During mid- sixties the Co-operative sector in India was responsible for distribution of 70 per cent of fertilisers consumed in the country. This Sector had adequate infrastructure to distribute fertilisers but had no production facilities of its own and hence dependent on public/private Sectors for supplies. To overcome this lacuna and to bridge the demand supply gap in the country, a new cooperative society was conceived to specifically cater to the requirements of farmers. It was an unique venture in which the farmers of the country through their own Co-operative Societies created this new institution to safeguard their interests. The number of Co-operative Societies associated with IFFCO have risen from 57 in 1967 to 39,824 at present.
Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) was registered on November 3, 1967 as a Multi-unit Co-operative Society. On the enactment of the Multistate Co-operative Societies act 1984 & 2002, the Society is deemed to be registered as a Multistate Co-operative Society. The Society is primarily engaged in production and distribution of fertilisers. The byelaws of the Society provide a broad frame work for the activities of IFFCO as a Co-operative Society.
IFFCO commissioned an ammonia - urea complex at Kalol and the NPK/DAP plant at Kandla both in the state of Gujarat in 1975. Another ammonia - urea complex was set up at Phulpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh in 1981. The ammonia - urea unit at Aonla was commissioned in 1988.
In 1993, IFFCO had drawn up a major expansion programme of all the four plants under overall aegis of IFFCO VISION 2000. The expansion projects at Aonla, Kalol, Phulpur and Kandla were completed on schedule. All the projects conceived as part of VISION 2000 had been realised without time or cost overruns. All the production units of IFFCO have established a reputation for excellence and quality. Another growth path was chalked out to realise newer dreams and greater heights through Vision 2010. As part of this vision, IFFCO has acquired fertiliser unit at Paradeep in Orissa in September 2005. As a result of these expansion projects and acuisition, IFFCO's annual capacity has been increased to 3.69 million tonnes of Urea and NPK/DAP equivalent to 1.71 million tonnes. In pursuit of its growth and development, IFFCO had embarked upon and successfully implemented its Corporate Plans, ‘Mission 2005’ and ‘Vision 2010’. These plans have resulted in IFFCO becoming one of the largest producer and marketeer of Chemical fertilisers by expansion of its existing Units, setting up Joint Venture Companies Overseas and Diversification into new Sectors.
IFFCO has now visualized a comprehensive plan titled ‘Vision-2015’ which is presently under implementation.
IFFCO has made strategic investments in several joint ventures. Indian Potash Ltd (IPL) in India, Industries Chimiques du Senegal (ICS) in Senegal, Oman India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO) in Oman and Jordan India Fertiliser Company (JIFCO) are important fertiliser joint ventures. As part of strategic diversification, IFFCO has entered into several key sectors. IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Ltd (ITGI) is a foray into general insurance sector. Through ITGI, IFFCO has formulated new services of benefit to farmers. 'Sankat Haran Bima Yojana' provides free insurance cover to farmers along with each bag of IFFCO fertiliser purchased. To take the benefits of emerging concepts like agricultural commodity trading, IFFCO has taken equity in National Commodity and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX). IFFCO Chattisgarh Power Ltd (ICPL) which is under implementation is yet another foray to move into core area of power. IFFCO is also behind several other companies with the sole intention of benefitting farmers.
The distribution of IFFCO's fertiliser is undertaken through over 39824 Co-operative Societies. The entire activities of Distribution, Sales and Promotion are co-ordinated by Marketing Central Office (MKCO) at New Delhi assisted by the Marketing offices in the field. In addition, essential agro-inputs for crop production are made available to the farmers through a chain of 158 Farmers Service Centre (FSC). IFFCO has promoted several institutions and organisations to work for the welfare of farmers, strengthening cooperative movement, improve Indian agriculture. Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative Ltd (IFFDC), Cooperative Rural Development Trust (CORDET), IFFCO Foundation, IFFCO Kisan Sewa Trust (IKST) belong to this category. An ambitious project 'ICT Initiatives for Farmers and Cooperatives' is launched to promote e-culture in rural India. IFFCO obsessively nurtures its relations with farmers and undertakes a large number of agricultural extension activities for their benefit every year.