NEW DELHI: The consumption of key fertiliser potash by Indian farmers has slipped by 23 per cent to 29.90 lakh tonne, on the back of high global prices of the crop nutrient compelling the farmers to opt a cheaper alternative, urea. In the previous financial year (2011-12), the price of potash had increased by 30 per cent to an average of USD 468 per tonne. India, considered as one of the world's largest consumers of muriate of potash (MoP), imports 100 per cent of the crop nutrient to meet domestic requirements. In 2010-11, the country consumed 38.90 lakh tonne of MoP. In the same period, its average global price was USD 361 per tonne (excluding ocean freight), as per the data provided by the Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena to the Lok Sabha. In the 2011-12 fiscal, the imports of the crop nutrient plunged 40 per cent to 26.93 lakh tonnes from 45 lakh tonnes in the 2010-11 fiscal. The domestic price of MoP is in the range of Rs 11,300-12,000 per tonne and the prices of urea is Rs 5,310 per tonne. Urea is the only fertiliser which is under control of the government. Its price was increased to Rs 5,310 per tonne in April, 2010 from Rs 4,830 per tonne. India imports MoP from Canada, CIS countries (Belarus, Lithuania and Russia), Israel, Jordan, Germany, Spain, Chile, etc.