BIOFERTILISER UNITS

1. Introduction 1.1 Sustainable crop production depends much on good soil health. Soil health maintenance warrants optimum combination of organic and inorganic components of the soil. Repeated use of chemical fertilizers destroys soil biota. In nature, there are a number of useful soil micro organisms which can help plants to absorb nutrients. Their utility can be enhanced with human intervention by selecting efficient organisms, culturing them and adding them to soils directly or through seeds. The cultured micro organisms packed in some carrier material for easy application in the field are called bio-fertilisers.

1.2 Bio-fertilisers are living microorganisms of bacterial, fungal and algal origin. Their mode of action differs and can be applied alone or in combination. By systematic research, efficient strains are identified to suit to given soil and climatic conditions. Such strains have to be mass multiplied in laboratory and distributed to farmers. They are packed in carrier materials like peat, lignite powder in such a way that they will have sufficient shelf life. The list of commonly produced bio-fertilizers in our country is given in Annexure1.

2. Major advantages of Biofertilisers 2.1 Biofertilisers enhance the nutrient availability to crop plants (by processes like fixing atmosphere N or dissolving P present in the soil) ; and also impart better health to plants and soil thereby enhancing crop yields in a moderate way. It is a natural method without any problems like salinity and alkalinity, soil erosion etc.. In the vast areas of low input agriculture and oil seeds production, as also in crops like sugarcane, etc, these products will be of much use to give sustainability to production. In view of the priority for the promotion of organic farming and reduction of chemical residues in the environment, special focus has to be given for the production of biofertilisers. 3. Commercial prospects

So far. Further.953 74. Although this assumption reflects only the macro level requirement. many farmers are not aware of the significance. The current trends indicate that there is a steady increase in the demand in the Southern states except Andhra Pradesh.2 It is estimated that the production of biofertilisers in the country by the existing units is about 7500 to 9000 TPA. In the context of increasing awareness about the use of natural products and organic agriculture.3 This estimated demand of NBDC is based on the cultivated area of the country and treatment of the total seed sown at the rate of 200g biofertiliser per 10 kg of seed. 4. there can be assured business. even if 50% of the cultivated area is to be brought under biofertiliser application. As the results are not dramatic. Western States and Madya Pradesh and Rajasthan. parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.to 25/-.738 255. 3. Gujarat. there will be a wide gap between the actual production and the requirements..10/.342 251. The benefits usually obtained by the use of biofertilizers will not be as visible as that of chemical fertilizers. Machinaries and laboratory . This is far below the potential requirement of 7. excepting in States like Maharashtra. these products will have good scope. if the units are selected carefully.3.1 The biofertilisers are mainly purchased by State Agriculture Departments and distributed to the farmers at concessional rates. costing about Rs.340 3. these are more commonly used with Government's support. Estimated potential Demand for Biofertilisers by 2000-2001 Type of Biofertiliser Rhizobium Azotobacter Azospirillum Blue green Algae Phosphate solublising microorgaanism Total 762. Biofertilser Technology The technology used were indigenous and the scientific aspects of production are standardised by Agricultural Universities and Research Laboratories of GOI. In view of the above. the Ministry of Agriculture has supported establishment of 67 biofertiliser units in different parts of the country.6 lakh TPA by the year 20002001 as estimated by the National Biofertiliser Development Centre (NBDC) Ghaziabad.999 145. the organically grown produces fetch higher prices both in domestic and export markets. About 200 to 500 grams of carrier material is only needed per acre.372 Demand (Tonnes) 34.

Preferably. broth dispensers for sterlisation. 6. growth room. to filter air and reduce dust. Requirements of Biofertilser Projects In line with the technology and objective of biofertiliser production. 5. can be utilised for the production of bio . quantity required and average cost are indicated in Annexure 4. fermentor assembly. sterilisation. autoclaves.. The details of technology are given in the Annexure 2. Rest of the area of land will be enough for future expansion up to 300 to 600 Tonnes per Annum.1 Land It is required to set up laboratory and other facilities and office. inoculation room. however. storage/ staff etc.pesticides and bio control agents. 6. Maturation of culture. culture medium tank. Objective of Biofertilser Project The primary objective of biofertiliser projects could be production of various strains of good quality biofertilisers using most modern technology. the entire site should be fenced with barbed wire or compound wall with gates at suitable places. The infrastructure and laboratory facilities created. Multi product range will increase the viability. 6. Mixing and packing.2 Layout and buildings The civil works comprises of factory building for laboratory. 6. media store room. All the machinery are manufactured in the country..4 Manufacturing process and Source of technology The mother culture of various strains of biofertiliser are supplied from Agricultural Universities and Regional Biofertiliser Development centres (MOA). The boundary may be planted with thick and tall growing species like Asoka. The total covered area of about 3000 sq ft is required for the product manufacturing and other utilities. air compressor etc. culture . Inoculation and quality control. The unit generally comprises of media preparation room. Some of the suppliers undertake the installing the units on a turn key basis.equipments are available from various manufacturers and are of BIS standards. The section wise equipment required. their specifications. Carrier preparation and enrichment. various facilities are required for the successful implementation of such projects which are indicated below: 6. The operations involved in the manufacturing process are given in the form of a flow diagram (Exhibit 1). Space may also be required for installing tube well / dug well and parking of vehicles. boiler. deminralising plant.3 Plant and Machinery Manufacture of biofertilisers needs a good number of laboratory equipments as well as other production facilities such as fermentors. A minimum of ½ acre of land is required for setting up a 150 TPA unit.

The average per day requirement of water for 150 TPA capacity will be about 2500 to 3000 liters Iii) Compressed air It will be required for various pneumatic operations as well as for controlled air supply to fermenters. Ii) Water A Biofertiliser production unit requires water mainly for steam generation for sterlisation of carrier. packing materials like polythene packets. 6. sterlisation / cleaning operations etc. Iv) Vehicles The vehicles are required for procurement of carrier material and distribution of biofertilisers as well as for office use . carrier material and utilities The raw material required for biofertilser production include ingredients for growth medium for the production of broth... corrugated boxes. etc. Depending upon the position of power supply. broth preparation and cleaning of equipments. Utilities :I) Power Normally a three phase electric supply is required for these plants.Mixing and packing.transfer room. Accordingly well/ bore well of designed size and according to the quality of water demineralisation equipments are to be installed. stand by generator may be needed. sterilization . Accordingly one LCV and a jeep have been included in the project.6 Manpower For a unit manufacturing 150 TPA biofertilisers the requirements of manpower is as under : 1 Chief Executive Officer 1 Chief Biologist / Micro Biologist 1 Sales Officer 2 Accountant and clerical Assistant . humidity and ventilation. etc. The design should facilitate maintenance of optimum temperature. Inside air of the unit should be free from dust particles. The floor plan should be designed to promote maximum efficiency and minimum contamination. 6. carrier.5 Infrastructural Facilities for raw material. The normal requirements of a 150 TPA unit is about 70 hp.

depending upon the volume of production 7. 5. Business Prospects And Marketing and Selling Arrangements 9.skilled. the major competitors and their present share.2 Drivers 1 Floor Supervisor/ Factory Manager 2 Technical Staff ( boiler operation. no problem in marketing is foreseen. gap in supply and expected demand for various products. mechanical maintenance.2 When a new entrepreneur intends to setup a project. the proposed net work and the advertisement plans. electrical maintenance) 2-3 Skilled labourers 4-5 Semi. Environmental Aspects and Pollution Control No hazardous effluents are generated from a biofertiliser unit. may have to be kept in view:1.Cropping pattern in the supply for various products. 9. the projections of the unit for the next 3-5 years and the basis for projection. packing machine operations. 3. The biofertiliser products are picking up mainly in cultivation of sugarcane. and Karnataka. 2. the present and future demand . a detailed market survey report is to be prepared. 8. particularly in the states of Maharashtra. pulses. The units should establish market channels with such niche sectors. Rajasthan. cereals and plantation crops.1 Considering the importance for organic farming and promotion of sustainable farming practices it is estimated that there will be further scope for adding new units. Tamil Nadu. The size envisaged in the present model is 150 TPA in one shift. They can also have tie up arrangement with government programmes like IPP. the product wise quantities and places where it is to be marketed. The report may be prepared keeping in view the following aspects. Madya Pradesh. . NODP etc. commission and additional incentive to be given. The projects so far set up in our county vary from 75 TPA to 300 TPA. Since these crops are grown in vast areas. 4. Unit Size The size of a biofertiliser unit could be expressed in terms of the capacity of production of various types/ strains of biofertilisers per annum. The capacity can be easily expanded by adding a few additional equipment like a fermenter and/ or adding another shift. Gujarat. 9.. the market for the product and type of arrangements for distribution and sales.

The items of income includes sale of biofertilisers. Capital cost of the project 10. the amount will be adjusted to the last few instalments of bank loan. Rs. 21. For the model 150 TPA the relevant techno-economic parameters are furnished in Annexure 3. 22. fencing. 11.) Plant and machinery. "National Project on Development and use of Biofertilisers". civil works (plant building. Net Present Worth (NPW) and Internal/financial rate of return (IRR/FRR) have been worked out for the project. Therefore. 73. Rs.473 lakhs. preliminary and preoperative expenses etc. . FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE The projects on manufacturing biofertiliser products would be considered for refinance support by National Bank. godown etc. The entire bank loan can be repayable in ten years including three year grace period during which only interest will be recovered (details are given in Annexure 9). insurance. The income as well as expenditure for each year are worked out and subjected to cash flow analysis. The calculation of working capital requirements is given in Annexure 6. The details of project cost are furnished in Annexure 4. office. The project cost comprises of Rs 2. all participating banks may consider financing this activity subject to their technical feasibility.573 lakhs of margin money for working capital. Department of Agriculture and Cooperation. It is proposed to release the subsidy through back ended subsidy procedure. Under this project. Calculation of IRR. 13. development of land . transportation and commission. FINANCIAL ANALYSIS The cash flow statement covering the Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR).2. NPW is Rs. financial viability and bankability. Normally the BCR should be greater than 1.100 lakhs on plant and machinery .2 Ministry of Agriculture. Capital cost of a model biofertiliser unit with a capacity of 150 TPA will be Rs. The depreciation schedules on straight line method and written down value are worked out and furnished in Annexure 7. The Income and Expenditure statement is furnished in Annexure 5.132 . wages and salary. For the model project under consideration.1 Broadly. repairs and maintenance. the capital cost includes the cost of land .20 lakhs is provided for setting up a biofertiliser production unit of 150 TPA capacity. Rs. 7. a subsidy up to Rs. 3.000 lakhs on preliminary and preoperative expenses.. the BCR is 1.000 on vehicles. NPW should be positive and IRR/FRR should be greater than 15%.. advertisement and other overheads. Rs. 12. 22. While the expenditure includes the cost of raw material.276 lakhs and IRR is more than 15%.000 lakhs of contingency and Rs 1.10. ECONOMICS OF THE PROJECT Based on the various techno-economic parameters. fixed assets. BCR and NPW is given in Annexure 8.500 lakhs on civil structures. Government of India is implementing a central sector scheme viz. the economics of the project have been worked out for the project period or till the repayment of bank loan. power. fuel packing distribution.450 lakhs on land and land development . 10. If the units are getting the subsidy. 13. Rs..850 lakhs on account of misc. Rs.

CHECK LIST A check list of various points to be considered for feasibility of the project is appended in Annexure 10.adds 20-25 REMARKS Fodders give better results.3 Security As stipulated by the RBI. Azotobacter . groundnut. 14. Also controls certain diseases. 14. 4. soybean Soil treatment for non. Leaves residual N in the soil. 14. 14. 15. 50-200 kg N/ha.legume crops BENEFITS USUALLY SEEN 10-35% yield increase.5 Subsidy A subsidy ofd 25 % of the project cost will be given as subsidy by Ministry of Agriculture. ***** Annexure -1 LIST OF COMMONLY PRODUCED BIO-FERTILIZERS IN INDIA NAME Rhyzobium strains CROPS SUITED Legumes like pulses.5 Refinance Assistance NABARD provides refinance assistance as per the existing pattern from time to time.4 Repayment Period Depends upon the gross surplus generated. LENDING TERMS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS 14. 10-15% yield increase.14.2 Interest Rate Interest rate will be determined by RBI/NABARD from time to time. it may be up to 9 years with first one/two years as the grace period.1 Margin Money The promoters/company should normally meet 25% of the project cost out of their own resources.

Mode of Action . Sugarcane. fungi. the critical input in Biofertilisers is the micro organisms. packed in a carrier material.including dry land crops Azospirillum Non-legumes like maize. Phosphate Solubilizers* (*there are 2 bacterial and 2 fungal species in this group) Blue-green algae and Azolla Soil application for all 5-30% yield increase crops Rice/wet lands 20 -30 kg N/ha. P. Azolla can give biomass up to 40-50 tonnes and fix 30-100 kg N/ha Reduces soil alkalinity. These are cultures of micro organisms like bacteria. Produces growth promoting substances. sorghum. and some ornamental plants 30-50% yield increase Usually inoculated to . Bio-fertilizers. rice etc. Annexure 2 TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF BIO-FERTILISERS What are Bio-fertilizers 1. barley. Microhizae (VAM) Many trees. TNAU has developed high yielding Azolla hybrids. It can be applied to legumes as co-inoculant Can be mixed with rock phosphate. S and Water. They help the plants indirectly through better Nitrogen (N) fixation or improving the nutrient availability in the soil. can be used for fishes as feed. in strict sense. They have growth promoting hormonal effects. oats. are not fertilizers which directly give nutrition to crop plants. Zn. Thus. enhances uptake of seedlings. kg N/ha 10-20% yield increase Fodders give higher/enriches fodder response. millet. some crops.

However. purity and level of contamination.in a limited way. The conditions in which the packed materials are stored. 4. The aseptic conditions of manufacturing. 3.2 species. which determine the shelf life. in the vast areas of low input agriculture and in the context of imparting sustainability to crop production at reduced chemical pollution. The conditions of carrier material in which the culture is packed and the quality of the packing material. The yield increases usually range around 10-35%. The most commonly produced and marketed biofertilizers are 1. Some agents like Rhizobium cultures enhance N fixation in legumes by imparting effective modulation as they are symbiotic bacteria living in association with leguminous plants. specific strains as suited to a particular soil and environmental conditions are usually identified and pure mother cultures are maintained in research labs for supply to the commercial manufacturers. organic matter content and moisture level. Alfalfa etc. 5. Blue Green Algae and Azolla . There are certain other organisms which act on the soil minerals and dissolve the native nutrients like P which is otherwise not readily soluble. Pastures and forages respond more than grain crops. The critical factors which are responsible for the effectiveness of a particular bio-fertilizer are as follows :        Suitability of the species to the target crop Suitability of the strain : There are specific strains of rhyzobium for different leguminous species like Cowpea. 2. Biofertilisers can add nitrogen from 20 kg/ha to 200 kg/ha depending upon the optimum conditions. Through research.2. Identification of strains as suited to the agro-eco system. The benefits usually obtained will not be as visible as that of chemical fertilizers except in some critical conditions. this . 6. New Delhi. Rhizobium . and agronomic practices. distributed and kept with the farmers before it is applied. enhance the N availability. e. Biofertilizer of specific culture should be used for specific crop. VAM . germ plasm of Rhizobium cultures is maintained at IARI. The mode of action depends on the species of the organism. Level of Benefits 4.g. Soybean. Redgram. There are free living bacteria like Azotobacter when applied to soil. the cell count of living organism present in the carrier material.on-farm level. particularly the soil PH and moisture conditions. Critical factors responsible for effectiveness 3.3 to 4 strains Azotobacter Azospirillum Phosphate Solubulizing Bacteria . Soil conditions particularly PH.

Fred et al. The range of benefits usually seen for different organisms is also given in Annexure 1. They add life to the soil rendered sterile by the excess use of chemicals. Similarly composition for growth media are available for other cultures. Mass multiplication. The important factor in this is the preparation of growing medium in which the culture is mass multiplied. ISI approved etc. Application of biofertilisers should not be viewed from the only angle of nutrient supply to the crops. the broth will be ready for packing in a carrier material. IRRI etc. The Outlines of Commercial Manufacture of Bio-fertilizers : 6. Some of them possess growth promoting substances and also reduce the incidence of certain diseases. The steps involved are as follows : Culture selection and maintenance: 6. some ICAR institutions. These inputs are crucial if some one would like to take up organic farming. Selection of suitable strain of the organism for which market demand is identified. Rhizobium culture treatment becomes essential when new types of legumes like Soybeans are introduced in new areas. At various stages the quality is tested by drawing samples. The mother culture in test tubes of desired strain can be purchased from the identified sources. There are international sources of supply also like NifTAL. etc.3 In the next stage the culture has to be mass multiplied in two levels namely (i) at primary level using shakers in flasks and (ii) Secondary stage multiplication in fermenters.2 The pure mother cultures of various strains are being maintained in Agricultural Universities. Carrier sterilization: .product will be of much use. Mixing of the culture with carrier material and packing. After the media is formulated and sterilized in fermenter. etc. Regional biofertilizer labs of MOA. in case of Rhizobium. Culture augmentation: 6. 3. The bacteria growing medium is called broth and it is continuously aerated by passing sterile air from compressors. it is inoculated using the shorter cultures multiplied in the flasks at definite ratios usually 5%. There are standard media on which information is available from published sources like Norris & date. 2.1 The manufacturing process in short involves 1. They have to be further sub-cultured and maintained purely for mass production by adopting standard techniques under the supervision of trained microbiologist. IARI. After about 3-4 days fermentation period. Other benefits 5.

is sterilized in autoclaves and kept ready for mixing the broth. The packets are kept in incubation room for about a week before transferring to store room. Rotary shakers (2 tier) 2 Culture growth 4. the broth is harvested from the fermenter into sterilized carrier . 3. Under non sterile system.6 The main equipment needed for manufacture and lab are listed below. The carrier is either sterilized in bulk or it is packed and then the packets are sterilized. Under a completely sterile system the carrier is taken in autoclavable polypropylene bags and pre sealed . the broth and sterilized carrier are mixed mechanically in a blender and the material is packed using semiautomatic packing and sealing machine.into which the broth from fermenter is directly injected with the help of dispenser.5 There are 2-3 alternatives depends upon the sophistication and automation of the unit.. In a slightly upgraded method. Australia is reported to be the best source of carrier material. However. as it is costly lignite is used extensively in India. Boiler/steam generator 1 big or 2 small To generate steam for sterilization 2. Fermenters 2 for culture fermentation .6. 1. which is usually the carbon source for the cultures to survive. List of equipment Name Approximate Purpose quantity needed 1. They are available through scientific and lab equipment suppliers. In a slightly modified method some units are packing by delivering desired quantities of carrier and broth simultaneously from separate pipe conveyance system in to the polythene bags. Peat imported from countries like U. Sterile system of packing using auto syringe and dispenser is recommended to be the best method and all new units should follow and adopt this system.S. 3. 2. Autoclaves .4 While the broth is getting ready in the fermenter the carrier material.the mixing is done manually under aseptic condition and packed in polythene bags of desired quantity. Equipment needed: 6.Horizontal 1 For carrier sterilization Vertical 2-4 For smaller quantities and small containers. Mixing and packing: 6. The injection hole is immediately sealed.

Lab equipments: For quality control and microbial works pH meter 1 Colony counter 1 Microscope 1 Fridge 1 15.(500 lit capacity) 5. BOD incubator 1 for culture growth sterilization 7. Laminar air flow work station of 6' size 2 for inoculation purposes 6. Conical flasks are the major requirement 16.7 The biofertilizer plant should be housed in a suitable building complex. Sealing machine 1 14. Dispensers or Semi automatic mixing 2 sets with automatic injection systems 13. Microscope 1 11. Air conditioner 3-4 9. Balances 2-3 12. Office furniture As needed Layout of the production unit: 6. carrier making and mixing and . Refrigerator 2 10. Distiller water unit or 1 set Demineralization unit 17. Glassware As needed. The main production unit should have separate channels for bacteriological work. Hot air oven 2 for dry glassware 8.

like no of cells. steam generator and stores. As the products being living microorganisms. Ensure to have aseptic conditions. certification batch-wise even if it is internal is highly essential. The source of mother culture and the strain name should also be mentioned. sucrose and chemical nutrients. colony character. certain tests are required to be conducted. the quality check up.6. Rhizobium (IS:8268-1976 and Azotobacter (IS:9138-1979). Each unit. As per BIS specifications. ( 1 LCV and 1 Jeep) Quality Control: 6. In addition there should be rooms with separate entrance for utilities like power. the number of cell count and permissible contamination at expiry dates are also specified. respectively for Rhizobium and Azotobacter.8 The chief raw materials needed for the production of biofertilizers are as follows     Mother cultures Carrier material . Sampling and testing at various stages of production. there is no systematic quality certification system and monitoring mechanism.10 Though there are BSI standards for two species viz. Each unit should have lab infrastructure and plans/arrangements for the same. Others: 6.customer and visitor/marketing way. Preferably use automatic and closed systems. therefore should have the following facilities :        adequate microbiological lab and qualified microbiologist. It is entirely an internal arrangement and voluntary system as of now. the unit may also require 2 transport vehicles. including the quality of raw materials. HDPE bags. Specify on the packets all the contents and cell counts. pack the products in proper packing material. . Store the products in cooler places till they are sold to farmers. The unit should fix their quality certificate and batch number.lignite or bentonite or peat of desired quality in powder form (70-100 mesh) Polythene bags. cardboard cortans Growth materials . reaction etc.include Manital. cleanliness and contamination free production lines and housing.9 In addition to the equipment given in para 6. Raw material: 6. Cell number at the time of manufacture should not be less than 108 and 107 per gram of carrier material. Appropriate design can be adopted in consultation with scientists/engineers. Similarly.

11 The major limiting factors include:        Narrow genetic base of mother cultures and lack of efficient and virulent strains suitable to various agro-environments. Biofertilizers in Agriculture and Forestry by N S Subba Rao. a source book-cum-Glossary by Dr. At field level: The efficiency when applied to soils is limited by several factors. New Delhi 110048 (India) 2. Unsatisfactory carrier material with uniform and consistent good quality comparable to imported peat material. Unsatisfactory storing conditions.Technology. M R Motsara et al(1995) . particularly during the distribution period. There is an acute awareness gap among the farmers on the subject. Unsatisfactory packing material which reduces shelf life. ISI Standard IS: 8268-1986 (Specifications for Rhizobium) 4. References 1. antagonism from other organisms and nutrient deficiency.. Exposure to high temperatures and sunlight destroy the microbial culture.Fertilizer Development and Consultation Organization publishers. Limitations and constraints 6. Lack of quality controls and certification procedures. Oxford & IBH. most important of them being. water logging. legislation for quality monitoring and accredited labs for testing may be needed in future to ensure proper quality and promote this products. drought and high summer temperature. Not employing properly trained microbiologist. Annexures CheckList . Contamination in broth mixing and packing stages.As certification arrangements are not in place at present. New Delhi. not using completely closed system of production. Biofertilizer . Marketing and usage. They should be preferably kept in cold storage conditions. ISI standard IS: 9138-1979 (Specifications for Azotobacter) 3. unfavourable soil pH.

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