Spatial patterns of fertilizer use and imbalances: Evidence from rice cultivation in India

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Environmental Challenges


Fertilizer use immensely contributes to sustaining higher crop productivity and ensuring food security around the globe. However, the over-application of nitrogenous fertilizers resulted in negative environmental externalities. Thus, assessing imbalances in chemical fertilizer use is vital for environmental sustainability. This paper studies the pattern of imbalances in chemical fertilizer application as an indicator of environmental sustainability. Using district-level data for India, this study finds within-State heterogeneity in the fertilizer application. Spatial patterns for divergences from recommended norms in rice cultivation show the existence of districts with both excessive and deficit fertilizer applications. Many districts in the Indo-Gangetic plains use unsustainably excess fertilizer. Similarly, our results indicate large surpluses of nitrogen from partial nitrogen balance assessment in the region. The assessment of sustainability indicators helps identify regions for policy intervention targeting nutrient balance in the soil.



Publication Date



Open Access, Gold

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