The State Government-controlled Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation Ltd (MAIDC) would be the lead project manager in the setting up a customized fertilizer plant in the Ahmednagar district, the largest of the Maharashtra state in western India, on a public-private partnership basis.
Customized fertilizers are prepared by enriching regular fertilizers like urea, DAP and potash with micro nutrients (sulphur, zinc, and boron); they are customized for specific soil, crop and water conditions. Although they are 40 to 50 per cent more expensive than regular fertilizers, they tend to increase crop yield by up to a 100 per cent.
MAIDC is already manufacturing granulated mixed fertilizer and pesticides. They will first set up a pilot plant with an investment of about US$ 9.1 million. Depending on whether it is successful or not, the project would be scaled up eventually.
Years of intensive agriculture using standard fertilizers has reduced soil fertility. Customized fertilizers is one of the solutions for gaining back soil health. All major fertilizer players have announced plans for setting up customized fertilizer plants. Tata Chemicals has taken the lead by setting up a facility for manufacturing customized fertilizers with an annual capacity of 1.3 lakh tonnes at Babrala in Uttar Pradesh.