Urea import up 85 per cent in April-May to 6.54 lakh tonne

NEW DELHI: Urea import almost doubled in the first two months of the current fiscal at 6.54 lakh tonnes and demand for the nutrient is expected to rise this year on normal monsoon. 

India had imported 3.51 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period, said a senior 
Fertiliser Ministry official. 

Urea is imported by the government's three canalising agency - 
Indian Potash Ltd (IPL), MMTC and STC. The country had imported 80.44 lakh tonnes in the entire 2012-13 fiscal at an average cost of USD 417 per tonne. 

The official said that 25-30 lakh tonnes of urea import is estimated for the Kharif season. The demand is expected to rise this year as India is likely to have normal monsoons. 

IPL, MMTC and STC are in the process of importing more urea to meet the demand in Kharif season, sources said, adding that the country is importing urea from 
Iran, Indonesia and IFFCO's JV plant in Oman. 

In 2012, urea demand was hit because of drought in four states - Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. 

Urea is provided to farmers at a fixed subsidised maximum retail price (MRP) of Rs 5,360 per tonne. The difference between the cost of production and MRP of urea is provided as subsidy. The domestic production of urea stands at about 220 lakh tonne.