India is likely to firm up imports of key fertilisers, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and muriate of potash (MoP) only in February-March next year due to sufficient stocks to meet requirement for the forthcoming rabi (winter sowing) season.
The country imports almost 100% of its domestic requirement of MoP and around 90% of DAP.
"India has sufficient stocks of DAP and MoP till about December-end. Any new contracts for these fertilisers are likely to be signed by February-March 2013," Indian Potash Ltd (IPL) managing director PS Gahlaut told PTI.
IPL is the country's biggest importer of fertilisers.
The country has a huge inventory of DAP and MoP due to a decline in sales in the ongoing kharif (summer) season, he added.
Industry body Fertiliser Association of India (FAI) Chairman A Vellayan said sale of phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilisers have been hit due to high prices of the crop nutrients, delayed monsoon rains and low prices of urea.
"Farmers opted for urea due to its low price hurting P&K fertiliser sales. This will also impact the fresh contracts to be signed for DAP and MoP," Vellayan, who is also the Chairman of the Murugappa group that owns leading fertiliser producer Coromandel International, said.
FAI expects the country to import about 2.5-3 million tonnes of MoP and around 5 million tonnes of DAP in 2012-13 fiscal, he added.
India imported about 4.24 million tonnes of DAP and 2.68 million tonnes of MoP in the last fiscal.
This is against 7.41 million tonnes of DAP and 4.5 million tonnes of MoP imported during 2010-11.
Sharing similar concerns, FAI Director General Satish Chander said it is estimated that for the April-August 2012 period, urea sales fell by 3 per cent, DAP by 29 per cent, NPK by 25 per cent and SSP by 14% compared to the same period of previous year.
The decline is sales of MoP could not be made up as during April-August 2011 the industry had declared 'potash holiday' (non-use of the crop nutrient), he added.
Leading fertiliser manufacturer IFFCO's managing director U S Awasthi said "rising fertiliser prices coupled with erratic monsoon has led to a drop in demand by over 30% this kharif season and we have a huge stock".
Till August 2012 in the current season, the unsold stock of DAP with IFFCO was 1.24 lakh tonnes against 18,000 tonnes last year while 2.63 lakh tonnes of NPK stock remained unsold as against 22,500 tonnes in the review period, he said.
"However, late revival of monsoons has kindled hopes of a better off take in upcoming rabi (winter) season," he added.
The fertiliser industry has 8.35 lakh tonnes of unsold DAP till August this year as against 73,000 tonnes in the same time last year, while, 6.83 lakh tonnes of stocks of NPK fertilisers were unsold as against 1.60 lakh tonnes in the same period.