2021 Kumar Iffco Nano Fertilizers for Sustainable Crop Production
Nano fertilizers hold potential to fulfil plant nutrition requirements, ensure farmers profitability and impart sustainability to crop production systems without compromising on crop yields. Nanotechnology employs nanomaterials in the range of 1 nm to 100 nm; particles in this range have unique characteristics having effective interaction at target sites. IFFCO has indigenously innovated at its Nano Biotechnology Research Centre (NBRC), Kalol, Gujarat and introduced nano fertilizers viz., Nano urea –liquid (nano N), nano zinc (Zn), and nano copper (Cu). These have been branded as IFFCO NANO UREA, IFFCO NANO ZINC, and IFFCO NANO COPPER. These are in sync with OECD Testing Guidelines (TGs) and Guidelines for Testing of NAIPs and Food Products released by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Their efficacy was evaluated on the basis of multi-location-multi-crop trials under varying crop seasons, both by the research institutes and also on the progressive farmers’ fields. Harvested produce of crops applied with IFFCO nano-urea, nano-zinc, and nano-copper have been found to be fit for consumption. Foliar sprays of the nano fertilizer at critical crop growth stages either alone or in combination have been found to increase crop yields even at reduced levels of application of their conventional analogues. IFFCO nano urea (liquid) has been notified under FCO, 1985 and commercial production has started. This paper reviews the efficacy and benefits of these nano fertilizers in increasing the nutrient use efficiency (NUE) and crop productivity, and sustainability and profitability of major crop production systems.