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Fertilizers are chemical chemicals that are added to the soil which promotes the growth of the plant and increases output. Farmers use these every day to increase crop output. The fertilizers contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, all of which are essential nutrients for plants. They increase the soil’s fertility while improving its water retention capacity. India utilized more than 61 million tonnes of fertilizer in FY20, with urea accounting for 55% of that amount. Example-Urea, ammonia, potassium, etc.

What are Fertilizers?

Fertilizers are a substance added to the soil, which directly increases the productivity of the crop via increasing the nutrients of the plant. Fertilizer sources can be both natural and man-made. Fertilizers contain crucial elements like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, that are required for the growth and development of the plant.

In the case of nitrogen-based fertilizers, the Indian fertilizer sector has made significant development. India is the world’s second-largest consumer of urea fertilizers, trailing only China. India also ranks second in nitrogenous fertilizer production and third in phosphatic fertilizer production.  The majority of production is under state control. Well-known PSUs include Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd, National Fertilizers Limited, Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd., and others.

Types of Fertilizers

There are two types of fertilizers:

  • Inorganic Fertilizers
  • Organic Fertilizers

Inorganic Fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers are chemical fertilizers that contain nutritional ingredients for crop growth and are produced by chemical processes. Inorganic fertilizers include:

Nitrogen Fertilizers

Nitrogen fertilizers are made up of nitrogen, which is necessary for agricultural growth. Nitrogen is an important component of chlorophyll that helps to keep the photosynthesis process balanced. It is also present as an amino acid component of protein in plants. They boost agricultural productivity and quality which helps plants to grow fast and healthy.

Phosphorus Fertilizer

 Phosphorous is one of the essential elements for plants to grow. Effective phosphorus concentration, fertilization methods, soil conditions, and crop strains all influence fertilizer efficiency. Phosphorus present in the soil takes through the roots of plants and enters the cell cytoplasm and takes part in important reactions for growth and cell proliferation. The application of phosphorus fertilizer promotes the growth of plant roots.

Organic Fertilizers 

Organic Fertilizer


Organic fertilizers are those derived from plant and animal products. It adds carbonic chemicals to the soil, which are necessary for plant growth. Organic fertilizers improve soil organic matter content, boost microorganism growth, and alter soil’s physical and chemical properties. 

Advantages of Fertilizers

  • They are easy to transport and store.
  • They are simple to use.
  • They are water-soluble and easily dissolve in soil. As a result, they are easily absorbed by the plants.
  • They have a direct effect on the crops.
  • They boost crop yields and ensure that the world’s population is fed.

Disadvantages of Fertilizers

  • They are expensive, and the fertilizer ingredients are toxic to the skin and respiratory system.
  • Frequent use of fertilizer hurts plants and depletes soil richness.
  • The fertilizers leak into the streams and cause eutrophication.
  • Long-term use reduces microbial activity and produces pH fluctuations in the soil.

Uses of Fertilizers

  • They are used to complement the nutritional needs of the plants.
  • They are used to boost crop yield.
  • Organic fertilizers improve the texture and fertility of the soil.
  • Fertilizers are used by gardeners to meet specific plant needs, such as nutritional requirements.
  • Fertilizers are used to add nutrients to the soil that have been lost in potted plants.

Indian Fertilizer Sector

India’s soils are generally deficient in nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium, and yields are low. The Green Revolution has immensely improved Indian agriculture. As a result, India achieved food self-sufficiency.

Fertilizer Policy in India

  1. The fertilizer policy has prioritized major (macro) nutrients.
  2. The Government of India has regulated fertilizer sales, prices, and quality since its independence. The Government of India has declared fertilizers to be an essential commodity.
  3. RPS (Retention Pricing Scheme): It was initially used for nitrogen fertilizers in 1977. Later, it was expanded to incorporate phosphatic and potassium fertilizers (Including Imported fertilizers).

Importance of Fertilizer

Soil pollution or excessive usage of soil decreases the crucial nutrients and elements from the soil, which declines the productivity of the soil. Because the increasing population and the need for food requirements are increasing day by day it is very essential that the productivity of the soil stays above the arc. Fertilizers play a very significant role in the below-mentioned ways:

  1. Fertilizers have essential nutrients like nitrogen which is essential for the formation of chlorophyll. Nitrogen also helps in the growth of the plant.
  2. Phosphorus strengthens the plant and helps in root growth and seed formation.
  3. Fertilizers containing potassium help in the regulation of stomata.
  4. It improves the water-holding capacity of plants.
  5. It helps in resisting plants from pests and insects. Because of that plants grow properly and healthier. 

What is Biofertilizer?

The living or latent cells help the plant to grow properly by resisting the plant from insecticides and herbicides. They provide crucial nutrients to the soil which help in the growth of plants. They help to increase the fertility of the soil. They help in nutrient cycling example Nitrogen Cycle. Biofertilizers are symbiotically associated with the plant and the interaction is (+,+). Examples: Azotobacter, Rhizobium, blue-green algae.

FAQs on Fertilizers

Question 1: What are the different types of fertilizers?


Fertilizers are of two types:

  • Organic Fertilizer- Fertilizer is made from the organic decomposition of plants and animals. For Example Agricultural, Industrial Waste. 
  • Inorganic Fertilizer- Fertilizer made from a chemical process. Example Nitrogen and Phosphorous Fertilizer.

Question 2: What are the disadvantages of fertilizer?


Excess fertilizer nutrients leach into bodies of water, resulting in algal blooms. Algal blooms can occasionally obstruct the flow of streams. When algae die, they sink to the bottom of bodies of water, reducing oxygen levels. Excessive fertilizer application also has an impact on soil fertility.

Question 3: What are the three numbers on fertilizers?


The primary nutrients are represented by the three numbers on fertilizers. Ten percent nitrogen, ten percent phosphorus, and ten percent potassium are contained in a bag of fertiliser labelled 10-10-10. This label is known as the fertilizer grade and is a national standard.

Question 4: What is fertilizer?


Fertilizer is a natural or manufactured material used to boost plant growth and productivity. They provide nutrients to the plants.

Question 5: Name two plants that are used as biopesticides in organic farming.


Turmeric and Neem plant leaves are utilized as biopesticides in organic agriculture.

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Last Updated : 16 Feb, 2023
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