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India counting on potash supplies despite diplomatic row with Canada -officials

A farmer spreads fertizer mixed with potash in his paddy field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India will face little difficulty in securing potash from foreign suppliers despite a diplomatic row with Canada, one of the suppliers of the key crop nutrient, industry and government officials said on Wednesday.

Potash supplies from Canada have been steady, they said.

Ties between India and Canada deteriorated sharply after New Delhi and Ottawa expelled one of the other's diplomats in a dispute over the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in the Canadian province of British Columbia in June.

The worsening relations raised concerns over the supplies potash from Canada.

India is a leading importer of fertilisers for its huge agriculture sector, which employs about half of its 1.4 billion people and accounts for nearly 15% of the $3 trillion economy.

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"Although supplies from Canada are steady, India doesn't depend on potash on any one country," said one of the sources who did not wish to be named as he was not authorised to talk to media.

"The world has a lot of potash to offer to India and other such importers and India also has a diversified list of global potash suppliers," he said.

To fertilise crops, India depends on imports for its entire annual consumption of 4 million to 5 million tonnes of potash, and it ships a third of this from Belarus and Russia. Israel and Jordan are other important suppliers of potash to India.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; editing by Mark Heinrich)