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

these products will have good scope. About 200 to 500 grams of carrier material is only needed per acre. Biofertilser Technology The technology used were indigenous and the scientific aspects of production are standardised by Agricultural Universities and Research Laboratories of GOI. Further. parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. the organically grown produces fetch higher prices both in domestic and export markets. The current trends indicate that there is a steady increase in the demand in the Southern states except Andhra Pradesh.6 lakh TPA by the year 20002001 as estimated by the National Biofertiliser Development Centre (NBDC) Ghaziabad. costing about Rs. This is far below the potential requirement of 7. Gujarat.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. The benefits usually obtained by the use of biofertilizers will not be as visible as that of chemical fertilizers.1 The biofertilisers are mainly purchased by State Agriculture Departments and distributed to the farmers at concessional rates. In view of the above.340 3.953 74. In the context of increasing awareness about the use of natural products and organic agriculture..3. Estimated potential Demand for Biofertilisers by 2000-2001 Type of Biofertiliser Rhizobium Azotobacter Azospirillum Blue green Algae Phosphate solublising microorgaanism Total 762. Although this assumption reflects only the macro level 25/-. Machinaries and laboratory . the Ministry of Agriculture has supported establishment of 67 biofertiliser units in different parts of the country. As the results are not dramatic.342 251. So far. 4. there will be a wide gap between the actual production and the requirements.10/. many farmers are not aware of the significance. 3.372 Demand (Tonnes) 34.999 145. Western States and Madya Pradesh and Rajasthan. excepting in States like Maharashtra. these are more commonly used with Government's support.738 255.2 It is estimated that the production of biofertilisers in the country by the existing units is about 7500 to 9000 TPA. there can be assured business. if the units are selected carefully. even if 50% of the cultivated area is to be brought under biofertiliser application.

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

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

mechanical maintenance. 3. Business Prospects And Marketing and Selling Arrangements 9. . packing machine operations. Rajasthan. the projections of the unit for the next 3-5 years and the basis for projection. particularly in the states of Maharashtra.. gap in supply and expected demand for various products. 9. the major competitors and their present share. no problem in marketing is foreseen. They can also have tie up arrangement with government programmes like IPP. commission and additional incentive to be given. The projects so far set up in our county vary from 75 TPA to 300 TPA.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. 5.2 Drivers 1 Floor Supervisor/ Factory Manager 2 Technical Staff ( boiler operation. Madya Pradesh. 2. The units should establish market channels with such niche sectors. The size envisaged in the present model is 150 TPA in one shift. 9. pulses. electrical maintenance) 2-3 Skilled labourers 4-5 Semi. 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. depending upon the volume of production 7.skilled. and Karnataka. the product wise quantities and places where it is to be marketed. the proposed net work and the advertisement plans. cereals and plantation crops. a detailed market survey report is to be prepared. The report may be prepared keeping in view the following aspects.Cropping pattern in the supply for various products. Tamil Nadu.2 When a new entrepreneur intends to setup a project. Gujarat. 8. may have to be kept in view:1. the market for the product and type of arrangements for distribution and sales. The biofertiliser products are picking up mainly in cultivation of sugarcane. NODP etc. Environmental Aspects and Pollution Control No hazardous effluents are generated from a biofertiliser unit. the present and future demand . 4. Since these crops are grown in vast areas. The capacity can be easily expanded by adding a few additional equipment like a fermenter and/ or adding another shift.

The details of project cost are furnished in Annexure 4. If the units are getting the subsidy. The depreciation schedules on straight line method and written down value are worked out and furnished in Annexure 7. The calculation of working capital requirements is given in Annexure 6. insurance. fixed assets. The Income and Expenditure statement is furnished in Annexure 5. Government of India is implementing a central sector scheme viz. . Net Present Worth (NPW) and Internal/financial rate of return (IRR/FRR) have been worked out for the project. a subsidy up to Rs.1 Broadly. 13. ECONOMICS OF THE PROJECT Based on the various techno-economic parameters. the amount will be adjusted to the last few instalments of bank loan.573 lakhs of margin money for working capital. NPW is Rs.. It is proposed to release the subsidy through back ended subsidy procedure.2. the capital cost includes the cost of land .473 lakhs. financial viability and bankability.276 lakhs and IRR is more than 15%. 73.132 . power. 10. For the model 150 TPA the relevant techno-economic parameters are furnished in Annexure 3. Capital cost of a model biofertiliser unit with a capacity of 150 TPA will be Rs. The project cost comprises of Rs 2. 7. transportation and commission. Department of Agriculture and Cooperation. "National Project on Development and use of Biofertilisers". civil works (plant building. 12.) Plant and machinery. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE The projects on manufacturing biofertiliser products would be considered for refinance support by National Bank.450 lakhs on land and land development . preliminary and preoperative expenses etc. 13. Rs. For the model project under consideration. NPW should be positive and IRR/FRR should be greater than 15%. the BCR is 1. Capital cost of the project 10.10.100 lakhs on plant and machinery .. The items of income includes sale of biofertilisers. 22.. 22.500 lakhs on civil structures. fuel packing distribution. The income as well as expenditure for each year are worked out and subjected to cash flow analysis. Rs.850 lakhs on account of misc. godown etc. 21. fencing. Rs. 3. the economics of the project have been worked out for the project period or till the repayment of bank loan. office. Normally the BCR should be greater than 1. FINANCIAL ANALYSIS The cash flow statement covering the Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR). Rs.000 lakhs on preliminary and preoperative expenses. Rs. development of land . Therefore. While the expenditure includes the cost of raw material. all participating banks may consider financing this activity subject to their technical feasibility.000 on vehicles. Rs. wages and salary. 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). 11. repairs and maintenance. Under this project. BCR and NPW is given in Annexure 8. advertisement and other overheads. Calculation of IRR.20 lakhs is provided for setting up a biofertiliser production unit of 150 TPA capacity.2 Ministry of Agriculture.000 lakhs of contingency and Rs 1.

15.3 Security As stipulated by the RBI. 14. CHECK LIST A check list of various points to be considered for feasibility of the project is appended in Annexure 10.2 Interest Rate Interest rate will be determined by RBI/NABARD from time to time.5 Subsidy A subsidy ofd 25 % of the project cost will be given as subsidy by Ministry of Agriculture. 50-200 kg N/ha.1 Margin Money The promoters/company should normally meet 25% of the project cost out of their own resources. 14. groundnut. ***** Annexure -1 LIST OF COMMONLY PRODUCED BIO-FERTILIZERS IN INDIA NAME Rhyzobium strains CROPS SUITED Legumes like pulses. 14. it may be up to 9 years with first one/two years as the grace period.adds 20-25 REMARKS Fodders give better results.14. LENDING TERMS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS 14.4 Repayment Period Depends upon the gross surplus generated. Azotobacter .5 Refinance Assistance NABARD provides refinance assistance as per the existing pattern from time to time. Leaves residual N in the soil. 4. soybean Soil treatment for non. 10-15% yield increase. 14. Also controls certain diseases.legume crops BENEFITS USUALLY SEEN 10-35% yield increase.

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

germ plasm of Rhizobium cultures is maintained at IARI. which determine the shelf life. 2. the cell count of living organism present in the carrier material. Level of Benefits 4. 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. The benefits usually obtained will not be as visible as that of chemical fertilizers except in some critical conditions. The mode of action depends on the species of the organism. Alfalfa etc. e. this . 4. Redgram. Biofertilisers can add nitrogen from 20 kg/ha to 200 kg/ha depending upon the optimum conditions. in the vast areas of low input agriculture and in the context of imparting sustainability to crop production at reduced chemical pollution.g. Rhizobium . The conditions in which the packed materials are stored. and agronomic practices. The most commonly produced and marketed biofertilizers are 1. The aseptic conditions of manufacturing.2 species. Through research. There are certain other organisms which act on the soil minerals and dissolve the native nutrients like P which is otherwise not readily soluble. Critical factors responsible for effectiveness 3. 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. 3. enhance the N availability. Soil conditions particularly PH. The conditions of carrier material in which the culture is packed and the quality of the packing material. purity and level of contamination. 5. organic matter content and moisture level. 6. New Delhi. particularly the soil PH and moisture conditions.3 to 4 strains Azotobacter Azospirillum Phosphate Solubulizing Bacteria . VAM . Identification of strains as suited to the agro-eco system. However. Blue Green Algae and Azolla . The yield increases usually range around 10-35%. Pastures and forages respond more than grain crops. Soybean. There are free living bacteria like Azotobacter when applied to soil.2. Biofertilizer of specific culture should be used for specific a limited way.on-farm level. 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. distributed and kept with the farmers before it is applied.

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

List of equipment Name Approximate Purpose quantity needed 1. 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. The packets are kept in incubation room for about a week before transferring to store room. 1. Equipment needed: 6. They are available through scientific and lab equipment suppliers. Autoclaves . Boiler/steam generator 1 big or 2 small To generate steam for sterilization 2. which is usually the carbon source for the cultures to survive. 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. Australia is reported to be the best source of carrier material.into which the broth from fermenter is directly injected with the help of dispenser.. Peat imported from countries like U. 2.S. However. the broth is harvested from the fermenter into sterilized carrier .Horizontal 1 For carrier sterilization Vertical 2-4 For smaller quantities and small containers.6 The main equipment needed for manufacture and lab are listed below. In a slightly upgraded method. as it is costly lignite is used extensively in India. Mixing and packing: 6. 3. The carrier is either sterilized in bulk or it is packed and then the packets are sterilized. 3.5 There are 2-3 alternatives depends upon the sophistication and automation of the unit. the broth and sterilized carrier are mixed mechanically in a blender and the material is packed using semiautomatic packing and sealing machine. The injection hole is immediately sealed. Under non sterile system. is sterilized in autoclaves and kept ready for mixing the broth. Fermenters 2 for culture fermentation . Rotary shakers (2 tier) 2 Culture growth 4.6.4 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. Under a completely sterile system the carrier is taken in autoclavable polypropylene bags and pre sealed .

Sealing machine 1 14. Glassware As needed.7 The biofertilizer plant should be housed in a suitable building complex. Balances 2-3 12. Hot air oven 2 for dry glassware 8. Distiller water unit or 1 set Demineralization unit 17. Microscope 1 11. Dispensers or Semi automatic mixing 2 sets with automatic injection systems 13. Conical flasks are the major requirement 16. BOD incubator 1 for culture growth sterilization 7. Laminar air flow work station of 6' size 2 for inoculation purposes 6. Refrigerator 2 10. The main production unit should have separate channels for bacteriological work. Air conditioner 3-4 9.(500 lit capacity) 5. Office furniture As needed Layout of the production unit: 6. carrier making and mixing and . Lab equipments: For quality control and microbial works pH meter 1 Colony counter 1 Microscope 1 Fridge 1 15.

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

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