India needs to boost farm output to feed its 1.2 billion people. The country produces around 20 million tonnes of urea a year and imports 5 million to 6 million tonnes to meet demand. But in the case of the water-soluble fertilizers the demand has been up to now only meet by imports. Now it has been announced that the giant fertilizer maker Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) is setting up a 50 million tpa manufacturing plant at its Kandla unit in the Kutch district (Gujarat). The output will be urea phosphate which is highly in demand for drip irrigation of cash crops. It is usually applied through drip irrigation that cannot run on partially soluble fertilizers. The Kandla complex was commissioned in 1975 and has a NPK/DAP nameplate capacity of some 0.9 million P2O5 tpa. The location is about 800 km by rail from Mumbai. In the period 2009-2010 the major fertilizer raw materials inputs were 0.37 million tonnes ammonia, 0.78 million tonnes phosphate, and 0.66 million tonnes potash.
IFFCO produced in 2009-10 over 8 million tonnes fertilizers and accounted for about 22% of the Indian nitrogen fertilizer output and about 27% of the phosphate production.