The fertilizer industry is the second most important industry of the country after iron and steel in terms of investment and value of manufactured products. India today is the second largest producer of nitrogenous fertilizers and third largest producer of phosphate fertilizers in the world.
Fertilizer industry is one of the fastest growing basic industries of the country which has taken rapid strides during recent years. Although the first fertilizer factory of the country was set up in 1906 the actual growth of the industry has been the outcome of the post-Independence period.
The commissioning of the public sector plant at Sindri by the Fertilizer Corporation of Indian 1951 may be termed as the milestone for the industry. Since then the industry has witnessed steady growth. The Green Revolution has accelerated the demands for chemical fertilizers.
The production capacity of nitrogenous fertilizers has increased from a modest 85,000 tons in 1951-52 to 104.98 lakh tons as on 31 March 1998 and that of phosphate fertilizers from 63,000 tons to 29.51 lakh tons of P2Os during the same period. Similarly against the nominal production of 16,000 tons of nitrogen and 11,000 tons of P2Os in 1951-52, the country produced 100.86 lakh tons of nitrogen and 29.76 lakh tons of P205 during 1997-98. Despite massive increase in the indigenous capacity and production of fertilizers over the years, substantial imports, either in the form of finished fertilizers or its raw materials and intermediates, are required every year to meet the country’s growing demand.