil health card on fertilizer consumption in Gujarat”, was conducted with the following specific objectives.


The specific objectives of study are spelt out below:

(I) To examine the district wise trend in consumption of fertilizers in the Gujarat state.
(II) To estimate the district wise gap between requirement and consumption of the fertilizers in the state.
(III) To study the determinants of fertilizer use in selected major crops in South Gujarat region.
(IV) To work out fertilizer use efficiency for selected major crops in South Gujarat region.
(V) To study the impact of Soil Health Card on fertilizer consumption for selected major crops in South Gujarat region.


The specific hypotheses of the study are helpful for the analytical purposes. The following are the hypotheses postulated for the present study.

(i) There is outward trend in consumption of fertilizers in most of the regions of Gujarat state.
(ii) There is a wide variation in fertilizer consumption among the crops as well as regions of the state.
(iii) Farmers are not using recommended level of fertilizers for the crops under cultivation, so that it results into a gap in fertilizer use.
(iv) Irrigation, high yielding varieties, cropping intensity and size of holding are the major factors, which determines the fertilizer consumption on farm.
(v) Soil Health Card is useful to the farmers for enhancing the yield response and thereby increasing in net income.

1.7 Scope and utility of the study

The success of modern agriculture, among other things, depends largely on the use of off farm produced inputs of which chemical fertilizers happen to be quite important ones. The fertilizer technology became popular among the Indian farmers only after independence. A proper understanding of observed pattern of fertilizer consumption at district level and fertilizer use pattern at farmers’ level can be emerged only after studying the behavior of individual farmer. It is important to undertake such study because it gives feedback to researchers and policy makers. The knowledge about the growth and pattern of fertilizer consumption at district level, determination of fertilizer use for selected major crops at farmers’ level, in turn would be useful to shape new policies and provides guidelines for designing an appropriate institutional and technological strategy. Thus, the present study focuses attention on fertilizer consumption pattern at district level in the state of Gujarat and fertilizer use pattern, determination of fertilizer use efficiency, determinants of fertilizer use and impact of Soil Health Card on fertilizer consumption in Gujarat state in general and South Gujarat region in particular.


(i) The finding of results depends upon the reality of the secondary data available from different sources.
(ii) Most of farmers are not maintaining the farm records. The primary data from the farm households were collected by survey method based on their memory and past experience with the help of pre-tested questionnaire. The accuracy of information depends upon farmer’s memory.
(iii) The observation made and findings of the study would be applicable only study area in particular; however, it can also be useful for policy formation for the study area and also for other areas under similar condition.


Research work on consumption of chemical fertilizers at micro as well macro level has been carried out in different part of the country. The available review of literature provides frame work for analytical procedure to be followed, and the strong and week points of the findings of such studies help in identifying the conceptual issues relevant to study.

Brief accounts of some of the past studies which are related to present investigation are presented in this section under the following heads

2.1 Fertilizer consumption pattern
2.2 Fertilizer use pattern on farms
2.3 Factors affecting fertilizer consumption
2.4 Fertilizer use efficiency
2.5 Impact of soil health card

2.1 Fertilizer consumption pattern

Gangadharan (1980) analyzed quantitatively the effects of fertilizer and crop output prices, farm credit and improvement in technological knowledge on the fertilizer consumption in Kerala using simple linear and double log functions. The study showed that fertilizer consumption was more elastic with respect to product price.

Anonymous (1982) has conducted a study on changing patterns of fertilizer consumption during the period 1971 to 1982. It was found that the consumption in India has increased at the compound growth rate of 9.3 per cent per annum. There was a violent fluctuation in the consumption from year to year, region to region and across the states. Fertilizer consumption increased more rapidly in the states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal where a judicious mix of fertilizer was distributed through various channels. These states were followed by Gujarat and Bihar where only marketing federations predominated in fertilizer distribution. Balanced growth in fertilizer consumption is influenced by pricing mechanism and policies for fertilizers.

Patil and Pandey (1982) examined the demand for nitrogenous fertilizer in Indian agriculture. The rate and growth of fertilizer consumption were related to factors such as irrigation, high yielding varieties, farmers’ receptiveness, price relationship between crops and fertilizer and credit rating. These gave rise to a wide range of fertilizer consumption levels within and between the states. The impact of economic and agro-climatic factors was examined in determining the consumption of N2 at macro level and relationship of various factors was studied to gauge their relative contribution towards higher consumption of N2 through Cobb Douglas production function. It was observed that irrigation was dominant factor, with others exhibiting varying degrees of significance in the selected study areas.

Ray and Sharma (1985) studied fertilizer consumption in different districts of India for the periods 1962-65, 1970-73 and 1978-81. The results showed that inter and intra regional disparities have widened as a result of the adoption of modern technologies. They opined that equality oriented growth is the way of distributing the benefits of modern technology more evenly.

Patel (1986) examined district-wise growth and inter-district variation in fertilizer consumption in Gujarat during the previous 20 years. The level of irrigation and extent of adoption of high value crops played an important role in the inter-district variation in per hectare fertilizer consumption. Within the irrigated area, fertilizer consumption had relatively more high value crops like cotton, tobacco, groundnut and sugarcane.

Santra and Sarker (1989) examined market inequality in fertilizer consumption in India during 1970-71 to 1980-81. They observed that over the decades, no significant change was observed in the rank of states for fertilizer consumption. The intensity of irrigation contributed the most to variation in fertilizer use, followed by marketing outlets.

Shah (1989) conducted the study on constraints in fertilizer consumption in Gujarat and examined the economics of fertilizer use in irrigated and unirrigated crops. The main constraints reported were lack of adequate knowledge about application of fertilizer and other inputs at right time, lack of awareness about the latest technological developments and recommended packages of inputs, and above all, the farmer’s belief that the use of fertilizers is risky in rainfed situations.

Kumar et al. (1991) studied fertilizer consumption pattern in Upper Gangetic Plain region. The total NPK consumption during 1989-90 in the region was 1349 thousand tonnes which constituted about 11.7 per cent of the total fertilizer consumption in the country and 13.8, 9.2 and 4.5 per cent of total N, P2O5 and K2O in the country, respectively.

Shiyani et al. (1991) estimated requirement of NPK for Saurashtra region of Gujarat state for the period 1969-70 to 1988-89. The results showed significant increase in P and K, while the requirement of N remained almost static. The consumption of NPK fertilizer showed significant increasing trend suggesting that the gap between requirement and consumption decreased year after year. The analysis for districts showed large variation in fertilizer consumption.

Singh and Gupta (1991) observed that growth in fertilizer consumption in India picked up rapidly with the adoption of new high yielding varieties (HYVs) of cereal crops during 1967-68 to 1988-89. They also observed inter regional disparities in fertilizer consumption during the period.

Sharma et al. (1997) studied the compound growth rate of fertilizer consumption in India during the period 1970-71 to 1992-93. They concluded that the compound growth rate of phosphatic fertilizer consumption was the highest followed by Nitrogenous fertilizers. The compound growth rate of total fertilizer consumption was 8.84 per cent per annum in India.

Painuly and Dev (1998) observed that fertilizer consumption in India was concentrated in about one-third of the cultivated area in 1998 and its use has been increasing but it has been used inefficiently which needs to be considered while formulating strategies for sustainable agriculture in India.

Saran and Sethi (2000) observed that fertilizer consumption in India increased during the period 1970-71 to 1994-95, despite substantial increases in fertilizer prices. Fertilizer use was highly uneven among the states. Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh occupied about one-third of the gross cropped area of the country and accounted for half of the fertilizer consumption. Moreover, wide variations in the growth rates of fertilizer consumption were observed among different states during different time periods.

Tiwari (2000) observed that Nitrogen continued to be the lead nutrient applied accounting for 78 per cent of the total nutrient consumed, followed by P(19%) and K(3%) in Uttar Pradesh. The NPK consumption ratio was found to be 26 : 6.3 : 1 in Uttar Pradesh in 1997-98. The state has marked regional disparities in respect of fertilizer consumption in the study year.

Khunt et al. (2001) observed the high fluctuation in fertilizer consumption with high growth rate in Gujarat state during the period 1961-2000. They also noticed increasing consumption of K in rabi season and declining trend in kharif season.

Yadav and Rai (2001) revealed that the use of modern inputs especially of agro-chemicals increased manifold in Haryana state. It increased from 64 kg per hectare in 1980-81 and reached to the level of 212.34 kg per hectare in 1996-97 with the contribution of N, P and K being 172.66, 38.81 and 0.86 kg per hectare, respectively.

Sujit and Mishra (2002) observed that Indian agriculture has witnessed a massive change in fertilizer use leading to a significant demand for fertilizer in India.

Devdas and Chandrasekaran (2002) described the problems concerning fertilizer marketing in India. They suggested that fertilizer marketing policy should aim at : to increase fertilizer consumption, balanced fertilization, efficient use of fertilizers, educating farmers on the economics of fertilizer use, maintenance of soil health, provision of value added products, human resource development and farmer’s prosperity.

Mukherjee (2002) analyzed the trend and pattern of fertilizer consumption in India and observed that there was a rising trend in consumption of all fertilizers, but it declined in 2000. He also observed imbalances in fertilizer use between North- Estern states and Green Revoluation states of Punjab and Haryana.

Mahmood and Shereen (2004) observed that out of the total fertilizer consumption, 35.1 per cent of fertilizer was used for paddy, 19.3 per cent for wheat, 5.9 per cent for cotton, 5.5 per cent for sugarcane, 4.7 per cent for groundnut, 2.6 per cent for maize crop and the remaining consumption was accounted for other crops. On the whole, about 70 per cent of fertilizer was consumed in irrigated area. Another feature of fertilizer consumption in India has been that the cereal crops consumed 60 to 65 per cent.

Ramasamy (2004) studied the fertilizer consumption pattern in India. The fertilizer consumption was 25.75 kg. per hectare during 1970s and it increased to 78.43 kg. per hectare during 1990s registering a growth rate of 3.94 per cent per annum between 1990-91 and 2000-2001. There was however a notable disparity in fertilizer use among the states during 1970s and 1980s and the variation has declined marginally during 1990s. The Ginni concentration ratio was 0.46, 0.49 and 0.43 during 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, respectively.

Shipra Singh (2004) revealed that per hectare fertilizer consumption in India is less than that in other developed as well as a few developing countries, even though the consumption has been undergone a six-fold increase in the last three decades. He also noticed that 55 per cent consumption of fertilizer was concentrated in 5 states.

In the seminar on “Changing Face of Fertilizer and Agriculture” organised by Fertilizer Association of India, Shri Michel Prudhomme stated that worldwide fertilizer demand is likely to grow at about 2.1% per cent per annum during the next five years, from about 147.1 million tonnes in 2003-04 to about 2008-09. There would be a shift from low to high analysis grades. The growth would be more in P and K (2.7 % /annum) as compared to N (1.7 % /annum) (Anonymous, 2005).

Sundari and Rao (2005) revealed that in Gujarat during the period 1978-79 to 2003-04, the total consumption of fertilizers increased at CAGR of 4.88 per cent while N, P2O5 and K2O increased at CAGR of 5.9 per cent, 3.47 per cent and 2.64 per cent, respectively. They revealed that during 1996 to 2001, in India total fertilizers consumption increased at CAGR of 1.8 per cent while for Gujarat it was -1 per cent. They showed that irrigation and fertilizers prices have shown significant effect on fertilizers use (N+P+K).

Anonymous (2006) concluded that in West Bengal, the total consumption of chemical fertilizers (N, P205 and K2O) per hectare of gross cropped area increased from 13 kg per hectare in 4th Plan to 120 kg per hectare in 9th Plan period i.e. 9 times increased during this period. They also found that there was acute inter-size and inter-district variations in per hectare fertilizers use.

Kalara and Singh (2007) conducted a study in Bulandshahar district of U.P. found that the nitrogen, phosphorous and zinc sulphate consumption was 161.1, 28.9 and 6.7 kg. per hectare, respectively for fine grain and 180.0, 23.4 and 5.1 kg. per hectare, respectively for coarse grain variety of paddy.

Bhalla and Singh (2009) found more than 100 per cent growth in fertilizers consumption per hectare during 1980-83 to 1990-93. Its growth rate was just 50 per cent over the period 1990-93 to 2003-06 in India. They also propounded that over the triennium 1962-65 to 2003-06, the coefficient of variation among states declined from 531 to 118 per cent for fertilizers consumption.

Shah et al. (2009) reported that farmers of Gujarat have moved from a 13:7.5:1 nitrogen-phosphorous- potassium composition to 6.5:3.5:1, thereby reducing cost, optimizing production and improving net income.

Agarwal (2010) reported that though the recommended ratio of N-P-K is 4:2:1, the actual ratios in 2005-06 in Punjab and Haryana were 20:6:1 and 30:9:1, respectively.

Chand et al. (2011) conducted a study for input survey in India during 1991-92 and 2001-02.They showed that fertilizer use per hectare of area remained the highest in the bottom category of farm size and it declined with an increase in farm size. They also noticed that disparity in fertilizer use across size categories was much higher in unirrigated land than in irrigated land.

Khosa et al. (2012) conducted a study in eleven districts of Punjab State. They found that farmers were applying more fertilizers particularly nitrogen as compared to both soil test basis and target yield based fertilizer recommendation in wheat and rice crops.

2.2 Fertilizer use pattern on farms

Sen (1981) studied some aspects of fertilizer use by small farmers. He found that the farmers operating marginal holding form the largest group of fertilizer users. The second largest group of fertilizer users was that of small farmers. The marginal farmers used the highest quantity of fertilizer per unit of land and small farmers were the second highest, while the quantity in case of other farmers was the lowest. If taken singly, the share of marginal and small farmers in fertilizer consumption was the least as compared to large farmers. But by taking marginal and small farmers together their share in the total fertilizer consumption was larger than that of operators of large holdings.

Bhatia (1983) studied the pattern of fertilizer use in India. Sugarcane was one of the most important commercial crops in which rates of fertilizer use were found different in different states. Maharashtra recorded the highest application of fertilizers for sugarcane crop (338.02 kg/ha) followed by Andhra Pradesh (270.10 kg/ha), Tamil Nadu (212.79 kg/ha), Uttar Pradesh (64.11 kg/ha) and Bihar (46.2 kg/ha). Cotton and sugarcane were the important crops which accounted for 7.14 percent and 7.12 percent, respectively of the total fertilizer consumption in the country during the year 1983.

Waghmare and Dhongade (1985) carried out an economic analysis of fertilizer application and yield rates of sugarcane in Maharashtra. They concluded that sugarcane growers had not adopted the balanced use of N, P and K fertilizers. The gaps between the recommended and observed levels of nitrogen were of the order of 10 to 15 per cent.

In a study entitled “ Economics of Farm Management in Command Area of “Nagarjuna Sagar Irrigation Project” in Andhra Pradesh, it was found that the per hectare fertilizer consumption was 64.90 kg, of which, 42.50 kg was N, 16.70 kg was P2O5 and 5.70 kg was K2O. The fertilizer consumption was found higher in irrigated villages while in unirrigated villages higher dose of organic manures was noticed (Anonymous, 1986).

Singh et al. (1989) examined the use of manures and fertilizers on different farms in Himachal Pradesh. It was found that the majority of farmers were using fertilizer in both the seasons i.e. Kharif and Rabi and it was positively related to the size of farms. It was further noticed that the use of fertilizers was below the recommended levels.

Shah et al. (1995) found that in Gujarat, 70 per cent of those farmers who had previously reported a reduction in fertilizer use showed the economic losses; this would occur due to their decision to reduce fertilizer use. They were willing to increase fertilizer use. Only 7 per cent of sample farmers were unwilling to change their decision to reduce fertilizer use.

Inamke et al. (1996) examined the fertilizer use pattern for sugarcane in respect of three recovery zones of sugarcane in Maharashtra at different points of time. They observed that among the three recovery zones, the use of N, P2O5 and K2O fertilizers was not as per the recommendation and it was very low in low recovery zone where the productivity was also very low (50 t/ha) as compared to other two zones.

Singh et al. (1999) revealed that impact of fertilizer use has been much less significant in rainfed farming through out the country. The average use of fertilizer remains quite low (25 kg/ha) in rainfed crops. A number of constraints limited the widespread use of fertilizer in dry lands. Uncertainty of rainfall is one of the primary risk factors influencing the farmers’ decision in using this expensive input.

Velrasu and Singh (1999) revealed that most of the farmers did not follow the fertilizer use recommendations in Tamil Nadu. Besides this, there was a wide disparity in fertilizer use among various categories of farmers and crops. Fertilizer use was high on irrigated areas as compared to dry land areas. The over utilization of N and under utilization of P and K was noticed. They emphasized that all possible efforts should be made to ensure balanced fertilizer use by the farmers to make agriculture sustainable.

Singh et al. (2000) studied constraints in fertilizer use in arid zone of Western Rajasthan. They found that among the fertilizer users, maximum farmers had applied more nitrogenous fertilizer as compared to phosphatic fertilizer and both were applied lesser than recommended dose. The main constraints perceived by the farmers were lack of irrigation facilities and high cost of fertilizer and lack of knowledge.

Ardeshna and Khunt (2005) in their study on fertilizer use in Saurashtra region of Gujarat found that consumption of fertilizers, in general, has increased in all the districts except K consumption, and the fertilizer consumption was mainly influenced by the gross irrigated areas. On farmers’ field, the gap in use of N was observed in all the selected crops and was also not utilized efficiently in most of the selected crop.

Sananse (2006) concluded that in Konkan region of Maharashtra, on an average use of fertilizers per hectare (N, P2O5 and K2O:74.28, 19.34, 16.36) was lower than that of recommended dose (100:50:50) for rice crop.

Naidu et al. (2007) reported in Nalathwad watershed in Bijapur district of Karnataka that farmers were used excess N and P than required with no use of K leading to large scale mining of soil K in sorghum, wheat and sunflower crops.

Anonymous (2008b) analyzed that total consumption of N, P2O5 and K2O in Haryana grew by 8 per cent, 11.5 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively during the period 1970-71 to 2003-04,while per hectare fertilizer used increased, on an average by 6.10 and 5 per cent per annum for wheat and rice, respectively. They showed that N and P2O5 consumption per hectare for wheat was 150 kg. and 67 kg., respectively while for paddy, it was 167 kg. and 50 kg.

Maji and Bhakat (2010) have conducted a study in Hooghly district of West Bengal envisaged a fact that fertilizer was being used in excess of requirement (about 50.67 per cent higher over the recommended doses) .They also revealed the fact that 3.8,107.0 and 125.0 per cent of applied N,P and K, respectively could be considered as excess of requirement.

Reddy (2011) conducted a study in Darsi mandal of Prakasam district of arid region of coastal Andhra Pradesh observed that farmers across all size classes applied two and half to three times the recommended doses of nitrogen and phosphorous supplying fertilizers per acre.

Thus, the above studies have brought out the fact that the use of fertilizer is mostly common on the farms where irrigation facilities are available. It was also observed that the use of chemical fertilizers is higher in commercial crops as compared to cereals. The fertilizer use pattern also varies from region to region, crop to crop and among the varieties of the same crop. The levels of fertilizer use are not as per the recommendations.

2.3 Factors affecting fertilizer consumption

Jayaraman (1979) made an inter-district cross-sectional analysis in Gujarat for finding out the causes behind the differences in fertilizer consumption in two periods 1967-68 and 1973-74. The analysis indicated that irrigation continued to remain a significant factor in determining the use of nitrogen over the period of six year. Rainfall and cash crops emerged as significant variables influencing nitrogen use for the recent period.

Patil and Pandey (1981) using the static and dynamic models, attempted to examine the influence of economic and agronomic factors in determining the application of phosphatic fertilizer at micro level. The Cobb-Douglas type of functions was used to explore the relative contribution of such factors in enhancing phosphatic fertilizer use in different states for the period 1955-56 to 1975-76. The empirical findings of the study revealed that irrigation was the most dominating factor for increasing fertilizer consumption. The real price of fertilizer did not affect fertilizer consumption in any significant manner in almost all the states. Improved farm technology and management practices in all the states were expected to increase future consumption of phosphatic fertilizers.

Patil and Pandey (1982) made a similar study for nitrogenous fertilizers using the time series data from 1955-56 to 1974-75. The results of the study emphasized the need for remunerative and stable prices of crops and fertilizers in most of the states apart from irrigation and trend variable indicating technological changes. In Karnataka, irrigation was the only significant factor influencing the fertilizer use over the period.

Gupta (1983) used the multiple regression analysis to capture the effect of different variables on consumption of nutrient “N” (kg) per hectare of cropped area in India (1970-79). Amongst the variables considered, area under irrigation, weather, relative price of fertilizer and the share of cropped area were found to be statistically significant while the area under HYVs and the credit factor did not turn out to be significant.

Nagraj (1983), using the correlation and regression analysis, determined the impact of factors affecting fertilizer use in different states of India. The results showed that rainfall was relatively an unimportant variable in explaining the observed variations in fertilizer use. The factors like irrigation, spread of HYVs and fertilizer intensive crops were found to have a positive and significant effect on fertilizer consumption. Use of fertilizers and relative price were inversely related in many cases but the relationship was non significant.

Singh (1983) attempted to identify factors influencing fertilizer consumption in India. The major factors found influencing fertilizer consumption were irrigation, area under HYVs of crops and credit availability to the farmers.

Singh and Zilberman (1984) conducted a study on allocation of fertilizer among the crops under risk. They concluded that risk caused by price instability resulting in variation in income from crop affected the allocation of fertilizers among the crops. Secondly, the low risk crops associated with low levels of fertilizer use. It was suggested that appropriate prices of fertilizers and crop insurance policies should be implemented in order to stabilize the income.

Datta et al. (1985) observed from their study on constraints in the use of fertilizer in West Bengal that lack of irrigation facilities and inadequate extension services were the major constraints in fertilizer consumption. They suggested that the provision of adequate irrigation facilities, expansion of extension services and imparting training to the farmers in balanced use of fertilizers should be implemented in order to increase the use of fertilizers.

Flinn and Shakya (1985) studied the factors influencing the adoption and use rates of fertilizer for wheat. According to them, the factors related to fertilizer use in wheat were the area under cultivation, extent of irrigation, transport cost of fertilizer and operator’s tenure status. They further viewed that the fertilizer adoption was sensitive to the cost of fertilizer procurement implying that farmers in the area were responsive to fertilizer price as reflected in procurement plus delivery cost.

Panchal and Moolchand (1985) examined the constraints in fertilizers consumption in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. They reported that the reduction of fertilizer prices had no significant impact on fertilizer consumption. The price reduction combined with extension services, expansion of area under HYV and proper propaganda about reduction of prices would lead to higher fertilizer consumption.

Desai (1986) was of the opinion that because of the constraints on lowering real prices of fertilizers, non-price policies would be more crucial in determining the pace of future growth in India’s fertilizer consumption. Under the present price environment, there is great scope to accelerate growth in fertilizer consumption through non-price policies of improving the efficiency of fertilizer use, shifting the response functions upwards through use of quality seeds and removing the deficiencies in fertilizer supply and distribution system.

Thakur and Sinha (1988) concluded that area under HYVs, irrigation and rainfall significantly influenced fertilizer usage whilst fertilizer price was observed to be non significant in Bihar during the period 1968-69 to 1981-82.

John and George (1990) analysed fertilizer use in West Coast Plains and Ghat zones in India. They identified the important determinants of fertilizer use viz., credit availability, irrigation facilities, awareness of recommendation among the farmers, cost of labour and cost-benefit ratio. In certain cases, the farmers were not willing to apply fertilizers for rainfed crops due to the fear of inadequate returns.

Kute (1990) studied the factors influencing the use of fertilizers in plains and hilly regions of Gujarat. He found that weather factors such as rainfall, temperature, soil including irrigated area had direct relation with fertilizer use. The poor weather condition has resulted in the reduction in fertilizer consumption by about 20 per cent and the drought condition has reduced the fertilizer consumption by 34 per cent.

Suryawanshi et al. (1990) reported that the irrigation was one of the most important factors for increasing the use of fertilizer in Kukadi Command Area in Maharashtra. They found that the fertilizer use gap before introduction of irrigation in command area was about 70 to 90 per cent of the recommendation. Jowar, bajra and wheat growers did not use fertilizers due to lack of irrigation while after canal irrigation the proportion of non-users of fertilizers reduced to 35 to 40 per cent in the year 1986-87. However, for one or other reasons, the use of fertilizers for almost all crops was below the recommended levels. The farmers who did not use the fertilizers reported the major constraints viz; lack of finance (25 to 47%), costly fertilizers (18 to 27 percent), non-availability of fertilizers when needed (7 to 16 percent) and irregular irrigation turns (4 to 12 %).

Bajpai and Shrivastava (1991) identified that irrigation and high yielding varieties of seed and subsidy were the most influencing factors on fertilizer consumption in India during 1991. However, it was found that HYVs and intensity of irrigation were the most instrumental than subsidy.

John and George (1991) conducted the study on factors influencing the fertilizer application for sustainable agriculture in West Coast Plain and Ghat region of India. They found that the relatively high cost of fertilizer, low benefit-cost ratio and lack of awareness of recommended does of fertilizers for specific crops were the reasons behind the low use of fertilizers.

Kute and Haria (1991) studied nutrient balance and sustainable agriculture in plains and hills of Gujarat. They reported that ignorance and awareness of farmers about soil fertility status, deficiency of soil in major, secondary and micro nutrients, vagaries of weather and frequency of drought conditions, non-availability of HYVs seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, saline soils, less availability of irrigation water, lack of awareness about recommended levels of fertilizers and unawareness of latest technologies were the major constraints to low fertilizers consumption in the region.

Singh and Gupta (1991) identified that irrigation facilities and availability of credit were the key determinants of fertilizer consumption in India.

Pathak et al. (1993) observed noticeable decline in per hectare consumption of nutrient following the fertilizer price hike in Gujarat during 1990-91 to 1991-92. The study showed that there was a shift in cropping pattern from high fertilizer consuming crops like wheat to low consuming crops like pulses.

Reddy (1993) concluded that small farmers were either restraining themselves from using higher dosage of fertilizers and this is more so in the case of HYV paddy which requires more of these inputs in Andhra Pradesh. The study also indicated that large farmers were concentrating more on HYV paddy which is more responsive to fertilizers than local varieties whereas the vice versa was true in case of small farmers.

Kayarkanni (2000) in his study in Tamil Nadu found that the relative price of fertilizer had a greater influence on fertilizer demand. He concluded that fertilizer demand for tree crop was price-inelastic. He also inferred that other things remaining constant, fertilizer use on tenant farm was more than on owner farms.

Bezbaruah and Roy (2002) studied in Barak Valley region of Assam. They found that there was no significant variation in the application of fertilizer with farm size. The application of fertilizer per hectare by the farmers has been found significantly dependent upon the availability of irrigation and access to extension service.

Sujit and Mishra (2002) observed that Indian agriculture has witnessed a massive change in fertilizer use and its demand was determined by factors like its price, subsidies, net irrigated area and area under HYVs.

Singh and Nasir (2003) observed an inadequate agricultural credit flow in Bihar. They further inferred that the agricultural credit flow had positive influence on fertilizer consumption.

Rao and Modi (2003) revealed that management initiatives were required in changing cropping pattern, rainfed farming and efficiency of fertilizer use. Availability of credit and use of information technology played a vital role in boosting fertilizer use and hence agricultural production in India.

Sundari and Rao (2005) analysed the trends in fertilizer consumption and changes in the cropping pattern in Gujarat in 2005. The causes of reduction in fertilizer consumption and changes in cropping pattern included inadequate irrigation facilities, erratic rainfall and low return in investments.

Anonymous (2008a) conducted a study in five states viz. Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab and West Bengal and found that irrigation was the most important factor influencing fertilizer consumption in wheat in India with elasticity of 2.04 per cent. They also found that the impact of fertilizers consumption on the production of wheat and rice was significant and positive.

Ardeshna and Khunt (2011) in their study on fertilizer use in Saurashtra region of Gujarat found that in Kharif crops like groundnut and bajra, rainfall has great impact in determination of level of fertilizer use; whereas in crops like cotton and wheat, irrigated area, per farm gross income, lagged prices and cropping intensity were the major factors which determine the level of use of fertilizers in these crops.

In general, agronomic factors viz.; irrigation, cropping pattern, area under HYVs and economic factors like, prices of fertilizers, certainty in level of income, capital rationing and labour cost were the important determinants of fertilizer use on the farms. It was also pointed out that the natural factors like temperature and frequency of drought were also influenced fertilizer use.

2.4 Fertilizer use efficiency

Neto et al. (1980) carried out an economic evaluation of fertilizer use in Central-South Region of Brazil by taking a sample of 375 farmers. They found that for most of the farms, the level of fertilizer use was in confidence interval of the optimum combination and the use of modern inputs explained most of the variation in crop productivity in the region.

Arora and Sharma (1981) studied the optimal allocation of fertilizer nutrient and its impact on cropping pattern and production levels. They concluded that in order to maximize returns to investment on fertilizers, the largest possible quantities of available fertilizers be allocated to HYVs wheat, followed in declining order to sugarcane and HYVs paddy.

Singh and Sharma (1984) revealed that in Uttar Pradesh the response to fertilization varies from region to region and from year to year which results in differential marginal physical productivities of fertilizer input in the production of particular crop. This might be due to differences in the climatic conditions, soil compositions and other factors. All these lead to differential optimal fertilizer requirement to optimize the crop output in different regions.


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Regional iImbalances and Impact of Soil Health Card on Fertilizer Consumption in Gujarat
Agricultural Economics
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The findings of the study advocates strengthening of extension and line department machineries to provide Soil Health Cards to remaining farmers and provide technical guidance to farmers. The emphasis should be given by the concern departments to wide spread the utilization of machineries for harvesting of sugarcane and paddy due to acute shortage of labours.
regional, soil, health, card, gujarat
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Dr.Jayantilal Jerajbhai Makadia (Author), 2012, Regional iImbalances and Impact of Soil Health Card on Fertilizer Consumption in Gujarat, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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