FERTILIZER USE AND EMISSION OF GHG FROM INDIAN AGRICULTURE

By sector, the largest sources of GHGs are the sectors of energy production (mainly CO, from fossil fuel combustion), and agriculture, forestry, and land use (mainly CH4 and N,0). The contribution of agriculture, forestry, and land use to total emissions decreased from 31% (2004) to 24% (2010). Identification of GHG sources and quantification of GHG emissions from the agriculture sector has passed through many phases of refinement. In agriculture, the non-C02 sources (CH4 and N,0) are reported as anthropogenic GHG emissions. The CO, emitted is considered neutral, being associated with annual cycles of carbon (C) fixation and oxidation through photosynthesis (IPCC 2013). Fertilizer and manure application form an integral part of agricultural soil management in agricultural production. According to a UN report, by 2050 India’s population is likely to reach 1.7 billion (United Nations 2017), nearly equal to that of China and the United States combined. Food grain production must be about 333 million tons (MT) to feed the burgeoning population. Agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. Over 58% of rural households depend on agriculture as their principal means of livelihood. Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry, is one of the largest contributors to the gross domestic product (GDP). The share of agriculture in the GDP in 2015-2016 was 17.5% and in employment 50% (Deshpande 2014), and that tells a tale: agriculture is becoming less important to the economy while remaining critical to employment. Fertilizer is an important input, contributing 50% toward an increase in food grain production. Trends in fertilizer consumption and food grain production since 1950 in terms of total quantities in the country are presented in Figure 7.1. In India, increasing food grain production from

50.8 MT in 1950-1951 to 275.7 MT in 2016-2017 is accompanied by a considerable increase in fertilizer use, which increased from 0.1 MMT to 26.0 MMT (Fertiliser Association of India 2019). The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in fertilizer consumption declined after 2000. While it increased at an annual growth rate of 10.63% between 1960-1961 and 2000-2001, it has grown at an annual rate of 2.63% between 2000-2001 and 2016-2017. Food grain production also registered a marginal reduction in growth rate from 2.21% to 2.00% during the same period. Therefore, fertilizer consumption significantly influences food grain production and the two complement each other. According to the FAO (FAOSTAT 2018), total GHG emissions (direct plus indirect emissions) from synthetic fertilizer in the year 2015 were 112 CO, eq. MMT when total consumption of fertilizer (N + P,05 + K,0) was 25.58 MMT (Fertiliser Association of India 2019), resulting in an emission factor of 4.38. The trend of GHG emissions (CO, equivalent) from fertilizer consumption since 1961 in India is shown in Figure 7.2. Therefore, GHG emissions increase with an increase in fertilizer use in agriculture. In India, the projected food grain demand by 2020 is 310.8 MT with fertilizer demand of 41.6 MMT (Kumar et al. 2016), and could have approximate GHG emissions of 184.79 CO, eq. MMT.

Trends in fertilizer consumption and food grain production since 1950 in terms of total quantities in India

FIGURE 7.1 Trends in fertilizer consumption and food grain production since 1950 in terms of total quantities in India. (From Fertilizer Statistics. 62nd edn. The Fertilizer Association of India, New Delhi, 2016-2017. CIN: U85300 DL 1955NPL 002999.)

Trends in GHGs emission (CO, equivalent) from fertilizer consumption since 1961 in India. (From Fertilizer Statistics. 62nd edn. The Fertilizer Association of India, New Delhi, 2016-2017. CIN

FIGURE 7.2 Trends in GHGs emission (CO, equivalent) from fertilizer consumption since 1961 in India. (From Fertilizer Statistics. 62nd edn. The Fertilizer Association of India, New Delhi, 2016-2017. CIN: U85300 DL 1955NPL 002999; GFIG emissions data taken from FAOSTAT, http://www.fao.org/faostat.)

 
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