Agriculture in India was historically viewed as a traditional occupation mainly catered to the needs of self-consumption rather than a commercial activity to make wealth of it. The demand for food grains in the latter half of the 20th century led to the Green Revolution. Today farming is more commercialized and there is a growing awareness on the need for improved high yielding varieties, and efficient management of inputs such as water, nutrition and management of pests.
It is estimated that 88% of the total available water is being currently used in agriculture. Due to the indiscriminate use of irrigation water and fertilizers, fertile soils have become water logged and saline.
The use of micro irrigation techniques and fertigation is the only way to manage these resources efficiently.
Specialty fertilizers are high analysis totally water soluble fertilizers. These are available in double and multi nutrient combinations with or without secondary elements or micronutrients. They are available in the liquid or crystalline form and can be used for fertigation and foliar application.
Fertigation is the process of applying the right quantities of different nutrients in the right proportions for a particular crop based on its requirements at different stages of crop growth.
Foliar nutrition is the method of applying specialty fertilizer through foliage when the requirement of the plant is immediate, or the plant is unable to take up soil-applied nutrients due to unfavorable soil related or climatic conditions.
Specialty fertilizers were first introduced in 1993 in Maharashtra. Today the demand for specialty fertilizers is prevalent in most of the horticultural segments in the states of Maharashtra , Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, UP and Haryana. Besides this, floriculture cultivation is gaining ground in India and these fertilizers have found an entry into this segment. Indigenous production capacities of water soluble fertilizers are non existent. All water soluble fertilizers are currently imported and distributed. Recognizing the growing importance and need for water soluble fertilizers, Rallis has established a relationship with one of the worlds largest producer of water soluble fertilizers - Ms Yara International. The expertise of Yara in the specialty fertilizer segment coupled with the Rallis strengths in Marketing and Distribution will help in building the awareness of the use of specialty amongst the Indian farming community.
Boron deficiency has been recognized as one of the most widespread next only to Zinc. It is a micronutrient of special importance as it has a role to play in the fertilization and flowering processes of crops.
Lack of replenishment of Boron over years of continual cropping has led to deficiencies in a large number of crops.
Rallis has a marketing agreement with Borax of the UK, a company who are the pioneers in Boron nutrition. We are marketing a product called Solubor which contains Boron in a totally water soluble form. This to be applied in a foliar form. Over the last three years this product has been established as the best available source of Boron in this country.
In crops and areas where water availability for spraying is difficult Rallis and Borax is looking at introducing a granular form of Boron called Granubor. This product is expected to be released by 2005.