Bangladesh to use new technology to double efficiency of urea fertilizer use

December 19th, 2007 - 2:17 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 19 (ANI): The Government of Bangladesh has announced that it will expand urea deep placement (UDP)a technology that doubles the efficiency of urea fertilizer use to almost 1 million hectares (ha) of rice land, reaching about 1.6 million farm families, in the coming dry season.

The Ministry of Agriculture of Bangladesh has requested that IFDC (An International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development) help implement the expanded project.

“Millions of rice farmers in Asia depend on urea fertilizer to meet the nitrogen needs of high-yielding rice varieties,” says Dr. Amit Roy, IFDC CEO.

Most farmers, including those in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia, broadcast urea into the floodwater.

But broadcasting is a highly inefficient application method because most of the nitrogen is lost to the air and water. Only one bag of urea in three is used by the plants.

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Bangladesh’s dry season rice production is expected to increase by 548,000 tons using UDP.

UDP is the insertion of large urea briquettes into the rice root zone after transplanting. UDP cuts nitrogen losses significantly. Farmers who use UDP can increase yields by 25% while using less than 50% as much urea as before.

“Yields were comparatively good where urea was deep placed,” said Dr. C.S. Karim, Advisor, Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture. “If we can save at least 20% of the urea by adopting UDP technology, we can supply a large part of the country’s demand from our own factories,” he added.

UDP technology improves nitrogen use efficiency by keeping most of the urea nitrogen in the soil close to the rice roots and out of the floodwater, where it is more susceptible to loss as gaseous compounds or runoff.

The technology not only improves farmer income, but creates employment because of the need for the briquettes.

In fact, ten Bangladeshi manufacturers have produced and sold more than 2,000 briquette-making machines. The new UDP program will include the manufacture and establishment of some 300 briquetting machines to manufacture 2.7-gram briquettes.

“I’m delighted that the Government of Bangladesh endorses the merit of this technology and has asked IFDC to be a part of the project,” said Roy. Bangladesh’s success with UDP has become a model for other rice-growing countries, he added. (ANI)

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