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Azotobacter: Tamil Nadu State Uses Highest Bio-fertilizer in India.

According to data compiled by the National Centre of Organic Farming, Tamil Nadu is the leader among States in the use of bio-fertilizers, an organic substitute for chemical fertilizers and it produces over 14,000 bio-fertilizers a year.

Professor, Department of Agricultural Microbiology of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, D. Balachandar said that, production of bio-fertilizers can safely be equated with usage because the State produces only as much as it consumes and therefore the State tops the country.

Most of the State’s production is from the eight Agriculture Department-owned facilities across the State. In paddy and a number of crops to increase yield, farmers use those bio-fertilizers or bio-inoculants as a substitute for NPK (nitrogen-phosphorous-potash) fertilizer.

Mr. Balachandar says that a hectare paddy would require 240 kg NPK and this would cost farmers over Rs. 1,000. If the farmers were to use bio-inoculants, they would spend only a couple of hundred rupees. This is not the only savings, but also the use of bio-inoculants will result in increase in yield by 10% to 15%. This will be additional income for the farmers.

The University Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy says that, the larger picture is that the State will have to spend less on fertilizers and also fertilizer subsidy.

The University has calculated that by actively promoting bio-inoculants, the State can save over Rs. 200 crore a year. But the sad part is that farmers use the organic substitute on only 10 percent of the 5.9 million hectare of cultivable area. The Agriculture Department encourages the use in three ways – treating seeds before plantation, administering those on roots and using on soil.

Farmers use the bio-inoculants on almost all crops that are cultivated in the State. The University is on the verge of releasing the bio-fertilizer that will substitute zinc. It is an important release, since the zinc being one of the most important micro-nutrients and it will further reduce the farmers’ dependence of chemicals.