Will spend Rs 45 crore in building two plants, in Rajasthan and Orissa.
Zuari Industries, part of the Saroj Poddar-led Adventz group, is looking to set up two soluble speciality fertiliser plants in Rajasthan and Orissa. The plants will be constructed and operated by Zuari Rotem Specialty Fertilisers Ltd, a joint venture between Zuari and Israel Chemicals Ltd.
The new plants will have an annual production capacity of 30,000 tonnes each. The company plans to invest around Rs 45 crore in building the plants, each of which will be spread over five to seven acres of land acquired privately.
“Water soluble fertiliser is a product of the future. This is a product where nutrient fixation is the best. We have seen the demonstrated results in Maharashtra. This is good for cash crops. Through the new plants we plan to expand our product portfolio,” Zuari Industries Managing Director Suresh Krishnan told Business Standard in an interview.
The company, which is worth more than Rs 7,000 crore, plans to begin the Rajasthan plant by late 2013 followed by Orissa. With these plants, the company was planning to expand in north and east India where demand for the product is high, said Krishnan.
At present, the company has a total installed capacity of 50,000 tonnes a year in water soluble NPK speciality fertilisers. Since March 2010, Zuari Rotem has been operating a soluble fertiliser production facility in Maharashtra with an annual capacity of 32,000 tonnes.
Krishnan said the company planned its Maharashtra plant to go full capacity by the end of this financial year. The plant currently manufactures one WSF grade of NPK fertiliser — Poorna-19 — which costs Rs 70,000-80,000 a tonne.
“This is a high-end product and there is no subsidy for this. The demand for this is very high in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. We are also undertaking massive education drive for farmers to make them more aware of the product,” Krishnan said.
Water-soluble speciality fertilisers is new technology in India and is used mainly through ‘fertigation’ techniques such as drip irrigation and sprinklers. The demand for these fertilisers increased rapidly in the wake of the recent spate of droughts, as these ensure uniform distribution of nutrients due to their unique properties. Consumption of this fertiliser is growing at 18-20 per cent annually.
Through usage of Poorna-19, the farmers can get nearly 15-30 per cent extra yield compared to the usage of conventional fertilisers. The company is using crop result demonstrations such as the Poorna Jagruti Abhiyana programme to promote the benefits of Poorna-19 fertiliser among farmers.
Zuari Industries is also looking at spending Rs 9,000 crore over the next three to four years as part of its expansion plans. These include setting up a 1.2-million tonnes per annum urea plant in Belgaum, Karnataka, for Rs 5,500 crore and a manufacturing unit to produce DAP, the location for which has not been decided yet.
“We are looking at both greenfield and brownfield projects. We are also keen on upstream investments in the P&K sectors. We are actively looking at some good opportunities as and when they come along,” Krishnan added.