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India urges global companies to help build fertiliser storage

FILE PHOTO: India's Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Mandaviya during his interview with Reuters, in New Delhi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India, a leading importer of fertilisers, is seeking investment from global companies as the nation works to build storage for the crop nutrients, fertiliser minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday.

India, which imports up to 40% of the 50 million tonnes of fertiliser it needs annually, has been hit hard by a spurt in prices this year after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a major fertiliser producer, disrupted supplies.

"This is an opportunity for the global companies to invest in India and work with us for long-term strategies. I encourage global companies to store in India for distribution," Mandaviya told an event organised by Fertiliser Association of India.

India has signed long-term deals for fertiliser imports to ensure stable supplies and protect against market volatility.

The federal government provides financial support for domestic fertiliser sales at rates below the market to insulate farmers from high prices and try to contain inflation.

India's fertiliser subsidy is expected to touch a record $27 billion in the financial year to March 31, 2023, the minister added.

Mandaviya, who is also India's health minister, said now was "an opportune time" for global suppliers to understand the dynamics of the Indian market.

Without naming them, he criticised companies he said had formed a cartel that pushed up global prices, saying India had supplied medicines to over 100 countries since the COVID-19 pandemic and had "neither raised prices nor compromised the quality".

He said international companies selling fertilisers and their feedstock "need to have a reasonable and transparent mechanisms and take long-term views in dealing with issues of fertilisers in the larger interest of global food security".

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Barbara Lewis)