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  • 1. 27 SEPTEMBER 2014 | TAJ PALACE NEW DELHI To sponsor or to participate, please contact H I G H L I G H T S The Summit Secretariat 306, Rohit House, 3 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi - 110001 Ph. 011-23731129, 23353406 Fax. 23731130 E Mail: Website: INTERNATIONAL Unleashing the Potential of Agriculture agricultureleadership P R E S E N T S Objectives 1) To discuss the broad issues in food, ag- riculture and environment, the strengths and opportunities for India to achieve sustained growth through policy push and public private partnerships 2) To discuss the national and global food security challenges, the issue of ac- cess, equity and employment and the concerns on account of trade and tech- nology. 3) To discuss the policy, technology, trade and environmental perspectives to global trade, agribusiness, food security and agricultural development. 4) To discuss various Governmental poli- cies, programs and interventions to- wards accelerating investments, cre- ation of jobs and taking Indian food and agriculture to global markets. 5) To discuss the challenges and oppor- tunities in global and regional partner- ships, and the approach for engaging with Asian and African countries to sup- port them in achieving sustained growth in agriculture. RELEASE OF AGRICULTURE 2014 YEARBOOK AgricultureToday seizes the opportunity to discuss the challenge and emphasize theneedforappropriatepolicyinitiativesonthepartoftheGovernmentsbybring- ing key personalities of Indian and global agriculture on one platform at the 7th AgricultureLeadershipSummit2014.Theeventwillbecombinedwiththepresen- tation of 7th Leadership Awards and the launch of AgricultureYear Book 2014.
  • 2. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 1 Volume - XVII, No. 7 Chief Editor Dr. MJ Khan Editor Anjana Nair Asstt. Editor Fariha Ahmed Regional Bureaus Tirupati V Rajagopal Kerala KR Sreeni Jamshedpur Shireen Tabassum Gorakhpur Jitendra Dwivedi Himachal Pradesh Rakesh Ahuja Jammu & Kashmir MH Shah Hyderabad Murli Krishna Bangalore HS Gangadhar Lucknow Alok Vashishth Punjab SS Virdi Bihar Gautam Kumar Resident Representative Lucknow Shobhit Shrivastava Hyderabad Murli Krishna Assistant Manager Shivdas Circulation Incharge Mukesh Kumar Layout & Design Graphic Designer Pradeep Chaubey Printed and Published by Dr. MJ Khan on behalf of Concept Agrotech Consultants Limited Printed at Everest Press E-49/8, Okhla Industrial Area-II, New Delhi - 20 Published at 306, Rohit House Tolstoy Road New Delhi - 110 001 Phone No. 011-23731129/ 23731130 Fax No. 011-23731130 E-mail: Any issues? contact us at the above addresses! No part of this magazine can be reproduced, imi- tated or transmitted in any form, including elec- tronic, mechanical, photo copying, recording or any information stage retrieval system or extract- ed in any way without permission from the pub- lishers. Views expressed in the magazine need not necessarily be those of the Editor / Publisher. Pages in the magazine: 60 From the Editor’s Desk Protecting India’s Food Future T he future of India’s agriculture depends a lot on developing a suitable sustainable and economically feasible crop protection exercise.A recent ASSOCHAM-Yes Bank study has pegged the crop losses due to pest and disease at a whopping Rs 50,000 crore each year. This huge crop loss could be attributed to the low pesticide consumption in India which is less than two per cent of global usage and is confined to one-fourth of the total arable land. India’s per capita pesticide consumption of 600 gm is far below most of the Asian countries like China and Japan, where it is 14 kg and 12 kg respectively. Even among the states, the consumption is highly skewed. Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh (UP) having fertile lands are major pesticides consuming states, while states like Kerala, Orissa and Bihar are least pesticide con- suming states mainly due to low purchasing power of farmers having fragmented land holdings. Low levels of research and development due to lack of skills and necessary funds is a critical element which is hurting the growth prospects of the pesticides market in India. Besides, lower brand awareness is another critical element. Farmers currently put lesser emphasis on brand whereas are highly price sensitive. This essentially brings us to the problem of spurious pesticides in the market. In the pursuit of cheaper fix for crop problems, farmers get duped by fake pesticides. Low per hectare domestic consumption offers a huge untapped potential for growth of pesticides industry in India. The rising population is exerting tremendous pressure on our food production front. While we are forced to gear up our production, we have to do so from limited resources. With a renewed emphasis on producing ‘more form less’, the scope of plant protection chemicals is slated to improve in India. Easy availability of raw materials, low cost trained and skilled workforce, low over- heads and technically qualified managerial base are some of the factors that have been making India an attractive sourcing destination for global multi-national corporations. India loses a formidable amount of crop produce through pest and diseases. A thriving pesticide industry and availability of advanced technology hasn’t given a re- spite to the general farmers. In fact, the pesticides in India are not used scientifically or judiciously. There is a general unawareness regarding the use of pesticides. This has resulted in instances of pesticide residue, environmental pollution, pesticide resistance and resultant loss of harvest and stored produce. India has to design a mass aware- ness programme that can demystify the illusions surrounding the pesticide. The global market in generic pesticides is bound to increase in years to come. The strong fundamentals of the Indian pesticide industry, such as cheap availability of raw materials, process expertise, low operating costs and R& D strengths, are attract- ing many foreign companies. With our food exports bound to grow in coming years, we need to resort to responsible crop management practices. Pest and diseases can wither farmers’ life and the future of a nation that depends on its farmers for food. A good crop care regime can save a country’s future. Dr. MJ Khan
  • 3. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 20142 ContentsContentsJuly 2014 | Volume - XVII | No. 7 Editorial 01 Editorial Comments 04 News Corner 08 Cover Feature 22 Crop Protection for a Food Secure India Cooperatives 46 Building Up Farmer’s Socio-Economic Capability Interview 48 Mr. Raj Kumar, Principal Secretary (Agriculture), Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Gujarat Report 50 National Round Table on Agriculture Agenda for the New Government Know Your Leader 58 Radha Mohan Singh Different Strokes 60 58 22 4030 50 Know Your Leader Radha Mohan Singh Cover Feature CropProtection ForaFood SecureIndia NationalRoundTable on AgricultureAgendafortheNewGovernment Dr. SN Sushil, Plant Protection Advisor, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage RD Shroff, Chairman, United Phosphorus Limited I N T E R V I E W S
  • 4. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 3
  • 5. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 20144 EditorialComments Wave off Waivers B anks have had it this time. No more they can work with crores of money being written off by state governments under the banner of Loan waiv- ers. Banks are gearing up to face the populist scheme by taking a legal route. Indian banks are already under tremendous pressure from bad loans from infrastructure lending and economic slowdown. To aggravate this, state gov- ernments pursue massive loan waiver schemes under the garb of protecting farmer’s interests. What in fact they are protecting is their vote banks. They are promoting a culture of nonpayment and have been distorting the financial scene. The recent incident that has irked the banks is the decision by two newly formed states – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – who have decided to waive the loans of farmers. The Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments are planning to waive loans worth `1 lakh crore. This is perhaps the biggest loan waiver ever. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) returned to power after a gap of 10 years on the promise of waiv- ing loans worth `82,000 crore taken by farmers and Self Help Groups. The Telan- gana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), set to form the first Government in Telangana, had also promised to waive farmers’ loans up to `1 lakh, totalling to about `20,000 crore. Many banks are planning to approach the courts against waiver of farm loans. Bankers have requested the Union finance ministry to convince the Andhra Pradesh government to drop its proposed farm loan waiver scheme, at a time when a rise in loans turning bad is eroding the profitability of lenders, especially state-run ones. Banks may also insist upon mandatory insurance for all farm loans as a protection against future loan waivers, though this may raise the cost of funds for the agricul- ture sector as a whole. If banks go ahead with legal option, this will be the first time that banks, nearly two-thirds owned by the government, will be taking on the state. The move would be in stark contrast to their history of yielding to the political decisions. If a legal route is resorted to, it will set a precedent for banks in many states to follow as it is not the first time a loan waiver has been implemented. The legacy of loan waiver dates back to 1990. A brainchild of the then deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture, Devi Lal, the Agriculture and Rural Debt Relief (ARDR) Scheme, 1990, waived loans up to `10,000 issued to farmers, landless cultivators, artisans and weavers by state run banks. Several other states have also followed the footsteps and have doled out waiv- ers. But the one by AP is by far the biggest by any state and third largest after two loan waivers announced by the Union government. The first one in 1990 followed by second one by UPA in 2009 that made the exchequer poorer by ` 60,000 crore. With increasing bad loans, the loan waiver is a temporary relief to the banks as they will be reimbursed. As of January 1, 2014, the percentage of NPAs to total loans outstanding under agriculture, MSE and SHG lending were 5.08 per cent, 5.36 per cent and 3.44 per cent, respectively. But the practice of debt waivers will start a new trend among the farmers – one of non-repayment. These kinds of steps will spread discontent among the ones who are prompt in loan repayment and may even end up as defaulters later. Schemes such as this will make the defaulters eligible for fresh credit despite them being unable to earn enough to repay their existing loans. Loan waiver schemes have never been able to address the real problems of farmers. They just treat the symptoms not the real cause. After the waivers, defaulters stop repaying as they expect similar sops. Andhra chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s first decision after coming to power was to announce a loan waiver. For politicians, farm loan waivers have been a ticket to power. But it is just a quick fix. For fledgling states like AP and Telangana, there should be long term vision and not short cuts. Editorial Comments Loan waivers are quick fixes and not a real solution
  • 6. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 5 EditorialComments Jutting Jute Problems M urder of Northbrook Jute Mill CEO in Bhadreshwar in Hooghly district under unfortunate circumstances has once again brought to the fore the problems faced by the Jute industry. Indian jute mills face stiff competition from artificial fibres such as polypropylene and suffer the problem of low labour productivity. The jute thus produced in India is incredibly expensive when compared to artificial products and the jute produced by other countries. In order to tackle the rising labour cost and prevent blocking the capital, the management of mills often call for tempo- rary suspension of operations or cut back on daily shift hours. These measures have resulted in much acrimony as reduced shift time means lesser pay, which in turn leads to management-worker tussles. The only respite for the jute industry has been the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act which made jute bags mandatory for transporting food grains and sugar. The act remained a good ally for jute products till 2010. However, in the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) meet in November 28, 2013, the act was diluted from 100 per cent to 80 per cent for sugar and 10 per cent for food grains. The Planning Commission had also recommended gradual phasing out of this provision. Significantly, at the time of passage of the legislation in 1987, cement and fertiliser were also mandatorily to be packed in jute bags, but it was later totally withdrawn leaving only sugar and food grains. The act had created a good market for jute. Almost 30 per cent of the 250 million tonnes of food grains produced annually are packed in jute bags worth around Rs 6,000 crore. Nearly 40 per cent of the jute bags produced are purchased by the Union food ministry through the Food Corporation of India (FCI), on behalf of different state food- procuring agencies. The country’s jute sector manufactures around 1.2 million tonnes of bags in a year. The installed capacity stands at nearly 1.5 million tonnes, according to official estimates. Reeling amidst several problems, jute industry faces fresh challenges if phasing out or dilution of the provisions of JPMA takes form. The industry’s sustainability hangs on the continuance of the Act. The industry reposes a lot of faith in the new government and is keenly looking out for the reforms in FCI, as promised, that would also benefit the jute industry, because FCI is the key government food procuring agency that places such large orders for jute bags. The jute industry is also expecting a slew of reforms from the new government. The industry is expecting a new export policy that would offer significant subsidy on the export of jute goods. Bangladesh offers a cash subsidy of around 10 per cent. Therefore if the Centre comes up with similar subsidy, that would help the industry to compete with exports from these countries on the pricing front. The industry is also looking at a revision of the pricing of jute bags. The present pricing of bags was based on a formula set in 2001 and has not been revised despite several attempts. The jute industry has already sought a revised formula based on the current wages of labourers, price of raw jute and other expenditure side components. A dry spell has already affected lands under jute cultivation in many parts of West Bengal. This year, inadequate rainfall has left most jute farmlands dry and hampered the sowing of jute fibre plants. According to farmers, more than 40 per cent of jute crops have been damaged due to lack of rain. The country’s jute industry is reeling under tremendous pressure and the reasons of pressure range from natural to man made. The state and Centre need to set differences aside and discuss to find a solution that can revive the sector. Editorial Comments Jute sector in India is faced with barrage of problems
  • 7. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 20146 EditorialComments T he soil has become the most abused component in agriculture. Soils are increasingly becoming sink for chemicals and they are losing their vigour and texture that are vital to raise a healthy crop. In a bid to spur agricul- tural growth, the new government in the center is mulling to introduce a comprehensive plan to provide ‘Soil Health Card’ to all farmers across the country. The card will carry crop wise recommendations of nutrients/fertilizers required for farms, making it possible for farmers to improve productivity by wisely using inputs. A computerized system will be developed allowing local agriculture science centres to keep details of `soil test’ results. Soil samples will be collected even from small farms in remote villages. The system will, eventually, allow farmers to download the health card using `unique number’ allotted to each soil sample. The cards, which are based on the principles of the ration card, provide permanent identification and status of the land to farmers. This way, any change in ownership of the particular farm land will not create any problem in getting such cards or getting it updated. All soil samples will be tested in various testing labs across the country. Thereafter, experts will analyze strengths and weaknesses (micro-nutrients deficiency) of the soil and suggest measures. The result and suggestion will be displayed in the cards. Soil Health Card is not a new concept. In fact a few states including Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Haryana had successfully distributed such cards some years ago. Launched by the Gujarat government in November 2003, the Soil Health Card scheme has helped increase agricultural productivity and crop quality in the state. Gujarat has achieved agricultural growth of 9.6 per cent and has carved a niche in the field of agricultural development in India. As of 2009, Gujarat’s agriculture growth rate has been three times more than the national growth rate. Gujarat was able to achieve this impossible fete by a slew of reforms in agriculture sector – the most important being the issuance of soil health cards. So a national rollout of a policy based on Guja- rat’s Soil Health Card scheme was made be a lynchpin of policies aimed at improving farming practices and boosting productivity in a sector that accounts for 14 percent of economic output in India. Now with Modi coming to power in the center, in all possibility highly successful schemes like soil health cards will be extended to national canvas. The Centre’s fresh move will make it universal. The scheme, if rolled out, will help farmers in identifying “health of the soil“ which will go a long way in improving productivity through judicious use of fertilizers and water. Generally, farmers use fertilizers without knowing the qual- ity of their land and end up damaging the land’s fertility and wasting fertilizers. With the help of the Soil Health Card, farmers would know if they can grow a new crop. Soil health cards have far reaching benefits. Farmers are empowered as they have all the required knowledge to raise a healthy crop without any outside help. Soil health cards will thus earn them the right of knowledge which can go a long way in improv- ing their farm income levels as has been demonstrated in Gujarat. Also, soil card will promote opportunities for integrated input manufacturers to sell fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides to growers. But implementation on such a large scale requires considerable commitment and will from the government. Unlike Gujarat, this time the area of coverage is huge and diverse. It requires coordination at multi governance levels which may become a hin- drance considering different political systems existing in different states. Agriculture till now is a state subject. Implementation of policies of such caliber will therefore be met by some resistance under the garb of technical glitches. The states will have to rise above political differences and offer speedy execution of such projects. Soil Governance Soil Health Card if made a national exercise can revolutionize the way farming is practiced in India Editorial Comments
  • 8. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 7
  • 9. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 20148 Corporate Corner UP attracts investments worth Rs 39,000 crore Essel Group, Reliance Jio, Fortis and 17 others signed initial pacts to invest over Rs 39,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh, with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav promising the investors all possible support. At an Investors’ Conclave here, Subhash Chandra- led Essel Group signed an MoU to invest Rs 20,000 crore in areas such as urban development and distribution of power; Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio pledged Rs 5,000 crore outlay for implementation of 4G network. FMCG major ITC plans to invest Rs 2,100 crore in vari- ous sectors; Fortis Healthcare promised Rs 800 crore outlay for setting up three 250-bed hospitals each at Kanpur, Lucknow and Noida. Amity Group pledged Rs 2,000 crore investment for setting up an educational complex in Kanpur. Uflex promised Rs 4,000 crore for setting up a 300 MW solar park in Bundelkhand region. Invest- ment of Rs 2,200 crore was committed by JVL Agro Industries in agro and food processing sectors. River Engineering plans to set up an air taxi base for Rs 350 crore. Sonalika plans Rs 200 crore investment for setting up a base. Dalmia Continental to Exit Two More Olive Oil Brands Dalmia Continental plans to sell its remaining two oil brands to honour its agreement with Cargill Inc to exit the oil business following a February sell-off of Dalmia’s flag- ship Leonardo olive oil business to the US-based company. Dalmia says it is putting its two other oil brands -Marco Polo and OliRyze -on the block as part of the Cargill selloff agreement. Cargill India had acquired Dalmia’s Leonardo brand in Febru- ary. Cargill had acquired Leonardo in a bid to ramp up its premium oil business in India that also includes the company’s other brands such as Nature Fresh, Gemini, Sweekar and Rath. Murugappa Group ties up with 2 Japanese firms to make farm gear Coromandel International, a Murugappa group company, has entered into a joint venture with Yanmar & Co and Mitsui Trading for manufac- turing and marketing farm machinery. Coro- mandel and Yanmar will hold 40 per cent stake each and Mitsui 20 per cent. It will initially manufacture the Yanmar brand of mini-har- vesters, planters and rotavators for paddy cul- tivation and then expand its range to include equipment for other crops, including sugar- cane and vegetables, according to A Vellayan, Murugappa Group’s Executive Chairman. The machinery will target small farmers, a segment in which Japanese manufacturer Yanmar has a strong presence. The equipment will be sold and leased to farmers through Coromandel In- ternational’s Gromor chain of rural market out- lets. This is one of the group’s key focus areas for the current year – farm mechanisation and the nutraceuticals business. Camson buys Dec- can & Srushti Bangalore‘s agri-biotech firm Camson Biotechnolo- gies said it has completed the buyout of Maharashtra- based Deccan and Srushti Agro Exports. RCF shelves Ghana urea plant project State-run Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF) has shelved its plan to set up a fertiliser plant in Ghana with an investment of about $1 billion as the West African nation has denied as- sured supply of gas. In 2010, India and Ghana had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up the urea plant with initial capacity of 1.2 million tons per annum at Shama district in western Ghana. Both the coun- tries had to identify one company from each side for executing the project. RCF was nominated by the Indian government to partici- pate in the project. In June last year, an Indian delegation, led by senior fertiliser ministry officials and RCF officials, had visited Ghana to discuss the gas supply and pricing issue. “Ghana gov- ernment has denied assured supply of gas for the plant citing reason that power generation is priority for them as compared to fertiliser production,” an informed source, who declined to be identified, said. “So, we are shelving this project,” the source added.
  • 10. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 9 With its broad and diversified product range inclusive of wheel, track and slew drives, Bonfiglioli is geared to meet the specifications of a host of agricultural machines namely; Combine Harvesters, Sugarcane Harvesters, Sprayers, Windrowers, Grape Harvesters and Feed Mixers among many other machines. Each of these machines has its own special structural and duty characteristics that are met by Bonfiglioli’s perfectly tailored products for a wide variety of drive specifications. Welcome to the world of Bonfiglioli! For details contact: Bonfiglioli Transmissions (Pvt.) Ltd. Plot AC7-AC11, SIDCO Industrial Area, Thirumudivakkam, Chennai 600044, Tamil Nadu, INDIA Tel. : +91 44 24782128 Email : Bonfiglioli’s customised drive solutions offer high productivity & efficiency along with lower cost of ownership and are an ideal partner for all manufacturers of agricultural machinery. for next generation agricultural machines. Innovative Drive solutions
  • 11. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201410 Policy NOTES New chemicals policy expected to raise exports ‘Will raise urea capacity by 3 mt in 3-4 years’ Govt restores raw sugar sub- sidy at Rs 3,300/tonne Agri ministry readies plan for poor rains The Centre is expected to come out with the new National Chemicals Policy soon that is aimed at giving a boost to the chemicals sector and increase exports. Indrajit Pal, Secretary to Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, said the draft policy had been prepared and there had been extensive discus- sions with all stakehold- ers. The policy focuses on sustainable growth of the sector, covering pesticides, organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals and dyes. Pal said during 2012-13 India’s production of all chemicals grew to $140 billion from $110 billion two years ago (figures for 2013- 14 are yet to be released). While exports were Rs 1,78,000 crore, the sector saw imports worth Rs 2,34,000 crore, he said, adding that this trade imbalance should be bridged.The policy will also come out with India’s first national chemicals inventory. “Work on this has started. It will include data on production, consump- tion, import and exports,”he said. The government is working on reviving three FCIL units to raise pro- ductionofureaby3milliontonne(mt)within3-4years,whichmayini- tially cost about R10,000 crore, to cut down imports. Fertiliser minister Ananth Kumar said the closed units of Fertiliser Corporation of India in Talcher (Odisha), Sindri (Jharkhand) and Ramagundam (Telangana) will be revived. He said the units at Talcher and Ramgundam, once revived, will raise domestic production capacity by 3 mt. India’s urea production has stagnated at 22 mt, while current demand is about 30 mt. The shortfall of 8 mt is met through imports. The Talcher and Ramagundam plants will be of standard 1.3-1.5 mt size and will be revived by a consortium of PSUs. The food ministry has raised subsidy for raw sugar produc- tion during June and July to the initial level of Rs 3,300 per tonne after a 31% cut for the previous two months stoked sharp protest from the industry. Following a meeting on June 5, new food minister Ram Vilas Paswan had sought to rationalise the subsidy, which was approved by the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) in February to en- able mills to diversify their product base and cut a glut in refined sugar, aimed at reducing cane arrears. The government is ready with a contingency plan to deal with below-normal monsoon, includ- ing diesel subsidy for farmers, crop loans at lower rates and release of foodgrain to deal with possible shortage. Amid forecasts of below normal rains, the agriculture ministry presented the plan for 500 districts during a meeting called by PM Narendra Modi. Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh told the PM that the states had been asked to take measures to ensure there was no hardship, said sources. The advisory includes ensuring availability of seeds to meet contin- gency cropping, keeping aside 10% of central fund for agriculture promotion (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana), promoting cultivation of less water consuming crops and desilting of irrigation canals at the earliest. A Cabinet note to provide farmers subsidized diesel and cheaper loans has been prepared, Singh said ahead of the meeting.
  • 12. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 11 Policy NOTES Agriculture, irrigation high on NDA’s agenda Govt mulls diesel subsidy for irrigation if Monsoon is poor Norms for subsidy on farm tools eased The NDA government wants to cut dependence of Indian farmers on the monsoon through a ‘prime minister’s national irrigation programme’’. President Pranab Mukherjee, in his speech in Parliament, also talked of camping down on food prices.Thismeansrollingoutaninfrastructurecapableofmov- ing farm produce from fields to markets, while overhauling the public distribution system. The country lacks an efficient cold storage enabled network of trucks, warehouses and even rail wagons, which some experts blame on poor policy incentives. “The country will have a network of freight corridors with spe- cialised Agri-Rail networks for perishable products,” the presi- dent said. Retail food prices have been sticky at double digits, averaging 10% over the past two years.The previous UPA gov- ernment’s inability to control food prices is reckoned to be a major reason for voter angst against it. In what could likely be one of the largest rural infrastructure programmes of the new government, the president also announced a “Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sinchayee Yojana” to expand the country’s irrigation net- work.“My government is alert about the possibility of a subnormal monsoon this year and contingency plans are being prepared,” the president said. The government’s motto is“water for every farm”, the president said. With growing expectations of a subnormal monsoon this year, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh recently said his department will soon move a cabinet note to introduce a diesel subsidy scheme to provide irrigation to protect standing crops in the event of a rainfall deficit. In its second forecast, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said the southwest monsoon may be below normal, with the country likely to receive 93 per cent of the long-period average rainfall. It also indicated the likelihood of the El Nino effect, which may result in deficient rains, especially in the latter half of the monsoon season. ‘We are fully geared up to face any drought situation. We are alert and seriously working on measures to meet any eventualities aris- ing out of drought or deficit rainfall situation,’Singh said.‘We will soon move a cabinet note seeking approval for introduction of a diesel subsidy scheme for providing protective irrigation to standing crops in rainfall deficit areas,’ he said. During the drought years in 2009 and 2012, the previous United Pro- gressive Alliance government had announced a 50 per cent diesel subsidy for farmers in rainfall deficit areas. The Punjab government has launched a special scheme to release direct subsidy to farmers for the purchase of agricultural and horticultural implements from any empanelled firm of their choice. Based by research inputs from the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal cleared the proposal allowing farmers to avail 50 per cent subsidy on 61 approved ag- ricultural and horticultural implements under various schemes for the current fiscal 2014-15. The CM directed the Agriculture Department to ask the various empanelled firms for taking necessary action in this behalf.This decision is expected to enable the farmers to negotiate the price with the supplier of his choice and avail the subsidy.
  • 13. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201412 State ROUNDUP Onion crop runs into rough weather: Poor rain to hit sowing Unseasonal rain and hailstorms in the main onion-growing belts of Maharashtra early this year have not only damaged the crop for this season but may also impact sowing for the coming Kharif season. According to senior officials of the Na- tional Horticulture Research and Development Board (NHRDF), there could be a shortage in the supply of onion seeds for the season. Last year, the crop was sown across 1.21 million hectares. This year, the sowing area is unlikely to be higher than last year as seed stocks are low. According to traders and officials at the Agriculture Produce Committee, there is a huge demand for seeds since farmers are getting good prices for onions. Seed rates have doubled from Rs 6,000 per four kg last year to Rs 11,000 per 4 kg now, senior officials said. Usually, 80% of the farmers end up preparing for the seeds by themselves, However, this year, their crop was damaged in the rains and therefore they are staring at shortage, he said. MP makes history with 25% agri growth Madhya Pradesh has created history by posting the highest ever agri- cultural growth rate, indeed a tribute to the committed efforts made by the state government to boost farm sector. As per the figures of advance figures for year 2013- 14 released by Central Statistics Organization( CSO), Madhya Pradesh has clocked a 24.99 percent agriculture growth rate. Uttarakhand govt approves pen- sion scheme for farmers Ahead of the Gairsain assembly session, Uttarakhand cabinet approved a pen- sion scheme for farmers. The pension scheme would benefit all those farmers doing farming on two hectare piece of land, the sources said, adding that farm- ers will get a monthly pension of Rs 800 under this scheme. Switched off, Maharashtra gives power freebie Throwing fiscal prudence to the wind, the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra decided to waive Rs 7,394 crore farm electricity arrears till March 31, 2014.The dole com- prises a 50 per cent waiver on outstanding principal amount of farm electricity arrears due till March 31, 2014. Absorb- ing this means the state exchequer will have to shell out Rs 2,837 crore to Mahavitran, the state-run electricity distribu- tion company. According to estimates provided by the ener- gy department, the total outstanding principal amount works out to Rs 5,673 crore. The amount to be recovered in inter- est and fines — Rs 4,417 crore — has also been waived. The dole also includes a three-month electricity waiver for farmers who have paid dues in time. The energy department has estimated another revenue loss of Rs 140 crore owing to free electricity supply to non-defaulting farmers for three months.
  • 14. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 13 State ROUNDUP Kerala urges Centre to set up Rs 1,000-cr fund for vulnerable crops The Centre should set up a Rs 1,000-crore price stabilisation fund for agricultural crops that are vulnerable to climatic and market vagaries, Kerala finance minister KM Mani has said. This should be put together urgently, in the wake of an inadequate monsoon slowly making its way through the Indian peninsula, he added. “Rubber and coconut economies are looking forward to special schemes that revitalise the sector,” said Mani, who presented his development wishlist not only at the meeting of state finance ministers at New Delhi, but also individually to the Union ministers for finance, commerce and environment. Even as rubber imports are growing steadily, rubber growers are dismayed by the rapid downslide in prices. The trend in imports in 2013- 2014 suggests they may exceed 3,24,586tonne. In May alone, imports were about 33% more than those in the same period in the last year. Apart from finance minister Arun Jaitley, Mani met commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, seeking that import tariff of natural rubber be raised from 20% to 25%.”Besides, the zero-duty import against advance import licences should be put on the freeze for at least a year, till the rubber economy in the country gets back on its feet,” he said. According to Mani, the commerce ministry should jack up the rubber replanting subsidy to Rs 40,000 per hectare. Cotton yield improves significantly in Rajasthan Rajasthan farmers’ cotton yield has risen sig- nificantly in recent years, from 415 kg of lint a hectare in 2007-08 to 785 kg a ha projected in 2013-14; the national average is 550 kg a ha. Output in the state has risen from around 200,000 bales (each 170 kg) in 2007-08 to 900,000 bales in 2012-13. The Cotton Develop- ment and Research Association, which looks af- ter the cotton extension activities of the Confed- eration of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) has been working for the past six years on improving the yield in 630 villages spread over the districts of Banswara, Bhilwara, Rajsamand, Ajmer, Jodhpur , Nagaur and Pali — about 78,000 ha in all. The programme was sponsored by the central gov- ernment’s directorate of cotton development. Availability of experienced field officers who’ve helped farmers in drip irrigation, pest manage- ment and motivation to exploit local resources have helped. So has introduction of genetically modified seeds. P D Patodia, chairman of CITI’s standing committee on cotton expects to have a yield of 1,000 kg of lint a ha in Rajasthan over the next few years. Patodia informed the fact that the CITI CDRA implemented the Front Line Demonstration Programme on Cotton Production Technology and Integrated Pest Management, sponsored by the Directorate of Cot- ton Development, Govt. of India in 630 villages from Banswara, Bhilwara, Rajsamand, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur and Pali districts during the period from 2008-09 to 2013-14 in an area of 78,000 hectares. Maharashtra adds to storage capacity to check onion prices Maharashtra has decided to create additional storage capacity for onion crop. Every year, there is a shortage of onions during the monsoon and post-monsoon periods and so the state government has established ‘on- ion chawls’ (warehouses) for storing the crop in anticipation of a bumper harvest. Milind Akare, MD, Maharashta State Agriculture Market Produce Committee (MSAMB), said this year, an additional 12 lakh mt of onion will be cultivated in the state, because of which storage capacity will be required to prevent hoarding that may result in spike in onion prices. The government has set up facilities for 15 lakh mt of onions. This includes 8 lakh mt that has been set up through grants from the government and 7 lakh mt from private sources. The country has storage facilities for around 39 lakh mt. The per month demand of onion in the country is about 12 lakh mt.
  • 15. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201414 Bank & Micro-finance Corner Monsoon fears: PSU banks to eye agri lending with caution Nabard cuts rate of interest Rs 4,200cr crop loan to farmers Banks ask FinMin to stop Andhra farm loan waiver Banks may Take Legal Route to End Agri Loan Waivers Indian banks, already carrying the burden of bad loans from infrastructure lending and economic slowdown, are looking to legally end governments’ loan waiver programmes for farmers as it breeds a culture of nonpayment and distorts the financial sector. A number of banks plan to approach the courts against the Andhra Pradesh gov- ernment’s waiver of farm loans aggregating Rs 54,000 crore, the biggest by a state. The issue is likely to figure prominently in a meeting on Monday with Finance Minister ArunJaitley. Banks may also insist upon mandatory insurance for all farm loans as a protection against future loan waivers, though this may raise the cost of funds for the agriculture sector as a whole. The Indian Banks’ Association, the industry lobby group, has sounded out both the Reserve Bank of India and the Union government about the hazards of a waiver, said two people familiar with the development. They said that no final decision has been taken on the proposed ` legal action and banks were still evaluating their options. With fears of below normal monsoon, agricul- ture lending may remain flat for most public sector banks on expectations of average kharif crop production. A senior State Bank of India official said, “We may not go aggressive on in- creasing our lending to the segment, though our lending will be need-based. If reports of deficiency of 7 per cent in the monsoon holds true, no major impact is seen”. For State Bank of India, the share of direct loan to agriculture remained flat in the last quarter of FY14, with an exposure of about Rs 1,20,000 crore. In the first quarter of FY15, SBI’s agriculture ex- posure in the first two months has been Rs 1,000 crore. According to a Bank of India of- ficial, the bank may just about achieve its pri- ority sector lending targets. “About two-thirds of our branches are in the rural areas. Hence, agriculture lending is the only viable business,” the banker said. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nab- ard) has reduced the rate of interest by 0.2 per cent on its long- term refinance facility to banks to help promote farm sector in- vestments. “Rates of refinance will now be 9.5 per cent for five years and above and 9.7 per cent for three to five years period, banks availing more than Rs 500 crore in a single drawl will fur- ther be incentivised by 10 basis points,” according to a finance ministry statement quoting Nabard chairman, Mr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala. Also, financing for efficient agricultural technologies would get a further incentive of 50 basis points, the statement said. About 12 such innovative farm practices to enhance fruit and vegetable production have been listed, including pro- duction under controlled conditions like poly houses with water saving drip and fertigation facilities, precision farming and post-harvest management. This initiative is aimed at combating food inflation by address- ing supply-side constraints.The bank created for agricultural devel- opment will also extend the 50 basis points rebate for supporting single purposes under area development schemes, mainly to ben- efit small and marginal farmers. Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik ordered the disbursal of `4,200 crore as crop loans to farmers by July 31. The order came soon after MrPatnaik held a review meeting with the officials of the de- partments of agriculture and cooperation at the state secretariat here. Mr. Patnaik asked the of- ficials to ensure seeds of non-paddy crops are pro- vided to the farmers in the event of any damage to paddy crops due to irregular monsoon in the state.The review meeting was attended by senior officials of meteorological department, Bhubane- swar. Hit by unseasonal rains triggered by a low pressure, the farmers had urged the government to provide loans to buy seeds, fertilisers and pesti- cides.State agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy said the government would make efforts to com- pensate the farmers for losses. Bankers have requested the Union finance ministry to convince the Andhra Pradesh government to drop its proposed farm loan waiver scheme, at a time when a rise in loans turning bad is eroding the profitability of lenders, especially state-run ones. Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, who is to take the oath of office as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, will re- portedly be signing on a file proposing a Rs 54,000-crore farm loan waiver. The amount could rise to Rs 60,000 crore if the state government also waives loans taken by mortgaging gold, as proposed. Banks have taken up the issue with the financial services secretary. “We’ve (also) told the banking secretary that such a measure at this point will vitiate the (loan) recovery en- vironment,” said a senior banker with direct knowledge of the matter. “We have said the proposed step should be properly ex- amined. The Andhra government should look at alternative ways to support farmers.”
  • 16. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 15 12-16 November 2014 Bologna Organized by FEDERUNACOMA Surl in collaboration with BolognaFiere Spa FederUnacoma Surl - Italia - 00159 Roma - Via Venafro, 5 Tel. (+39) 06.432.981 - Fax (+39) 06.4076.370 - INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL AND GARDENING MACHINERY EXHIBITION EIMA INTERNATIONAL 2014
  • 17. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201416 Global UPDATE Global biodiesel output seen at record World production of biodiesel is forecast to climb to a record this year, with output in Brazil rising as the country in- creases mandates for incorporation in transportation fuel, Oil World said. Biodiesel production may rise by 2 million to 2.1 million tonnes, or about 8 per cent, to 29.1 million tonnes (mt) in 2014, the Hamburg-based oilseed industry re- searcher wrote in an e- mailed report. That is less than last year’s 2.9-mt increase, Oil world said. Processed vegetable oils can fuel diesel engines, with engineer Rudolph Diesel running the first working prototype of his engine on peanut oil in 1893. Egypt unveils plan to be ‘global logistics hub’ for grain storage Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, wants to be a “global logistics hub” for grain storage by securing its own strategic reserves and exporting locally made flour to other Arab states, the Supplies Minister said. KhaledHanafi said after meeting with Chinese officials that Cairo hopes to boost cooperation with Beijing and tap into China’s expertise in grain logistics and transport systems. The meeting covered “aspects of cooperation between Egypt and China in the field of silo construction and storage of agricultural products,” according to a ministry statement. Egypt’s government is striving to boost self-sufficiency and cut its 32 billion Egyptian pound ($4.48 billion) food import bill. Ex- perts says Egypt’s ability to buy more wheat locally is limited not only by storage and transport issues, but also by peasant farmers who need to re- serve a significant portion of their yearly crop for seeds to feed their families. Egypt is making progress in increasing local storage capacity with the help of one of its major Gulf Arab backers, the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has committed to funding the construction of 25 silos to boost storage capacity by 1.5 million tonnes. Egypt’s own efforts to build 50 new silos, also with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes, have dragged on for years. The country had aimed to purchase 4.4 million tonnes or about half of its domestic wheat harvest this year but Hanafi on Monday lowered the target for state purchases to 3.8-3.9 million tonnes, on par with purchases during the past two harvest seasons. This suggests that Egypt will not cut its food import bill in the coming fiscal year. EU nations can have their say on GM The European Union (EU) will allow member countries to make their own decisions on growing genetically modified (GM) food in a compromise deal that followed years of fraught discussions. The key point of the accord gives individual EU states the right to bar GM crops, even if they have already won clearance on health and safety grounds at the EU level. Under nor- mal EU procedures, approval in Brussels should mean member states have no further say in the matter. In practice, however, widespread public unease over GM foods and fierce environmentalist opposition, especially in countries such as France, have resulted in GM approval requests in Brussels being blocked for years. To satisfy both sides, the agreement envisages that when a company now applies for GM clearance, a member country can cite objections other than health and safety, such as concern over its impact on the environment or law and order issues, so as to be excluded from EU approval. At the same time, those countries which want GM crops will be free to go ahead with them. Cultivation of GM foods stokes widespread suspicion in the 28-nation EU on health and environmental grounds. The accord now goes for approval to the European Par- liament where it may face considerable opposition. First in UAE: Indian culti- vatesrice,wheat An Indian expatriate in the UAE is set to enter record books by becoming the first person to cultivate rice and wheat as a crop in the Gulf nation. Sudhish Kumar, who created a record by growing the longest okra in 2012, is unsure about the harvest, but says, “It will be the culmination of an experiment to prove that both rice and wheat can be grown in thispart of the world.” “Rice hasn’t been grown as a crop in the UAE and there have been several failed attempts in places such as Al Ain. If and when my current crop harvests, it will be first in the country,” said the man from Kerala who claims to be an “accidental” farm- er. While rice will be harvested after a 90-day cycle next month, wheat should be ready after a 100-day cycle around the same time, he was quoted as saying by Gulf News. “I do everything myself and that means spending 3-4 hours of my time every day to make up for the required man-hours. Just sowing about 1,300 seeds took me almost a day,” he said. A commerce graduate with no formal qualification in agriculture, Ku- mar believes organic farming must be encouraged at all levels as it is “key to healthy living.”
  • 18. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 17 Global UPDATE B’desh allows transit of foodgrain to NE I n a highly significant move that was evidently cleared at the high- est level, Bangladesh is allowing India to ferry foodgrain to the landlocked northeastern states us- ing its territory and infrastructure. “To begin with, the Bangladesh government has under a special transit facility agreed to transport 10,000 tonnes of foodgrain for Tripura via its territory,” Tripura’s Principal Secretary (Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs) BK Roy informed.“After getting a green signal from the Bangla- desh government, the FCI (Food Corporation of India) initiated the process of transporting foodgrain and essentials using the Ashuganj river port (in eastern Bangladesh) and the roadways connected to the northeastern states.” The foodgrain would be ferried by small ships from Kakinada port in Andhra Pradesh to Ashuganj and then by road to Tripura in Bangla- deshi trucks. Ashuganj is 31 km from Agartala. “The FCI had earlier floated tenders to select Bangla- deshi transporters. After a series of diplomatic and administrative parleys involving various Bangla- deshi ministries and India’s food, finance, shipping and external af- fairs ministries, the long–pending matter was settled recently,” the official added. Earlier, in 2012, Bangladesh had allowed India’s state–owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to ferry heavy machinery, turbines and cargo through Ashuganj for the 726 MW Palatana mega power project in southern Tripura. The Indian government had spent sev- eral millions of rupees to develop the port and related infrastructure. “After Tripura, foodgrains would be ferried through Bangladesh for other northeastern states, in- cluding Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam, to save time and costs, besides ensuring certainty,” an FCI official said. Global rubber prices nosedive over glut scare Serious concerns are being raised over prices on the natural rubber market, as a glut is expected this year too, owing to weak demand from China and other major consuming nations. This has triggered scare in the local market, resulting in prices for the benchmark grade RSS-4 going down to Rs 145 a kg. However, Indian counters still remained in the upper level compared to the global markets. This is for the first time since 2004, the price fell below the Rs 120-mark in Bangkok trading. In last June, the Bangkok market had quoted Rs 168 a kg, and in June 2012, the price was Rs 183. Also, this is the fourth consecutive year the global market is facing oversupply. According to Malaysian experts who had visited Ker- ala recently, the prices might go down further both in the local and international markets as there is a huge gap between demand and supply. This might definitely reflect on the price line of the commodity. Brazil coffee loss less severe than forecast Brazil coffee growers may face less severe losses than officially estimated, as the first harvested beans indicate that rains last month reduced the impact of the worst drought in 50 years, the agriculture minister said. Brazil’s crop forecasting agency Conab reduced last month its estimate for this year’s coffee output to 44.6 million bags, from a January forecast of 46.5 million to 50.2 million bags. The forecast may be revised by the end of the harvest, Minister Neri Geller said in interview. I’m not going to give figures, but we expect that the output can be higher than that, Geller said in an interview from his office in Brasilia. And growers manage to take good care of the trees because the prices have gone up, so we will have a bumper crop for next year. High temperatures and low rainfall in growing areas have fuelled a 55 per cent surge in prices this year and are expected to cut output for the mild- tasting arabica beans used in blends for Starbucks Corp and Nestle SA by 16 per cent to 32.2 million bags from 38.3 million last year, according to Conab. SaudiArabiabansIndiangreenchilli Saudi Arabia has started enforcing its ban on import of Indian green chilli (green pepper), with the Customs Department preventing the arrival of a six-tonne con- signment. The Saudi Agriculture Ministry has decided to ban import of green pep- per from India on the grounds that the Indian product contains unacceptable lev- els of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Saudi Arabia, which is the fifth-largest importer of vegetables from India, has increasingly been concerned about the quality of food products it imports. The country had complained that Indian farm- ers use high doses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to speed up growth and increase harvest. The Saudis had issued an advisory to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Develop- ment Authority (APEDA), pointing out that high levels of pesticide residues were found in some green chilli consignments from India, and warned that imports will be banned if the contamination continues. Following the advisory, APEDA had asked chilli exporters to test their products before shipping to make sure that Saudi Arabia’s quality requirements are adhered to.
  • 19. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201418 Global food prices up 4% in Jan-Apr this year International prices of food increased 4 per cent between January and April 2014, mainly because of growing weather concerns and import demand, says the World Bank’s latest ‘Food Price Watch.’ “This spike in prices puts an end to a downward trend sustained since August 2012,” said a World Bank release, urging governments to keep a close watch on the global El Nino conditions, the consequences of Ukraine tensions, and the weather in the US. The latest ‘Food Price Watch’ also flags concern over the role food prices and shortages could have on food riots, stressing on why monitoring prices was important not only for food security and welfare, but also for political stability and security concerns. The sharpest increase in prices was seen in wheat and maize which rose 18 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, according to the report, which says the increase took place despite continued projections of record grain harvests, stronger stocks expected in 2014 and 2013 bumper crops. What’s NEW Jay Tea’s new bag range for India The Rs 350-crore tea packer, blender and exporter Madhu Jayanti International Limited – better known as Jay Tea – on Tuesday launched its “TE-A-ME” tea bag range for Indian markets. According to Harish Shah, Managing Director, the Kolkata-based company has earmarked Rs 15 crore outlay for brand building in India over the next two years. Though it constitutes a mere two per cent of the overall tea sales in the country, tea bag consumption is growing by nearly 25 per cent a year. The company currently sells two CTC brands – Lalpan and Saraswati Tea – in rural Karnataka and Maharashtra. Four more packet tea and tea bag brands – Old England, Victoria, Gold Bond and Indus – are sold in Russia and West Africa. The company is a significant player in the private label market catering to 80 major international retailers. In India, Cafe Cof- fee Day, Fresh and Honest, Costa Coffee, Aditya Birla’s More retail chain and HyperCity Retail procure teas from Madhu- Jayanti. Of the Rs 350 crore turnover, roughly Rs 150 crore is earned from the export-driven private labelling business. Earn- ings from Russia alone is pegged at Rs 100 crore. Three cells to be set up to im- prove public perception of Bt cotton The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) has decided to es- tablish three cells to improve public perception regard- ing BT cotton. According to CD Mayee, fellow member, NAAS and former chairman of the Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), the first cell will look into improving public perception regarding BT cotton and will attempt to remove apprehen- sions over its use. IndigenoustechtohelpIndiakeepeyeonsignalsofdrought India has deployed satellites to scour 13 states, including 9 high farm output ones, for signs of a drought, as rain- tracking goes high-tech with indigenous space technology. The big leap came when the country launched its first major satellite dedicated to agriculture, RISAT 1, in 2012, cutting dependence on the Canadian Radarsat, helping save foreign exchange. Although droughts no longer spell disaster like they used to, predictions of a patchy monsoon for the first time in four years will again test India’s successful but underrated drought-management system. In 2009, when the country was hit by its worst drought in three decades, India’s food grain output was higher by a million tonne than in 2007, a normal year. This year, the country is set to see a satellite-based drought-mitigation technology come in handy. An inter-ministerial meet to review drought-preparedness has called for harnessing “NADAMS”, a technology trans- ferred to the National Crop Forecasting Centre by ISRO. District-wise analysis, by the end of July last year, accurately indicated “normal” farm conditions in 316 districts, while in 13 districts where rainfall was scanty, it issued early alert warnings. “The fundamental change is that liaising with states becomes faster and more effective, which is crucial to managing droughts,” said Sanjeev Gupta, joint secretary in charge of IT application at the farm ministry. The system can zoom into districts in 13 states, and to the “taluka” level in four others, sending back data, which when processed tells about prevailing agricultural situation. When manually done, such monitoring can take weeks. The FAO has hailed India’s ability to sustain its grains output during droughts. But they still stoke food inflation.
  • 20. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 19
  • 21. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201420 What’s NEW RUDI is short for Rural Distribution Network, an agricultural cooperative business where its members, called RUDIbens, procure raw agricultural produce from marginal farmers at market prices, add value to that stock by cleaning and processing it before packaging and selling it at affordable prices through a network of over 3,000 RUDIbens. The business is owned and operated collectively by a group of women from the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), an Ahmedabad-based non-governmental organization. The RUDI Multi-Trading Company was set up in 2004 and has now grown to a point where it reaches over a million households annually with its highquality, affordable, brand RUDI products. To increase efficiency of the stock ordering process, the company introduced a mobile management information system (MIS), called RUDI SandeshaVyavhar (RSV or RUDI information exchange in Gujarati). The application went live in Guja- rat in January 2013. With this, women who used to earn Rs. 4,000-5,000 a month are now able to earn Rs.8,000-10,000 a month. Maharashtra turns traditional varieties into ‘Maharice’ The Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) is promoting rice varieties grown in the Vidarbha region under the ‘Maharice’ brand. In a pilot project, it recently sold around 450 quintals of such varieties and plans to sell around 1,000 tonne of the brand in one year, senior officials from MSAMB said. It is the urban affluent and upper middle class which is gradually warming up to the con- cept of branded rice. “Branding lends a new respectability to the product,” says Ravishankar Chalawade, DGM of MSAMB in Nagpur, also heading the ‘Maharice’ project in Maharashtra. A mobile­based rural distribution network GPS & RFID on trucks carrying PDS foodgrains To curb the menace of diversion of foodgrains sup- plied to lakhs of families which are below the poverty line through the public distribution system, the Delhi government will install GPS and radio-frequency iden- tification-based tracking and monitoring system (RFID) on vehicles used in transportation of foodgrains. The real-time monitoring of the vehicle’s movement will de- tect the diversion of foodgrains. The system will send alerts if vehicle is diverted from predefined route or halts for more than five minutes. The project estimated to cost Rs.4 crore is expected to be functional in four months. The department of food and supplies will set up a comprehensive Web-based real-time tracking sys- tem for effective implementation of the public distribution system. Also, SMS will be sent to the ration card holders attached to that fair price shop about the arrival of ration commodities. The system is likely to be functional in four months. The move is significant in the wake of the department receiving complaints about diversion of food grains. Moreover, the department conducted a series of raids in the last two months to detect and prevent diversion, and more than 30 cases have been registered in various police stations. Scientist Sanjaya Rajaram Gets Prestigious Food Prize Renowned wheat breeder and Indian food scientist, Sanjaya Rajaram, was announced as the winner of the World Food Prize for the year 2014. The announcement was made in Chennai by the Chairperson of the global jury, M S Swaminathan and the official announcement was made by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Constituted by the renowned food scientist and Nobel Laureate, Norman Borlaug in 1986, the World Food Prize was previously been bagged by other leading food scientists from India including M S Swamina- than, who was the first recipient and Varghese Kurien, the renowned social entrepreneur. The prize is given out as a recognition for ‘Advancing Human Development by improving quality, quantity or availability of food’.
  • 22. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 21
  • 23. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201422 Indiacarriestheheavyburdenoffeedingabillionpluspopulation.Whileitisachal- lengeinitself,thetaskiscompoundedfurtherbylimitedresourcesandcroplossesdue topestanddiseases.Whilebeatingtheoddsofdiminishinglandandwaterresources remainbleak,pestanddiseaseinflictedcroplossescanbemanagedwithsuitablecrop protectiontechniques.Pesticides,biopesticides,Bttechnologyamongmanyothers havebeeninuseforpestanddiseasemanagement.UnfortunatelyinIndia,thepres- enceofthesecropsavingmeasuresandtechniqueshavenotbeenabletotamethe mountingcroplosses.ThefutureofIndia’sagriculturedependsalotondevelopinga suitablesustainableandeconomicallyfeasiblecropprotectionexercise. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection Crop Protection For a Food Secure India AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201422
  • 24. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 23 I ndia has recently created a trend of back to back production of bumper crops. Higher MSPs and good monsoon have prompted the farmers to adopt better management practises and in fact in- stilled the confidence of the farmers back in to the profession. While this is heartening, the losses on account of biotic factors still amounts to a formidable number. Pests, dis- eases and weeds are inflicting considerable damage on the crops. A recent ASSOCHAM-Yes Bank study, has confirmed India’s monumental losses to pest and diseases. The study has pegged the crop losses due to pest and disease at a whopping Rs 50,000 crore each year.“This huge crop loss could be attributed to the low pesticide consumption in India which is less than two per cent of global usage and is confined to one-fourth of the total arable land (about 180 million hectares),” according to a study titled ‘Second Green Revolution- Agriculture to Agribusiness,’ jointly prepared by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Yes Bank. While these losses are unavoidable, the severity can be reduced to a considerable extent by adopting recommended crop pro- tection techniques. India’s Prospering Pesticide Industry Although India’s pesticide consumption is low on a global scale, this does not mean India has a poor performing pesticide in- dustry. The pesticides industry in India is currently estimated at about Rs 17,000 crore and is growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 15 per cent. After tepid growth last fiscal, the pesticide sector has staged a sharp rebound in 2013-14 and is growing at more than double the pace from a year before, thanks to plentiful mon- soon showers and higher benchmark prices of crops. India’s pesticide mar- ket, long stifled by various govern- ment controls and poor demand, is projected to more than double to $5 billion by 2017 on higher incomes and better awareness among farmers according to industry experts. Dur- ing the last five-year Plan, through 2011-12, the government raised COVER FEATURE Crop Protection India’spesticide market,long stifledbyvari- ousgovernment controlsandpoor demand,isproject- edtomorethan doubleto$5billion by2017onhigher incomesandbetter awarenessamong farmers
  • 25. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201424 MSPs of various crops in the range of 29% to 107%. Moreover, India’s per capita pesticide consumption of 600 gm is far below its major Asian peers —14 kg in China and 12 kg in Japan. The domestic market has immense growth potential because of the low level of consumption. With increasing focus on scaling up of productivity and preventing crop losses to feed a billion-plus popula- tion with limited land resources, the reliance on pesticide is only going to rise, industry executives believes. According to an industry study, ev- ery one rupee spent on pesticide for the groundnut crop saves crop losses worth Rs 26. Similarly, the spending and benefit ratio in mustard is 1:12, while in paddy it is 1:7. The pesticides market in India is largely fragmented as top five play- ers account for only 57 per cent of the total market and no player alone has over 20 per cent share. Growing awareness about negative impact of pesticides on human health is giving way to bio-pesticides industry which is growing at about two-five per cent CAGR in India as against the global growth rate of 10-15 per cent and India’s share in global bio-pesticide market is approximately less than two per cent. Besides, in the next five-seven years, pesticides indus- try will witness consolidation which may lead to better quality pesticides, improved pricing and margins. Also, extensive marketing and customer- centric approach by large players will increase proper application of pesti- cide doses. India‘s Pesticide Industry – More Scope Despite the strides made on the pro- duction front, India’s per hectare con- sumption of pesticides is very less when compared to its peers. Even among the states the consumption is highly skewed. Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh (UP) hav- ing fertile lands are major pesticides consuming states, while states like Kerala, Orissa and Bihar are least pes- ticide consuming states mainly due to low purchasing power of farmers having fragmented land holdings as highlighted in the ASSOCHAM-Yes Bank study. India, being a tropical country, the consumption pattern is more skewed towards insecticides which accounts for about 52% of the to- tal pesticide consumption. Rice is the highest pesticides consuming crop in India forming 19.8% of the total pesticides consumption followed by cotton. Low levels of research and de- velopment due to lack of skills and necessary funds is a critical element which is hurting the growth prospects of the pesticides market in India. Be- sides, lower brand awareness is an- Thedomesticmarket hasimmensegrowth potentialbecauseofthe lowlevelofconsumption. Accordingtoanindustry study,everyonerupee spentonpesticideforthe groundnutcropsaves croplossesworthRs26. Similarly,thespending andbenefitratioinmus- tardis1:12,whileinpaddy itis1:7 COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 26. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 25 other critical element. Farmers cur- rently put lesser emphasis on brand whereas are highly price sensitive. This essentially brings us back to the problem of spurious pesticides in the market. In the pursuit of cheaper fix for crop problems, farmers get duped by fake pesticides. Agrochemicals Policy Group (APG), the industrial body representing the crop protection companies, including the pesticides manufacturers and formulators, has estimated the crop loss at Rs 6,000 crore annually due to use of spurious pesticides.The fake pesticides are in- ferior formulations, which not only fail to kill pests but also inflict dam- age to the crops. Poor and marginal farmers fall prey to such cheap prod- ucts and end up with low crop yield. About 30 per cent of the sugarcane crops in the second-largest sugar producing state of Uttar Pradesh are lost due to fake pesticide products. The most recent to fall prey to the fake products is Jammu’s Rs 4,000 crore apple industry. Low per hectare domestic con- sumption offers a huge untapped po- tential for growth of pesticides indus- try in India.The rising population is exerting tremendous pressure on our food production front. While we are forced to gear up our production, we have to do so from limited resources. Although we are creating history ev- ery year with our record food grain- production, in productivity front we are in a bad shape. Against an av- erage paddy yield of 6744 kg/ha in China, our yield was only 3591 kg/ha in 2012. So the new focus is to in- crease the unit area production. The losses that are manageable can be addressed by using plant protection chemicals. With a renewed emphasis on producing ‘more form less’, the scope of plant protection chemicals is slated to improve in India. So far, pesticides followed by fun- gicides are more popular in India. For weeding, most of the farmers resort to manual labour. But recently, the migration of labour and schemes like MNREGA are siphoning out the rural workers from farming. The shortage of labour and subsequent increase in wages has forced many farmers to try chemical weeding- using weedi- cides. The scope of this range of crop protection is also on the rise. Future growth in the pesticides industry will come from herbicides and fungicides due to higher cultivation of BT cot- ton, fruits and vegetables. Easy availability of raw materials, low cost trained and skilled work- force, low overheads and technically qualified managerial base are some of the factors that have been making India an attractive sourcing destina- tion for global multi-national corpora- tions (MNCs). Pesticide Residue – India’s Shame Although we are ranked lower in pesticide consumption, Indian pro- duce has been often blamed for the presence of pesticide residues. There were instances when Indian prod- ucts were banned from export ow- Agrochemicals PolicyGroup(APG), theindustrialbody representingthecrop protectioncompa- nies,includingthe pesticidesmanufac- turersandformula- tors,hasestimated thecroplossatRs 6,000croreannually duetouseofspurious pesticides COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 27. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201426 ing to the presence of the pesticides over the prescribed limit. Recently, the domestic market has also been plagued by similar incidents. Most recently, Saudi Arabia has banned Chilli from India due to the presence of pesti- cide residue. Saudi Arabia is the fifth largest importer of vegetables from India that imported 1,81,500 tonnes of green chilli in 2013 worth $3 million dollar. India’s basmati trade has also been rocked by problems of pesticide residue. Several US-bound consignments were rejected due to the presence of traces of pesticides such as Bavistan, Isoprothiolane and Tri- cyclazole that have not been reg- istered with the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). Without USFDA approval, the chemical present in rice consignment have been considered as ‘illegal and not safe’ for human consumption. In June 2010, a Hamburg-based lab issued reports to buyers objecting that organic Basmati rice import- ed from India had elevated levels (0.03 percent) of Carbendazim and Isoprothio- lane. This stalled the export of 20,000 tonnes of organic rice from India. In 2010, the European Union (EU) rejected three consignments of bhindi from India because of the same reason. Higher levels of monocro- tophos, acephate and triazaphos residues were found in these consignments. The EU has a tolerance limit of 0.05 mg/kg for monocroto- phos residue in bhindi, while for acephate and triazophos, the maximum residue limit is 0.02 mg/kg and 0.01 mg/kg respectively. In the con- signment that was rejected, the monocroto- phos residue level was 0.13 mg/kg and that of acephate 0.13 mg/kg. The Delhi High Court has recently directed the Delhi government to set up a Pesticide Resi- due Management Cell (PRMC) under the control of the food commissioner of the state.The high court had acted suo moto on a report of NGO Consumer Voice, which had in 2010, found that 35 varieties of vegetables and fruits, picked from Delhi markets and tested for pesticide con- tent, had toxins beyond permissible limits.The court’s order came after it was informed that 5.3 per cent of vegetables and 0.5 per cent of fruits sold in Delhi had pesticide residue above the prescribed maximum residue limit (MRL). The bench noted that by one calcula- tion the entire population of Delhi was consuming food items with pesticide residue beyond permissi- ble limits. The report also claimed that pesticide components such as Chlordane, Endrin, Heptachlor, Ethyl and Parathion are used in growing a number of vegetables, which have the potential to cause serious neurological problems, kid- ney damage, skin diseases, cancer and other diseases. India cannot out rightly reject the use of pesticides in its crops but instead choose to be cautious. “The best way to tackle this is to adopt chemi- cal which is recommended to the specific crop and the right dose. By following set of practices which are suggested by technical institutes, we can reduce chemical residues, “avers Dr. J. S. Sandhu, Agriculture Commissioner, India. Organic Revolution? Pesticide contamination got the attention of hu- man kind after Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962. Fifty years later, the situation still hasn’t changed much. On the contrary, the situation has worsened. Today pesticide has sullied all possible natural resources, destroying the health of natural resources and human be- ings. Although the reality about pesticide con- tamination is a well known truth, little has been done on a large scale to manage the situation. Saudi Arabia has banned Chilli from India due to the presence of pesticide residue. Saudi Arabia is the fifth largest importer of vegetables from India that imported 1,81,500 tonnes of green chilli in 2013 worth $3 million dollar COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 28. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 27 Organic produce has always been cornered as the fancy of ‘certain buy- ers’, and restricted mostly to niche markets. The practicality of organic farming to feed a large population has always been a matter of contro- versy. But certain states in India have started to develop their own models of organic farming. Many of the North eastern states are actively pursuing prospects of or- ganic farming. The hill state of Sik- kim aims to go fully organic by 2015. At present, 50,000 farming families in Sikkim are into organic farming. By 2015, it plans to be converted into a certified organic state. Himachal government is also promoting organ- ic farming and crop diversification. There are around 25,000 farmers in the state who are engaged in organic farming. Farmers in the state’s land- locked valleys like Pangi in Chamba district and Dodrakwar in Shimla district have never used pesticides and fertilisers for growing crops. As- sam is also another state which has started showing interest in organic farming. 20 - 25 per cent of As- sam’s farmlands are already organic by default, mainly due to shortage of chemical fertilisers and also due to the rich alluvium deposited by Brah- maputra and most of its tributaries in the fields after the floods recede. In a welcome development for ally recognised Bhoj wetland is an Important Bird Area (IBA). A watch group ‘SarusMitra’ has also been cre- ated to keep the cranes safe from other anthropogenic threats.One of the biggest killers, which was discov- ered early on, was the uncontrolled use of pesticide by the farmers - es- pecially on their vegetable crops that the birds feed on. “Around half a million Indian farmers are engaged in organic agri- culture. Tea, basmati rice, medicinal and spice crops, cotton, honey etc are major items produced organically in the country. A total of 12 states have drafted policies and four states have declared the intention to go 100 per cent organic, “ says AK Yadav, president, International Competence Centre on Organic Agriculture. Genetic Modification – An Alternative As technology continues to open new ways to improve the crop per- formance, farmers each day are confronted with newer and better research products. Lately, the one which have drawn maximum atten- tion from the stakeholders in agri- culture is the Bt technology. Indian farmers have been quite receptive to this technology especially – Bt cot- ton. The Bt crops, which carries a gene engineered in it to produce a toxin rendering the plant toxic to pests, is the one that has attracted many farmers world wide. The idea of not applying any pesticides with- out sacrificing the crops and envi- ronment got many takers in India as well. India went ahead with rapid adoption of Bt varieties in cotton. In 2009-10, Bt cotton spread to 85 per cent of the country’s cotton area. It was claimed that this took the coun- try’s production to new heights. A study jointly undertaken by the Council for Social Development (CSD) and Bharat Krishak Samaj, has reported that the overall production of cotton has grown by 9.25 per cent since the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002-03 and farmers’ income has the Assam’s agriculture, 30 organic farms set up under the Chief Min- ister’s Organic Farming Project - an ambitious scheme aimed at promot- ing large-scale organic farming - are set to receive the first-phase ‘In-con- version Certificate to Organic’ dur- ing 2013-14. The 30 organic farms were set up in the initial phase during 2012-13 in 30 Assembly constituen- cies, covering an area of 50 hectares each. Later, the project, which is be- ing implemented by the Agriculture Department, was extended to cover another 60 constituencies. The rest 36 constituencies would be covered during 2014-15.The organic farms cover an area of 50 hectares each, and they would extend to an overall coverage 6,300 hectares in during the final phase. Rabi and Kharif vege- tables, ginger, turmeric, scented rice and sugarcane are the thrust crops under the project. Bio-fertilizers, bio- pesticides, vermin-compost green manure seeds, vermin-compost pro- duction units and planting materials have also been distributed to farmers for the purpose. In a bid to help the conservation of the world’s tallest flying birds — the IUCN red-listed Sarus Crane — the farmers around Bhoj wetlands in Madhya Pradesh, are turning to or- ganic farming to check the harmful effects of pesticides. The internation- COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 29. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201428 gone up by nearly 375 per cent. The study titled ‘Socio Economic Impact Assessment of BT Cotton in India’ in- dicated that high-yield hybrid cotton seeds resulted in lower pesticide use and have helped cotton farmers get better yields. Even then, there are several de- tractors of this technology, who con- sider the claim made by Bt support- ers as farce. Recently, Bt cotton has been at the receiving end as many al- legations against the genetically en- gineered cotton variety has surfaced. The spate of suicides along the cot- ton belts of India and stagnant cot- ton yields has been pointed out as reasons to doubt the efficacy of Bt cotton hybrids. In the past five years, cotton yield has risen only marginally from 470 kg per ha to 481 kg per ha. Many areas have suffered crop loss, and these crop failures are being at- tributed to the increasing number of pests found to be attacking Bt cot- ton hybrids. The state government estimates in Andhra Pradesh show that 34 lakh acres out of the 47 lakh acres planted with Bt cotton during the Kharif 2011 season faced crop failure with almost 21 lakh farmers having lost around Rs 3071 crores. The situation in Maharashtra is also similar, where Bt cotton farmers have already lost over Rs 10,000 crores due to crop failure. In Maharashtra, 209 farmers have committed suicide in the Vidarbha cotton growing belt region in 2011. It has been ten years since the in- troduction of Bt cotton and no other Bt products have been approved for commercial cultivation so far. Even the field trials has been met with hostility from the public and envi- ronmental activists. A classic case is that of Bt brinjal, the introduction of which is still pending today ow- ing to the differing positions of state governments, the lack of consensus among the scientific community, the incompletion of tests and lack of in- dependent professional mechanism to instill confidence in the general public. The genetically engineered crop varieties offer a promising direction as it combines the qualities of pes- ticides without polluting the immedi- ate environment with harmful chemi- cals. But the lack of confidence in the genetically manipulated technologies and the lingering doubts about the crossover of these ‘foreign’ genes to local varieties has marred the pros- pects of this technology. Improvements should be made India loses a formidable amount of crop produce due to pest and dis- eases. A thriving pesticide industry and availability of advanced technol- ogy hasn’t given a respite to the gen- eral farmers. In fact, the pesticides in India are not used scientifically or judiciously. There is a general un- awareness regarding the use of pes- ticides. This has resulted in instances of pesticide residue, environmental pollution, pesticide resistance and resultant loss of harvest and stored produce. India has to design a mass awareness programme that can de- mystify the illusions surrounding pes- ticide usage. The awareness should be carried out at different levels. Starting from the farmers, they should be educated on the merits and demerits of the pesticides. They should be educated to distinguish between use and over use. Besides the farmers, dealers and retailers should be made accountable to the over use of pesticides. In fact, a strict regulatory mechanism should be established to cut the over doses of pesticides. Cases of pesticide resi- due should not be treated as a local is- sue and a national programme should be developed. Regular monitoring, testing and stringent laws should be developed to manage this. Availability of appropriate pesti- cide is also a key in ensuring proper crop management. The price of the pesticides can be a deterrent for farmers in selecting the needed pesti- cide and instead they make seek the services of cheaper and unsuitable pesticide. Rising costs of inputs, gov- ernmental duties and taxes, the cost of capital, high rates of excise duty both on intermediates and finished products, and excise and sales taxes are all transferred to the farmers. The industry is also constrained by regulatory norms. At present, there are high data generation costs for different crops and pests, and the systems and protocols needed for registration of new products are ex- tremely stringent. Export formalities for insecticides and pesticides are particularly cumbersome, and cause huge losses of orders and hence, of precious foreign exchange. The global market in generic pes- ticides is bound to increase in years to come. The strong fundamentals of the Indian pesticide industry, such as cheap availability of raw materi- als, process expertise, low operating costs and R&D strengths, are attract- ing many foreign companies. With our food exports bound to grow in coming years, we need to resort to responsible crop management prac- tices. Pest and diseases can wither farmers’ life and the future of a na- tion that depends on its farmers for food. A good crop care regime can save a country’s future. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 30. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 29
  • 31. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201430 United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) is a global generic crop protection, chemicals and seeds company, head- quartered in India (Mumbai). The largest pesticide manufacturer, formulator and exporter in India, UPL has registered a fantastic growth in India as the result of successful backward and forward integration by tak- ingadvantageoftheconsolidationopportunitieswithin the agrochemical industry. RD Shroff, Chairman, United Phosphorus Limited Mumbai, in an interview with Agri- culture Today, shares his views regarding the status of pesticide in Indian agriculture. Indiainbetterpositionto producegoodqualitypesticides How is the broad Indian and global scenario of crop protection business? Day by day, the demand for food is growing in de- veloping countries, consumption of food is increasing fast, and for getting better yield from the crops there will be more need of crop protection. Not only in In- dia, but all over the world, demand of crop protec- tion chemicals is growing. There are large areas in the world like Africa, Middle East and even in Asia, where the use of pesticides is negligible, and if all of them start using even 2-3 kg per hectare, then the demand is going to go up. In the last 50 years, lot of changes such as newer and better technologies in use of farm machinery and use of fertilizer, better irrigation system are coming up. They all need to protect the crops and country like India is in better position to produce pesti- cides of good quality at competitive price. What is the current Indian pesticides market size and the exports? The market size in rupee value is rather flexible but if we consider final amount paid by the farmers (MRP) it is Rs. 20000-25000 crore. But with more training and education of farmers, the consumption of pesti- cides is going to go up. Today, India is consuming less than 500 gms of pesticides per hectare. Inspite of anti- pesticides lobby, the demand for pesticides will go up as the consumption in Europe, Far East, USA is 3-5 kg per hectare. Indian farmers are getting right informa- tion and hence they realize the importance of use of crop protection chemicals. However, there are a lot of complaints of policy adopted by RC, of how to re- ject the export registration. But we are confident that under new government, the export will grow by Rs. 15000 to 20000 crore as India has high potential. What is the new trend in the Indian Crop Protection market? In Crop protection market, there are newer, low dose high cost pesticides coming up. However, it is being observed that the new effective pesticides develop re- sistance and they have to, be reproduced or synergized with combination, but old molecules such as Organo Phosphorus has not developed any resistance and they are more cost effective to the farmers. Inspite of this, some NGOs are carrying out false propaganda about the harmful effects of pesticides. It has been proved that these pesticides are safe as Indian farmers know COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 32. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 31 how to use them. What was the business growth of UPL in the last few years and what is your expansion plan for this financial year? UPL has been growing more than 20% every year. At UPL, we have one advantage, we make best use of our scientists, and engineers and continuously improve productivity and efficiency of our plants, which helps us in producing high quality pesticides at competitive price. But we also have very strong R & D and constantly improve our pesticides formula- tions. We have several patents in India and other parts of the world. Indian market is good and we are largest today. We have established our business and production facilities all over the world. Last year, we had crossed Rs.10000 crore, of which nearly 80% was from world market. Next year we plan to in- crease our sales by 20%. What are the major policy and regulatory issues concerningtheindustry?Whatareyoursuggestions to the newly formed government? The Indian crop protection producers are constantly fighting with the government about regulatory re- quirements. Indian industry is quite advanced sci- entifically and they are able to produce any data requirement. But there are serious complaints about the officers who delay the registration procedure by asking irrelevant questions sometime. There are alle- gations that regulatory authorities are allowing pes- ticides formulations without proper technical data to be imported to India. Good strong R & D base com- panies are denied registration. Complaints from the industry have already been sent to the new govern- ment, and industry knows that new Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi is concerned about improving agriculture yield in India. Everybody is confident that all the hurdles will be removed and Indian Agriculture and Indian Agrochemical Industry will get a boost under new government. Whataretheprospectsofcrop-protectionchemicals like weedicides and fungicides in India? Earlier in India, major use of pesticides was limited to insecticides. But with training and education of farm- ers, they have realized the importance of weedicide and fungicide. Manual weeding has become very expensive and totally non-viable. With more in- dustries taking up the extension work, farmers have realized the importance of fungicides and demand of fungicide has increased. What are the major challenges before Indian agriculture from the Industry perspective? Indian agriculture is facing number of challenges.To make agriculture more profitable, there is a need to improve infrastructure. Since facilities like transport and storage of crop are not accessible to the farm- ers, they have to sell their crops in local markets. In some tribal areas of Gujarat, infrastructure, road, power is available; so trucks loads of vegetables, fruits and other commodities are transported to big cities and towns. Because of this, farmers are get- ting prosperous in those areas and they are getting lot of help and guidance from the industry. How does the industry plan to counteract the issue of pesticide residue in harvested produce? The problem of pesticides residues is created by the environmental NGOs, who are getting foreign aid from abroad. These people publish lies about pesti- cides residues, whenever we have challenged them it has been proved that pesticides residues in India are below international average. In Europe and USA, the pesticides residues above MRL are 2-3% and in India according to Dr. K.K. Sharma it is 1.8%. We have found that they are outright liars; they exagger- ate and manipulate the issue of pesticides residues. Whenever they have been confronted legally we have received apologies and they have been penal- ized by the Court. Even Greenpeace, some leading newspapers like Times of India, Mid Day, Afternoon have been penalized and they have given apology. What is the new direction of the crop protection industry globally in terms of R&D? Day by day requirement of crop protection chemi- cals is growing. We have better seeds, good fertiliz- ers, proper irrigation system. So we are bound to get good crops and with good crops there is real need of protecting crop, so the demand for crop protec- tion chemicals will go up. Newer and better methods of biological control are coming up. Most of leading companies all over world are concentrating on bio- logical control in future. How do you foresee Indian crop protection business in next five years? I will try to explain to you how India has high poten- tial of growth. India has nearly 148 million hectares land, and China has 120 million hectares of land. Ac- cording to FAO, India’s total agriculture production is US$ 300 billion, whereas China’s total produc- tion is US$ 900 billion because China is using 100% more fertilizer and 400% more pesticides than India, though the average farm size of India and China is more or less the same. If we want to compete in foodgrain production in horticulture, milk, poultry and other agriculture produce, then we will need more pesticides, more fertilizers and high tech farm machinery and irrigation techniques. With new gov- ernment, future of Indian agriculture is very bright. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 33. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201432 Set up in 1977, the flagship company Bharat Insecticides Ltd. (BIL) is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of pesticides formulations under BIL’s brand names. Some of Bharat brands happen to be household names amongst Indian farmers.The company has wide range of pesticides including Insecti- cides , Fungicides,Weedicides and others to cater to diverse crop segments. Bharat products are available to the farming community at their doorsteps through a network of 22 warehouses, 3500 distributors and a large number of retailers. Bharat Rasayan Ltd. (BRL), established in 1989 as a part of backward integration initiative, happens to be one of the biggest manufacturers of technical grade pesticides in India.The company, known for an international quality, commands a customer base of more than 300 manufacturers/formulators in India. Bharat Rasayan Limited is a Govt. recognized star trading house exporting our products to more than 60 countries. In an interview with AgricultureToday, Mr. S. N. Gupta, CMD, Bharat Rasayan talks about the company and the crop protections prospects in India. 505, Pajero, Tejas and Bildor. Under the herbicides category, Columbus, Shikhar and Nishchay are the product offerings from the company. Besides this, we also have Udaan Plus, Balram Plus, Remote, Ratan and Shatranj un- der the fungicide category and Toki in the plant growth regulator group. What are your extension activities? Extension activities at grass root level are an integral part of Bharat Group. BIL has created a separate function of Market Development and Technology Transfer for thrust on farmer’s educa- tion. The experts from the group train the trainers i.e. Sales Executives and Field Promoters. They plan the pro- motional activities and monitor their execution at ground level by the Sales Team.The targets are assigned for the field work to be undertaken by each employee right upto Vice President’s level. Some of the activities under- taken by the company are:Farmers’ Meeting, Product Demonstrations, Jeep Campaigns, Wall Paintings and Press Ads. What are the on-going R&D activities Committed to Supplying High Quality Products in the company? Each of the six manufacturing units has a self-contained lab for quality management. In addition to that we have a government approved R&D center at Bahadurgarh (Haryana) spread over 5,000 sq. ft. area with a team of 20-25 scientists. Another R& D facility with pilot plant is coming up at Dahej (Gujarat). The thrust of R&D initiatives revolves around: Process development for acquiring technology for manufacturing off patented prod- ucts, Process Improvement for higher productivity, Formulation improve- ment for domestic and overseas cus- tomers and Quality assurance. What are the major challenges faced by India’s crop protection industry? Untested and unregistered chemicals being sold as ‘Bio products ‘pose a serious threat to the quality manufac- turers. These products are being sold with hefty margins to the unscrupu- lous retailers. Illegal imports from un- registered, at times fictitious, sourc- es are a major challenge for the law abiding manufacturers who at times are forced to sell their material be- What is the market presence of the company? The company has a pan India presence with 8 Divisional and 30 Regional level offices and 22 warehouses. Addition- ally there are around 120 Sales Ex- ecutives dedicated to commercial and promotional activities. Bharat Insecti- cides Limited (BIL) is ranked amongst the top 10 companies in several geog- raphies in the country.Bharat Rasayan Limited (BRL) is a listed company manufacturing and selling 14 techni- cal grade Insecticides, 3 Herbicides and 4 Intermediates. The company was started in 1989 with a manufac- turing unit at Mokhra (Haryana). Re- cently BRL invested Rs. 200 crore in state of art manufacturing facility at Dahej (Gujarat). BRL has a loyal cus- tomer base in Domestic and Interna- tional market. With an annual turn- over of approximately Rs. 358 crores in 2013-14 (net of excise), BRL is the major driver for the growth of Bharat Group Business. What are your product offerings? In the insecticide sector, the com- pany sells He-man Super, Jadu, Bilbo COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 34. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 33 low manufacturing cost. Baseless and malicious propaganda by ill-informed NGOs against the crop protection industry is also an area of concern. Industry is required to spend a lot of resources for contracting such pro- paganda propagated by irresponsible NGOs. The customer base for the industry is spread over 6, 00,000 vil- lages. State infrastructure created for extension work is almost defunct. It is a herculean task on the part of the industry to educate the end users on proper use of crop protection chemi- cals. What are the major policy and regulatory issues concerning the industry? Registration processes is highly time consuming. It works as a disincen- tive for obtaining fresh registrations for Indian companies. The registration guidelines are vague and favor MNCs at the expense of local companies. There is no level playing field since the MNCs enjoy data protection for which there is no provision under WTO or In- secticide Act. Foreign companies not only enjoy protection under patent laws but also create entry barriers for the local companies by manipulating the law with respect to data submis- sion etc. The implementation of Insec- ticides Act with respect to imports and quality remains a matter of concern. There is no fairness and transparency in testing of samples drawn from the market. There are several instances when the State and Central Pesticides laboratories will misbrand a sample which later on is declared on spec on re testing by other laboratories. It causes tremendous harassment to the manufacturer but the government employees involved in testing just get away without any accountability. What are your expectations from the newly formed government? We expect the new government to Remove the above bottlenecks and provide a level playing field to pro- tect and promote local industry, Fix accountability of inspectors and the testing labs harassing the quality conscious players in the industry and Crack down on illegal imports detri- mental to the interest of local industry and Indian farmers. What is the size of the Industry today and what are the major growth drivers? For 2013-14 we estimate $2.5 bn for the domestic market and $1.5-2.0 bn in exports. The industry is grow- ing at the average of 12-15% per an- num. There are several factors behind this growth. Area under plant protec- tion cover is increasing especially for rice and vegetables due to growing awareness about the benefits of plant protection measures. The awareness for proper plant protection cover is increasing resulting into an increased consumption per acre basis due to in- tensive use of pesticides. Completions of irrigation projects like Narmada are changing the agricultural landscape of the country bringing additional area under high yielding varieties. Labor shortage is driving the growth of her- bicides segment in rice and plantation crops. An increase in disposable farm income is driving the growth of farm inputs. How do you foresee Indian crop protection business in next five years? India is likely to emerge as a major manufacturing hub competing with China.Local companies will expand their manufacturing base by gaining access to more molecules due to off patenting of technology. Local com- panies’ market share is likely to grow due to cost competitiveness and their aggressiveness. More marketing alli- ances will be formed between MNCs and local companies. Also, MNCs out- sourcing manufacturing and R&D ac- tivities will select local companies. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 35. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201434 Coromandel International Ltd established in 1961 has served the Indian farmers for morethan50years.Today,Agriinputindustryhasveryfewcompaniesthatcarrythis longlegacy.FortheyearendedMarch2014,thecompanyhascrossedtheconsolidat- ed turnover of Rs.10,000 Crores.Today, Coromandel International is the second larg- est phosphatic fertiliser company in the Industry and enjoys an enviable position in crop protection industry with a turnover of over Rs. 1200 crores. In an interview with Agriculture Today, G Veera Bhadram, President – Crop Protection, Coromandel International Limited, discusses the crop protection scenario existing in India. 7 Kg/ha. We are a nation using less crop protection products rather and hence imbalanced usage is second- ary. While global markets have higher share in herbicides usage, Indian mar- ket is predominantly insecticide domi- nant owing to the intensity of insect pest damage and variety of choices made available for Insect pest control. Given the labour shortage for farm operations, there is a gradual shift in the way weeds are being controlled currently in India. Growing awareness among farmers on chemical weed control is definitely aligning Indian crop protection products especially, herbicides usage in line with global herbicide usage.Industry is also very active and many of the recent new product launches have happened in the herbicides segment. India will soon align with global trends in crop protection products usage for insec- ticides, fungicides, herbicides and- growth promoters. What are Coromandel’s extension activities? The Company’s brand, ‘GROMOR’ is a household name among farmers in many parts of India. GROMOR has offered many unique extension activi- ties viz., field level mobile soil testing and resolving farm related problems through our toll free call centres. Many field trainees are there in the field spreading awareness on best practices in farming. Crop seminars, Agro Chemical Industry should be Treated as Priority Sector jeep campaigns and demonstrations are regular core activities that help us to build lasting relationship with our customers.Coromandel has launched an unique program for the farmers to promote safety by conduct training programs for farmers about the safe usage of crop protection chemicals. Recently, the crop protection products have been rebranded and are being marketed under unified brand - “GRO- MOR SURAKSHA”. Many farm level initiatives have been taken up under “GROMOR SURAKSHA” to offer eco- nomic benefits to farms and farmers. Our extension activities always pro- mote responsible care for both the crops and users. What are Coromandel’s R&D strategies? Crop protection business is keen on developing products that can endure and perform for a very long time. Presently, crop protection business has R&D facility at Ankleshwar for new off patent product synthesis, process improvement , EMS and for- mulation development.To meet the new product requirement for the busi- ness, the crop protection business is planning to start new R&D facility at Hyderabad for off patent new product synthesis. Having strong technical portfolio, investments are being made to develop good combination products that can remedy the most challenging pests in key crops. What are the product offerings of the company in crop protection business and market presence? Which isyour most popular product? Coromandel International Limited is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of Fertilisers, Specialty Nutri- ent Products and Crop Protection Products.Among Crop protection products, Coromandel produces16 technicals in its plants at Ankleshwar and Sarigam. The Main products are Mancozeb, Maneb and Propineb in fungicides category, Profenofos, Ph- enthoate, chlorpyriphos and Acephate in Insecticides sector and Glyphosate in Herbicide category. The company exports its products to all the markets in the Globe with strong presence in LATAM and Asia Pacific. Coromandel has plans to expand business in Africa and make a good start in Europe. The company has more than 400 registra- tions in 62 countries. The Company has formulation facilities at Ranipet and Jammu. Coromandel markets around 55 products in India through its vast dealer network and MANA GROMOR centres (Coromandel’s own retail outlets) in AP and Karnataka. Is there an imbalance in the use of crop protection chemicals in India? Compared with many growing econo- mies, crop protection products usage is mere 0.6 Kg/ha in India compared with China at 13 Kg/ha and USA at COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 36. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 35 What are the new trends in the Indian Crop Protection market? Are there any products that are being anxiously awaited? Increasingly, the market is finding innovation in introducing new combination formulations. Most of the recent introductions are improved formulation types or combination products of existing or imported technicals. Many compa- nies are actively pursuing tie ups with foreign players for such imports. Combination prod- ucts are offering wider pest control spectrum to farmers and imported technicals are offer- ing new solutions to growing problems. New herbicides in paddy for direct sown rice and soybean have offered good solutions to farm- ers. New paddy insecticides launched have offered good control duration against pests. Recent fungicides have offered wider control spectrum for diseases. All of them immensely benefitted the crops. Combination products containing Insecticide + Fungicide are most awaited now. Are you happy with the existing policy support from the government? What are your expectations from the new government? Agro Chemical industry should be treated as priority sector, and gas and power should to made available at competitive rates. This would ensure that the industry is able to compete in global markets vis a vis China. Customs duty on imports should be low and higher incentives for export of value added products from India should be considered. SEZs may be permitted to import technicals and formulation without registration for ex- port. There should be Income tax exemption for Export profit. Registration process should be simplified to expedite new product intro- ductions and importance should be given to the indigenous manufacturer. What is the growth strategy of Coromandel to further consolidate the market presence? Growth strategy of the company encom- passes profitable global growth supported by new products, registrations and market ex- pansion. Indigenous manufacturing through R&D is one of the key growth drivers for the business. Company is looking for partner- ships with R&D companies for registering and marketing new /patented products in India.Import sourcing for new products and new combinations through our own R&D will keep our product portfolio attractive for growth. With a history of over 27 years in Agro Input business,Biostadt India Ltd. has earned the reputation of being a fast growing company with focus on product qual- ity and sound business ethics.Earlier, a business division of one of India’s leading multinational companies in Health care business, BIOSTADTIndia Ltd was established with Mr J S Khorakiwala, as Chairman and Managing Director in 2003. With clear strategic focus on biological means of Crop Pro- duction & Protection, the company started its agro business with Plant Growth Stimulant, BIOZYME, based on US tech- nology. In early eighties, Plant Growth Stimulant based on sea weed extract was a very small segment in Agro input in- dustry but Biostadt took it to the next level and created and made it numerouno with its flagship brand Biozyme. Over the years, the company has diversified itself into various areas like pesticides, seeds, aquaculture Inputs and interna- tional business. In an interview with AgricultureToday, DK Chopra, CEO, Biostadt India Ltd., discusses the general crop protection scenario in India. Finding Productive, Effective and Sustainable Ways of Farming COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 37. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201436 What are the product offerings of the company and market presence? Which is your most popular product? We have pan India presence through 5000 plus distributors and over 50,000 retailers. Our expertise is in sea weed based Bio-stimulants, be- sides select pesticides brands. We are brand leader in seaweed extracts based products, with our Flag ship Brand BIOZYME. Our products like Roko, Biomycin, Maiden, Stop Nano- zim, Clinzex DS, Environmin etc. are well known among farming communi- ties in crop care and aquaculture. There is imbalanced use of crop protection chemicals in Indian agriculture. How do you plan to counteract this phenomenon? Yes, Very true. As a company we give major thrust on customer awareness and education through our various customer awareness and education programmes. We encourage farmers to use judicious doses of agrochemi- cals as per the label. Our team in the field always interact with traders and farmers to promote a package of prac- tices for the crop with correct dosage and local need as per IPM and INM. Are you involved in any extension activities?Howdoyoucreatearapport with your end users - the farmers? Yes. We have qualified field force to carry out extension activities and to promote our brands. They are equipped with Jeeps and latest AVs to conduct farmer trainings, meetings, result demonstrations and field days etc. We have dedicated Aastha Raths which acts as mobile video on wheels to promote our product and also give latest information about agriculture technologies along with soil testing fa- cilities. We also participate in various exhibitions arranged by government and institutions. Our key farmers are part of our Elite Farmers Club, which besides being a loyalty programme, also engage them with us on regular basis. What are the R&D activities of the company? Right from our inception, R&D has been our core thrust area. We are the recipient of DST award for indigenous development of India’s first BT insec- ticide, Halt. Our state of the art R&D unit InGene Research Lab is DSIR cer- tified and is equipped with facilities to develop formulations of bio-stimulants and bio Products. We have also robust R&D facilities for Seeds Trials. What is the new trend in the Indian Crop Protection market? We can look forward to more new chemistries, particularly Green Chem- istries, to be introduced in the coming years.Crop protection industry in India is going to witness a robust growth in coming years led by growth in herbi- cide segment. Bio-stimulants segment is a fast growing segment globally as well as in India. Besides fungicides & herbicides, drought resistant vari- eties, GMOs, Bio Pesticides and low dose crop protection products and all in one herbicide may be some of the game changers. Are you happy with the existing policy support? What are your expectations from the new government? If the projected growth in GDP is tak- en into consideration, there is going to be enormous pressure on signifi- cantly improving our farm productiv- ity.With New Modi-fied Goverment at centre, Agriculture is going to be at centre stage of policy. Already there are enough indications for that. It is important that the government looks at all dimensions of agriculture com- prehensively. Besides seeds, fertil- izers and pesticides, we need to ex- plore all possibilities and technologies to improve crop productivity and qual- ity of produce. We need to create a positive environment for pesticides as they play a very vital role in protecting crop from various pests and diseases and can potentially play a much larger role in avoiding huge losses in our pro- ductivity. We expect the government to take corrective steps to improve farm income, which will help farmers to adopt new technology / inputs to take on challenges like unpredictable weather, increasing pressure on each acre of land etc. We hope new gov- ernment shall take conscious decision on MSPs and modernizing farm sec- tor, greater focus on irrigation facili- ties and above all providing a market- ing infrastructure to farmers to store and sell their farm produce to help them get better returns on their in- vestments in farming. What is the growth strategy of the company to further consolidate the market presence? Driven by the vision to serve the farm- ing community and improve quality of their lives, we at Biostadt are always on lookout for innovative ideas, new products and technologies which can help us drive our growth. We believe there’s more to agriculture than a healthy and profitable crop, which is why we are on a quest to find pro- ductive, effective and sustainable ways of farming. With a well-charted goal, Robust Distribution Expansion, Powerful Alliances, New Generation Products & Modest Acquisition plans, we shall be growing from strength to strength and area aspiring to touch the base of INR 1000 Crores Business in near future. We need to create a positive environment for pesticides as they play a very vital role in protecting crop from various pests and diseases and can potentially play a much larger role in avoiding huge losses in our productivity. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 38. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 37
  • 39. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201438 BASF, the world’s leading chemical company has the ex- perience of almost 150 years in the chemical industry and 100 years in the agriculture industry.“We connect knowl- edge of different industries and sectors in ourVerbund system.With our portfolio, we enable our customers and partners to face the upcoming challenges for energy and resources, agriculture, electronics, health and nutrition, consumer goods, construction and housing, mobility and communication,”says Dr. Raman Ramachandran, Head South Asia & Chairman BASF Companies in India. In the agricultural sector, BASF is continuously exploring inno- vations for a sustainable future such as improving yields and food availability and modernizing agricultural prac- tices by introducing new technologies and training.“Our new business unit Functional Crop Care is enriched with our acquisition of Becker Underwood in 2013.We provide solutions beyond conventional crop protection, including biological seed treat- ments”, says Dr. Raman. BASF’s sales in India have exceeded a billion Euro mark. On a year-on-year basis, BASF in India has grown by more than 10% in the past five years.With the 1000 crores invest- ment project coming up in Dahej in 2014, the 12.3 acres automotive catalyst site in Chennai and the recently inaugurated fine chemicals catalyst production line in Mangalore, BASF is well-equipped to ensure supplies not just for today but even for future. In an interview with AgricultureToday, Dr. Ra- man delves deeper into India’s crop protection sector and the potential it holds. tives).BASF’s crop protection division is a leading innovator that supports growers to optimize agricultural pro- duction, improve their business effi- ciency and enhance the quality of life for a growing world population.BASF supplies products, technologies and services for all types of sustainable farming methods, and supports the co-existence of all these systems at the farm level. Solutions in crop pro- tection include seed treatment and biological control as well as solutions Chemistry based solutions for Agriculture to manage water, nutrients and plant stress. BASF’s portfolio also includes products for turf and ornamental plants, pest control and public health. In the field of organic farming, BASF offers products like copper, sulphur and pheromone solutions. What are BASF’s R&D investments in India? At BASF, innovation will play a key role to ensure our long-term business success with chemistry-based solu- What is the product profile of the company? Today, BASF in India support Indian customers with high-valued chemical products and solutions from Disper- sions & Pigments, Paper Chemicals, Care Chemicals, Nutrition and Health, Construction Chemicals, Crop Pro- tection, Plastics (Engineering Plas- tics, Polyurethanes), Chemicals, and Performance Chemicals (for textiles, leather, water treatment, automo- tive & oil industry, and plastic addi- COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 40. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 39 tions to address global and regional challenges of resource of efficiency, food and nutrition and quality of life. Globally, our target is to have €30 bil- lion sales from innovations by 2020. BASF globally has invested €1.8 bil- lion in R & D in 2013. As a part of this initiative to globalize R&D, it is targeted to spend around 25% in Asia Pacific by 2020. India will also be an important part of this initiative. We currently have two R&D centers in India.Earlier this year, we established the global R&D functions in India at the Thane site focusing on organic synthesis, advanced process and for- mulation research, discovery chemis- try for modern agricultural solutions, and molecular modelling. With an ini- tial investment of €2 million, this new facility has been set up by BASF under its group Company, BASF Chemicals India Pvt Ltd. Other than this, in India, BASF maintains a strong R&D pres- ence through its sites in Mangalore and Mumbai, which are part of a glob- al technology platform. Strategically located in close proximity to key pro- duction assets and customers, these facilities support close collaboration between research, development and business teams on site.The research projects are focused on catering to the global megatrends – Resources, Environment & Climate; Food & Nutri- tion and Quality of life. As part of the global research platform, the Indian team collaborates with researchers all over the globe to work on new en- ergy concepts, agricultural solutions, leather chemicals, specialty chemicals and the synthesis of intermediates for industrial applications.On a global front, BASF’s Crop Protection divi- sion reinvests 9% of its annual sales back into R&D. For 2013, that meant we invested €469 million into R&D projects. This figure has been grow- ing steadily over the past few years and we hope this trend to continue in future. What are major challenges before the India’s crop protection industry? The demand for quality and quantity of food will rise significantly as the economic standards in India improves posing significant challenges on Agri- culture. With increased urbanization we have no option but to increase productivity in what appears to be declining arable land. In addition, the variability in weather conditions that we are increasingly witnessing will further accentuate this challenge. Crop protection will play an important role in meeting this challenge. One of the key challenges is low awareness and responsible use of crop protec- tion products to increase agricultural productivity. According to the Tata Strategic Management Group’s re- port, currently India consumes 0.6 kg/ha agrochemicals as compared to world average of 3 kg/ha. In addi- tion, the biotic and abiotic factors that limit production are rapidly changing. So we need an environment which encourages and incentivizes develop- ment, introduction and dissemination of sustainable innovations. In addition, there are other challenges such as rise in counterfeit products. With increase in demand, there is a corresponding increase in the supply of counterfeit products which resemble the original branded products closely. Hence edu- cating the farmers is crucial to avoid harm. When farmers can effectively manage inventory and resources such as crop protection products, they can better address seasonal demands, pest attacks, and other challenges to ensure adequate supply during crucial periods such as monsoon and harvest- ing season. For this reason, better re- source forecasting, although difficult, has great potential. Are you involved in any extension activities? How do you create a rapport with the farmers? In India, we constantly hold farmer meetings and work directly with farmers in their fields and help in ad- dressing their challenges. BASF also runs ‘Samruddhi’ program for farmers wherein it provides advisory services to farmers for adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and usage of modern technology to improve pro- ductivity. Under the initiative, BASF agronomists work with soybean farm- ers to provide expert advisory and training throughout the lifecycle of the crop – from seed selection, land preparation and appropriate usage of crop protection solutions to har- vesting and storage. Our Samruddhi initiative with the soybean farmers addresses the need gaps of the farm- ers and looks beyond our products to enhance soybean productivity. With our Samruddhi program we hand hold the soybean farmer right from sowing to selling the produce post-harvest. Now the program has been extended to other states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.As of 2012, Soya Samruddhi includes over 180,000 farmers and 700 BASF agronomists. It has also been expand- ed to 25,000 onion and 27,500 po- tato growers in India and further proj- ects are planned for chili, guar beans, groundnuts, and tomatoes. In 2012, Samruddhi soybean farmers achieved a 25% yield increase and a 36% net profit increase compared to non-Sam- ruddhi farmers— and that with only a slight increase in the total cost of cul- tivation. These results were indepen- dently confirmed by Price Waterhouse Cooper in a 2012 review. Furthermore BASF’s Samruddhi program was fea- tured in a study titled “Responsible Corporate Engagement in Rural India: A Compendium of Good practices”, commissioned by the GIZ – a federal- ly-owned German international coop- eration enterprise for sustainable de- velopment in association with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs under Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govern- ment of India. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 41. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201440 India loses a whopping Rs 50,000 crore each year due to pest and diseases.This loss poses a serious threat to India’s food security especially when the country has to feed a burgeoning population under circum- stances of diminishing resources. In this situation, the country has to be accountable to each and every grain produced. Crop protection can play an important role in this. But India’s current crop protection scenario faces innumerable challenges. Agriculture Today got an opportunity to discuss the current crop protection scenario in India especially issues such as pesticide residue, IPM, challenges among many oth- ers with Dr. SN Sushil, Plant Protection Advisor, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage; Dr C. Chattopadhyay, Director, National Centre for Integrated Pest Management (ICAR) and Dr. Pranjib Chakrabarty, Assistant Director General (Plant Protection & Biosafety), ICAR. Export Development Authority (APE- DA) for pesticide residue analysis in agri-export commodities. Besides this, National Institute of Plant Health Man- agement (NIPHM), Hyderabad imparts training on pesticides residues through an identified course programme.Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) lays down standards for articles of food and regulate their manufacturer, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for hu- man consumption. What steps are taken to control the flow of spurious pesticides into the market? To monitor the quality of the pesti- cides, there are one Central Insecti- cides Laboratory (CIL), two Regional Pesticides Testing Laboratories and 68 State Pesticides Testing Laboratories in the country. There are 10,757 in- secticide inspectors under state gov- ernment and 168 under Central gov- ernment i.e. Dept. of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage.These inspec- tors have drawn 49, 013 pesticides samples during 2013-14 to control Plant Protection - Paramount to Food Security Dr. SN Sushil, Plant Protection Advisor, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage the flow of spurious pesticides into the market.Only 1073 (2.19%) pesti- cides samples were found misbranded and 469 misbranded cases have been prosecuted.During 2013-14, 124 pes- ticides samples (including bio pesti- cides) have been drawn by the Central insecticide inspectors and 23 samples were found to be misbranded. The prosecution is being launched against the dealers and manufacturers of these pesticides.Four accused have been convicted by the different courts for manufacturing misbranded pesticides during 2012-13. Has the government adopted any measuretopromotebiologicalcontrol of pests? Are biological formulations an effective way to manage pest problems? The government of India has adopted measure to promote biological control of pests in India through establishment of 31 Central IPM Centres in 28 states and one UT. The biological control laboratories have also been established in these centers.There are 352 bio- control labs including bio-control labo- ratories established by ICAR, SAUs, What are the government plans to counteract the problem of pesticides residue in both home bound and export oriented crop produce? The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture is regularly monitoring the pesticides res- idues under the central sector scheme, “Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National Level”. The scheme monitors the pesticides residue in agricultural commodities and environment so that corrective measures can be taken, as required.The scheme involves monitor- ing and analysis of pesticides residues in agricultural commodities in different agro-ecological regions of the country to address the concerns for food safe- ty and impact of pesticides on India’s food and agricultural trade.22 labora- tories of different Department and Min- istries are part of this network. These laboratories are equipped with latest equipments and manpower to carry out residue related work.There are more than 29 private pesticides resi- due laboratories recognized by the Ag- riculture and Processed Food Products COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 42. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 41 Private sector lab, and private sector lab funded by GOI through grant in aid. These bio-control labs are engaged for multiplication, release and sale of dif- ferent bio-control agents against dif- ferent crop pests and weeds. A total 47,489 millions of bio-control agents have been released by CIPMCs since 1991-92. The bio-control agents are being released through inundative and inoculative methods . These releases were able to manage the pests like sugarcane pyrilla and sugarcane bor- ers, cotton bollworms, apple woolly aphid and San Jose scale, different lepidopteron pests of vegetable crops, rice etc. Different types of bio-control agents like insect parasitoids, insect predators, spiders, insect pathogens like NPV and bio-pesticides like an- tagonistic fungi such as Trichoderma viride and Trichoderma harzianum and entomo-pathogenic fungi like Beauver- ia bassiana and Metarhizium spp.are being produced in these bio-control- laboratories.The consumption of bio- pesticides is increasing every year. The annual consumption of bio-pesticides was 1,873 MT in 2007-08 which has increased to 8,110.35 MT in 2011-12 which indicates that bio-pesticides are effective and farmers are using them against different pests. EU’s ban on Indian mangoes shows a failure of India’s quarantine system. Do India’s quarantine services need an overhaul? The prohibition of EU on import of five fresh fruits &vegetables (Mango, Bitter Gourd, Colocasia, Snake Gourd and Brinjal) w.e.f May 2014 contrib- utes 0.26% and 0.29% of the global export whereas 9.32% and 8.55% of the EU export during 2011-2012 and 2012-13.India’s global export of mango is 63,441.27 MT(2011-2012) and 55,548.98 MT (2012-13) where- as EU share is only 4.82%(2011-12) and 7.0% (2012-13). India has export- ed 3,699.956 MT (2012-2013) and 4,884.487 MT (2013-14) mango to different EU countries by issuing 5,195 (2012-13) and 4,603 (2013-14) num- ber of Phytosanitary Certificates.Unit- ed Kingdom alone imports about 90% of total export of mangoes to EU coun- tries. India has exported 3,260.557 MT and 4,427.072 MT mangos to UK during the 2012-13 and 2013-14.Fruit fly in mango has been intercepted by EU in 35(2012), 37(2013) and only 04(2014) consignments whereas In- dia has exported 5,195 (2012-13) and 4,603 (2013-14) consignments of mango to different European countries. The comparative statement (January to May) on interceptions reported dur- ing 2012(101), 2013 (111) and 2014 (51) indicates a considerable decline in number of interceptions during cor- responding period.India is exporting mango with treatment to Australia (VHT), New Zealand, Japan(VHT) and USA (Irradiation). The treatment facili- ties have been approved by the import- ing NPPQs after audits.As a follow up action plan provided to EU-FVO mis- sion audit report during April 2013, in- spection and packaging of fresh fruits and vegetables meant for export to EU countries is being carried out at APE- DA recognized packed house w.e.f. 01.04.2014. Howisgovernmenteducatingfarmers regarding the proper use of crop protection chemicals? The farmers are being educated re- garding the proper use of crop protec- tion chemicals through Framers Field Schools (FFS) being conducted by 31 CIPMCs. This is a form of adult edu- cation, evolved from the concept that farmers learn optimally from field ob- servations and experimentation.FFSs are organized to help farmers tailor IPM practices to suit their needs. These schools are conducted separately for the Kharif and Rabi seasons. Each FSS lasts 14 weeks.So far up to 2013-14 total 15233 FFSs were conducted by CIPMCs in which 4,57,988 Farmers and 58,620 Agriculture Extension Of- ficers (AEOs) have been trained.The FFS are also run by different agen- cies of state Govt. through different schemes of DAC of Govt. of India. Besides the FFSs, short duration pro- gramme (2 days and 5 days) are also being implemented in which the farm- ers are being trained for the safe use of pesticides. A total of 701 two days programmes and 67 five days pro- gramme have been organized in which 26,040 and 2,680 have been trained respectively. Dept. of PPQS has devel- oped 77 IPM Package of Practices for agricultural and horticultural crops to educate agricultural extension officers and farmers on proper use of plant pro- tection chemicals. In these IPM pack- ages, major emphasis has been given on bio-control and chemical control has been recommended as a last resort based on Economic Threshold Level. What are your suggestions to improve the crop protection situation in India? For better implementation of IPM en- sure E-surveillance for effective pest monitoring and forecasting, Easy avail- ability of bio-control agents for farm- ers, Development of crop cycle system approach and National pest database and Safe management practices for vertebrate pests like, wild boar, blue bull, monkeys, porcupine etc. To man- age issues related to pesticides resi- dues measures such as Detection of pesticides residues above Maximum Residue Limit(MRL), Detection of residues of non-approved pesticides in agricultural produce and Detection of pesticides residues in export to avoid ban/prohibition has to be followed. Also major issue of pesticides like La- bel claim, Spurious/misbranded/coun- terfeit, Resistance development, MRL, Safe use of pesticides and Empty con- tainer management has to be looked into. Some of the emerging issues of Plant Quarantine are Integration with Customs (PQIS-EDI), Data base of Phytosanitary conditions of importing countries, Compilation of specimen PSCs from all trading partners, PQ publication for quarantine pest iden- tification, Effective alternate of MBR (Methyl Bromide), Non-compliances in export especially with respect to Wood Packaging Material, Bypassing of quar- antine system and Flouting of domes- tic quarantine. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 43. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201442 tion in overall implementation of the scheme at national level. Therefore, plant protection currently holds the key to redeeming much of the losses due to pests through convergence of stakeholders. Do the farmers in India follow the principles of Integrated Pest Management? Farmers in India do follow the Integrat- ed Pest Management (IPM) wherever they have been given proper techni- cal guidance and awareness about the judicious use of chemical pesticides viz., Astha (Maharashtra), Bambawad (UP), Jind (Haryana), Anand (Gujarat), Hooghly (WB), Gulbarga and Bidar (Karnataka), etc. However, our recent data indicates extreme lack of aware- ness about integrated pest manage- ment not only among farmers across the nation but also in the ranks of field functionaries. Availability of appropri- ate inputs of IPM also impedes follow- ing principles of the same. What are the steps taken by the government to popularize IPM? National Centre for Integrated Pest Management (NCIPM) was set up in VII Plan (1988) under the Indian Coun- cil of Agricultural Research. In the Na- tional Agricultural Policy announced by the Government of India in 2001, para 24 emphasizes IPM and use of biological control agents to minimize indiscriminate and injudicious use of chemical pesticides as a cardinal prin- ciple for crop protection. During more than 25 years of existence, NCIPM has achieved successes in validating and harmonizing IPM technologies in different crops. To facilitate populariz- ing IPM approach among farming com- munity under Central Sector Scheme “Promotion of Integrated Pest Man- agement” of Department of Agricul- ture and Cooperation, Government of India, information system for IPM has been created, which helps in efficient reporting and dissemination of infor- mation on Pests surveillance, rearing of host culture, production and release of biological control agents in the field How is the general scenario of plant protection in India? Plant protection is one of the key is- sues in the overall gamut of Indian agriculture. Crop yield losses in India due to pests range 18-30%, which in monetary terms is 0.9-1.4 lakh crore / trillion rupees or 15-23.3 billion US$. If these losses could be saved, India could meet the needs of 2020 even with the present levels of crop produc- tivity, keeping in view the stagnation in yields vis-á-vis impacts of climate change. In view of indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides (~58212 t per year), environmental safety vis-á-vis sustaining crop yields, threats to farm biosecurity and crop health in era of globalization, the situation has become rather challenging. Lack of knowledge / awareness about eco-friendly meth- ods of pest management apart from unavailability of inputs required for the same makes the job further difficult. However, efforts of researchers in crop protection have been able to make siz- able dent on reducing losses due to bi- otic stresses with use and up-scaling of eco-friendly technological packages, thereby improving crop productivity and livelihood of farming community. Successful implementation of IPM for papaya mealy bug / sugarcane woolly aphid alone have saved >Rupees 2.5 thousand crore (>4100 m US$) in two years for the Nation. There has been considerable headway in the area of technology development and its imple- mentation at field level – for instance the National Food Security Mission has a rich component of plant protec- and conservation of naturally occurring biological control agents for control of crop pests, transfer of innovative IPM skills/methods/ techniques to ex- tension workers and farmers through conduct of training and Farmers’ Field Schools in all states by CIPMCs of the Directorate of Plant Quarantine & Stor- age, Faridabad. DodiseaseforecastformapartofIPM? Yes. Forecast of diseases and insect- pests, together termed as pests form a very important component of IPM. Knowledge about the timing of start of infestation of these pests and their gradual progress in advance could en- able planning of need-based chemical pesticide schedule and other interven- tions for the season and region on the particular crop against the specific menace expected. This could be en- abled by development of region, crop and pest-specific prediction models to forewarn these menaces. Since these biotic menaces are weather- dependent, weather-based prediction models could be developed to enable management of these pests. Forecast models provide an alternative to calen- dar spray schedule to bring need-based precision, eg., instead of sprays at 7-14-day intervals to spray at precise time just when and where the pest is likely to appear or has just initiated to enable cut input costs. Thus, precision pest management may bring down number of sprays to provide economic and environmental benefits. Finally, the system of forecast should enable the farmers to take economically ac- ceptable action as an integral part of IPM package while growers should be capable and flexible enough to take due advantage of a pest forewarning system. A few systems have been de- veloped to forecast some pests in India viz., mustard aphid (http://www.drmr., late blight of potato (, grape pests ( weather_forecast_based_grape_adv. htm), etc., which clarify the immense potential in the technology and thus opens opportunities for the future. Dr C. Chattopadhyay, Director, National Centre for Integrated Pest Management (ICAR) COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 44. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 43 Why is there a palpable gap between the lab and land? Why don’t many researches make it to the farmers’ field? Implementation of Integrated Pest Management in India needs a unified strategy in terms of development and country-wide IPM programme, which ought to include improved planning, coordination, funding, communication, networking at the central level with a concrete policy by the Govt. of India for the same. Agriculture is a state subject. Central agencies put their best efforts to provide necessary help and technical backstopping to state agencies. Better coordination between state and central bodies can improve lab to land transfer of technologies. Due to different initiatives taken by the ICAR, the transfer of technology from research labs to farms has picked up and hopes to improve further in days to come. Can GM technology bring down the dependence on pesticides? Your comments. Yes, GM technology has tremendous potential in bringing down the depen- dence on chemical pesticides. Bt Cot- ton is a fit example for the same, where chemical pesticide load has reduced by almost 50% over non-Bt in last ~12 years. Thus, any effective GM technol- ogy is also an important component of IPM. How much can pest and disease resistant varieties protect farmers from massive losses? Resistant varieties form the corner stone as a very important component of any successful IPM package. They contribute stability and offer financial, physical and environmental advantage to IPM. Role of resistant cultivars need to be appreciated in light of the fact that for quite some time, India has not faced any acute epidemic / epizootic. What will be the future of crop protection sector? What strategies will top the list of crop protection measures? Although GoI has put IPM as part of its National Agricultural Policy, possi- bly there is need to undertake a spe- cific policy to push IPM by providing credits for greener pesticide molecules, streamlining label claim issues, simpli- fication of process of registration for biopesticides with strict and adequate quality check from Govt Departments, increased support to biopesticide in- dustry for scaling up of production as a matter of Govt. policy which shall also enable generation of employment for small / micro-industries at village level in line with concepts of model bio- village. This shall bring a shift in the chemical pesticide industry and trans- form them towards producing Biopesti- cides. KVKs, NGOs need to play a vital role in improving awareness levels of field functionaries and farmers in IPM apart from fast-tracking of crop protec- tion advisories. An Integrated Decision Support System for Crop Protection Dr. Pranjib Chakrabarty, Assistant Director General (Plant Protection & Biosafety), ICAR Services may be required to be devised centrally to monitor the pest dynam- ics through e-pest surveillance, anal- yse pest risks, provide pest forecasts along with mobile-based dissemination of advisories keeping in view prevail- ing weather and changes in climate. This would necessitate networking of all stake-holders so that they could contribute effectively in a cohesive manner. Philosophy of crop protection has also evolved over time from the post-Silent Spring (Rachel Carson) era to the modern day thoughts on inte- grated crop health management with a whole-farm approach. Coming days would possibly see a farmer getting a premium price for his ‘IPM-product’, which could contribute to reduction in rural poverty for equitable agriculture. What is the scope of plant protection industryinIndia? Plant protection is paramount to food security of the country. Plant protec- tion in India however needs revitalisa- tion. While synthetic insecticides have an upper hand, the bio-pesticides and botanicals are yet to reach the farming community on a larger scale. The use of pesticides in India nevertheless, is low compared to other countries and the usage of bio control agents is fur- ther low due to lack of knowledge / awareness, problems in production, shelf life, inadequate supply, qual- ity control etc. The production of bio agents and bio-pesticides in India at present is 5734 metric tonnes- barely sufficient to cover less than 2% area of the 328 million ha under cultiva- tion while the present requirement of quality bio pesticides is to the tune of 1,00,000 tonnes. Global awareness against use of synthetic pesticides and pesticide residues in food materials are a concern and may become inter- national trade barriers. Therefore the eco-friendly methods for crop protec- tion and bio control based IPM system are the need of the day. How can we counteract the problem of pesticideresidue? Highest contamination in food occurs due to abuse of pesticides in fields. Good Agricultural practices are key to contain the residues below MRL. ICAR has a network programme on PR with 16 centers all over the country. All these centres are NABL accredited and equipped with state of the art fa- cilities to monitor and detect Pesticide residues in food commodities and en- vironmental samples including soil and water. These centres are engaged in development of GAP on the food com- modities predominant in the regions where the centre is located and from adjoining areas. Besides following scientific method of crop production, various physical methods like washing to dislodge pesticide residues present COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 45. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201444 ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA Inter- national trade exhibition Hong Kong 3–5 September 2014 2014 9 3–5 Asia‘s Fresh Produce Hub SCS Agribusiness Consultants Pvt. Ltd. 651 Pace City-II Sector 37 122004 Gurgaon New Delhi Tel +91 (124) 434-4500 Fax +91 (124) 434-4501 together with on the surface of the produce. For residues present inside the matrix of the produce, safe waiting period and cooking would serve to degrade the molecules to non-toxic levels. Farmers, stake holders and officials involved in marketing of the produce must be ap- praised of the permissible residue lim- its for each commodity and the wait- ing periods before the beginning of the season, harvesting of the produce and before marketing for domestic as well as export. What is the current trend in crop protectionresearch? Currently plant protection is geared towards identification and use of bio pesticides, studying the bio-ecological factors affecting sustainability of bio agents, identification and develop- ment of stress resilient bio control strains, perfection of bio control based IPM system, GAP for sustainable agri- culture, discovery of green molecules, use of nano-formulations for targeted delivery of pesticides, Marker assisted selection and breeding for biotic stress tolerance (BBR Basmati rice), pest re- sistant transgenic crops (bollworm tol- erant field and vegetables crops) and novel approaches of pest management (Gene-therapy, RNai-mediated gene silencing etc mostly for virus disease resistance). Biological control has not been able to deliveronfarmers’fields.Why? Due to lack of knowledge farmers do not feel compelled to adopt non – in- secticidal methods. In addition, the in- herent limitations of bio control agents such as slow-kill, stage-specificity, de- pendency on the timing of application coupled with the yawning gap between supply and demand had contributed to the non-deliverance and cognisance of their potential. Nevertheless, they are very effective particularly in un- sprayed areas and in fruit crops where insecticidal applications proved futile. There are several success stories of biological control doing a commend- able job in the field of crop protection. Adoption of bio-intensive strategies on wider areas and on village basis and educating the farmers on their benefits forms key to success. What will be the future of crop protectionsectorinIndia? The crop protection sector in India in the years to come would greatly rely on the non –chemical strategies, with greater reliance on bio-rational pesti- cides, biocontrol agents, biopesticides and botanicals, Pheromones (mating disruption, auto confusion), Microbial formulations (EPNs, antagonistic fungi etc.,) and hormones for disrupting the physiology and symbiont primed in- secticides that would alter the repro- duction of the insect pests would be in greater demand and top the crop protection measures. COVER FEATURE Crop Protection
  • 46. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 45
  • 47. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201446 MulkanoorCooperative BuildingUpFarmer’sSocio-EconomicCapability C ooperative societies in India played an impor- tant role in development of agriculture, banking, credit, agro storage, pro- cessing, marketing, dairy, fishing and housing sectors. Their role in poverty alleviation, food security and employ- ment generation has been well estab- lished. Cooperatives have delivered goods and services in areas where both public and private sectors have failed. Mulkanoor Cooperative Ru- ral Bank and Marketing Society Ltd. (MCRBMS) in Telangana is a model that has demonstrated the potential cooperative holds in improving the lives of farmers. The society was established with 375 members from 14 villages within a radius of 7 km in 1956. Shri A. K. Vishwanath Reddy, the founder pres- ident, at the age of 30 collected a total share capital of Rs. 2300. The main objective of society was to en- sure that members of the cooperative become optimal agricultural produc- ers receiving fair financial returns for their production and ensure that oth- ers dependent on agriculture would find enough work within the villages, to leave the area, only by choice and not in distress. Today the Mulkanoor cooperative society has 7462 mem- bers, 114 employees with a working themselves. The cooperative has achieved a vertical integration in the value chain from producer to the con- sumer and has achieved the objective of eliminating middlemen. But few people know that Mulka- noor has one of the largest paddy seed growing and marketing operations in the state. It consistently places the second biggest request for paddy parent seeds to the state’s Acharya N G Ranga Agriculture University (af- ter the state’s seed development cor- poration). Parent seed is multiplied into foundation and then to truthful seed in selected progressive farmers’ field under the supervision of society agriculture officers. It has two seed- processing plants with a capacity to process 100 tonnes of paddy seeds in one day; at peak time. It produc- es about 12000 tonnes to 15000 tonnes of truthful paddy seeds that are sold in surrounding districts. The annual turnover of the soci- ety is Rs. 206 crores and the services of the society includes Financial ser- vices, Input supply services, Value addition and Marketing Services, Consumer services, Insurance ser- vices and Welfare services. Financial service: Cooperative mem- bers have access to loans for raising crops, deepening of wells, installa- COOPERATIVES capital of Rs. 18340 lakhs. The institution is practicing the best cooperative values to build up farmer’s socio-economic capability. It believes and practices the belief that a successful cooperative must be good in adherence to coopera- tive principles – namely democratic governance and accountability to membership and at the same time, it must be equally good in its business – practices and performance. The MCRBMS Multipurpose Co- operative started by disbursing short term loans for raising crops. The co- operative gradually expanded its ac- tivities to cover almost all the needs required by a farmer. Through coop- erative, Vishwanatha Reddy brought about a sea change in the villages covered by the cooperative. Agricul- ture production has increased more than five times by converting most of the fallow lands into cultivatable lands. Ninety per cent of the cropped area for paddy and maize came un- der hybrid seeds and farmers started using new agricultural methods. He took a set of backward villages un- der the fold of the cooperative and brought about a transformation in these villages. The significant fea- ture of his efforts is that this change has not been achieved by an external agency or person but by the people P.V. Narashimha Rao Addressing the society meetingFormer vice President Krishna Kanth Going through society activitiesManager of the year award to Sri A.K.Vishwanatha Reddy
  • 48. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 47 tion of pump sets, laying pipe lines. orchards, purchase of tractors, har- vesters, power tillers, sprinklers, drip irrigation, solar lamps, and encourag- ing the farmers to go for allied ac- tivities such as dairy, sheep, poultry, sericulture for additional regular in- come, Whenever possible and neces- sary, loans are given in kind and in cash. The cooperative keeps essen- tial/needed materials ready in stock to meet the supply required by the members when loan is sanctioned to purchase the items. Input supply services: Cooperative supplies seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, sprayers, pump sets, pipes, seed- lings, diesel and any other quality input that a large enough number of members may need to undertake production. In addition to above sup- plies, the cooperative also hires sea- sonally used agricultural machinery for the use of members, if they are expensive. Extension services: The society has a farmer’s information center, to train and equip the farmers with latest information and scientific technol- ogy. It has appointed agricultural of- ficers to give advice on crop and pest management. With a large number of co-operators becoming interested in studying the cooperative and in replicating this success story in their own areas, MCRBMS has developed a small training orientation center for the use of co-operators. Marketing services: The significant increase in financial returns can be expected from members only by pro- curement, processing, value addition and efficient marketing of agricul- ture produce. The cooperative rural bank purchases the paddy and cot- ton produced by its members, stores, processes and sells it in the market. Members make profitable savings in time, weighing, grading and trans- port. The members will be paid bo- nus amount on the prevailing market price on repaying their loans with paddy, cotton and paddy seed. The cooperative owns a two tonnes raw rice mill plant and a four tonnes modernized Parboiled rice mill plant, equipped with Japanese Sat- ake technology and has more than 37,000 mt of storage space. Soci- ety has also added a cotton ginning plant with 35 gins and bale pressing unit to provide more services to its members. Value adding activities of both input supply and marketing divi- sions are mainstay of the cooperative and members. Apart from the direct financial benefits to members, these activities have also helped create sig- nificant reserves for the cooperative. Welfare Services: The Cooperative has contributed a lot to the welfare of the people of 14 villages in general and cooperative members in particu- lar. It has helped in organizing family planning camps, eye camps and vet- erinary camps in all 14 villages and welfare measures are implemented using its own fund such as funeral expenses to member/spouse, mem- ber welfare scheme and professional degree scholarships to member chil- dren. Insurance Services: The society has crop loan insurance policy cover- ing all the members. Each deceased member’s family receives the sum equal to the crop loan obtained by the deceased. The society also has member individual life insurance policies on the dividend/interest on shares and thrift deposits and gen- eral insurance of livestock viz. cows, buffaloes, sheep and the agricultural machinery viz. tractors, harvesters and electric motors etc. TheCooperativefinancialresourc- es mainly come from its members by way of shares & deposits, borrow- ings from State Bank of Hyderabad and National Cooperative Develop- ment Corporation. The cooperative believes that investment by members in the cooperative is one of the major reasons for the cooperative to remain sensitive to their needs making it highly accountable to them. Coopera- tive has taken care to ensure that it has created surpluses each year and add a 15% dividend to its members on their share capital to protect its members’ capital against inflation. The activities of the society have increased over the years. During the tenure of the present president, Sri A. Praveen Reddy, turnover of the society increased 17 times, as com- pared to his assumption in the year 1987. Today the Mulkanoor coop- erative society has 7462 members, 114 employees with Rs. 18340 lakhs of working capital. He promot- ed a women cooperative diary with membership base of 20,000 in 110 villages. He also promoted AKVR Ru- ral development society in the year 2000 and established junior and de- gree colleges and 3 watershed pro- grammes with NABARD assistance. He encouraged men and women thrift saving cooperatives. He presented key note address on “success story of mulkanoor cooperative rural bank & marketing society ltd. for sustain- able agriculture” in world agriculture forum 2013 with the theme “Reshap- ing agriculture for sustainable future focus on small farmers” Mulkanoor cooperative soci- ety has revolutionized the life of its members. In the last decade, farm- ers’ land market value has increased by 10 times. The living standards of member farmers have improved due to hassle free income sources. Today the member farmers could construct house, educate their children and meet their personal expenses. Over the last decade, about 3000 mem- ber’s children were able to pursue medical, engineering education and professional courses. Former Prime Minister of India Shri. P. V. Narsimha Rao was mem- ber and vice president of the society in the first governing body. Former Vice President of India, Shri Krishna- kant, Governor of Andhra Pradesh, ESL Narasimhan, former chief minis- ters of AP and many other dignitaries visited the society and appraised its activities. Thus, Mulkanoor cooperative so- ciety is a role model for the country and there is need of sincere efforts to strengthen the cooperative societ- ies in India on the same line, if we are concerned to meet the demand of food, fodder, shelter and employ- ment to our increasing population. COOPERATIVES
  • 49. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201448 Gujarathasmanagedtousherinitsowngreenrevolutionbymovingfromtraditionalfarmingtovalueaddi- tioncreatingopportunitiesinhi-techagriculture,food&agroprocessing,dairyandotheragricultureactivi- ties. Gujarat’s GSDP from agriculture is 13 per cent, which is considerably higher than industrialized states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. In the last decade, Gujarat has doubled agriculture GDP contribution to national agriculture GDOP, and its contribution to wheat and cotton production has improved over the past few years. These numbers are the result of a slew of reforms that spanned across Sh. Narendra Modi’s reign as Chief Minister. Gujarat’s success in drought proofing many of its arid lands through check dams, water harvesting techniques and micro irrigation is an example to be followed. In an interview with Agriculture Today, Mr. Raj Kumar, Principal Secretary (Agriculture), Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Gujarat, elaborateonthedevelopmentofstate’sagricultureandhowIndiacanlearnfromGujarat’ssuccess. What are the lessons India can learn from Gujarat’s success in agriculture? Gujarat has had spectacular growth in agriculture sec- tor with inclusive vision and strategies adopted for transforming challenges into opportunities which have brought growth and prosperity among agrarian com- munity. Systematic and planned efforts like Krushi Ma- hotsav, Soil Health Cards, Water harvesting & Water conservation, assured power supply etc. have helped realize the vision of Greener Gujarat. l Krushi Mahotsav : It is a large scale extension cam- paign held every year before the onset of monsoon. This results in systematic crop planning based on avail- able resources while providing scientific solutions to the farmers’ problems by scientific community at their door step. Also supply of required input & timely schematic supports are extended to the beneficiaries. Uniqueness of the Krushi Mahotsav is the involvement of progres- sive farmers in Agriculture extension which is also the best example of horizontal extension. l Soil health management : Soil, the inheritable natural resource needs special attention to sustain its produc- tivity over generations. Gujarat has launched soil health card program since last 10 years. Every farmer has been covered so far. This program has created aware- ness about efficient utilization of fertilizers. Outsourcing based model of soil testing work to science colleges has expedited the programme implementation and also improved utilization of college resources in the vacation time while providing much needed practical experience to the students. l Water harvesting & Water conservation : Gujarat has taken up water harvesting & water conservation as a public campaign. With the involvement of rural com- munity, NGOs and Government machinery, lakhs of water harvesting structures have been created which resulted in rise in ground water table in water scarce areas like Saurashtra, Kachchh & North Gujarat. This massive campaign acts as protective measure against water stress. Lessons from Gujarat l Assured farm power availability as per preannounced schedule (Jyotir Gram Scheme), setting up of a special purpose vehicle for micro irrigation i.e. Gujarat Green Revolution Company (GGRC), planned implementation of Agricultural schemes, human resource development, establishment of new agriculture educational institutes, special emphasis on Dairy development etc. have largely contributed to Gujarat’s success in agriculture. When Narendra Modiji forms the government in the center, what reforms do you expect in the agriculture sector in India? Under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji, we are sure that his experiences in steering spectacular growth of agriculture sector in Guja- rat would have deep impact on nation’s agriculture policy in the times to come. Though, India is a large country with varied agro-climatic zones and cropping patterns, optimum utilization of available water resources with promotion of micro irrigation, water harvesting, soil and water conservation, innovative use of technology in ex- tension, improvement in storage, processing, value addi- tion and marketing may be a few other important areas for policy intervention at the national level. Inspite of the water stress conditions existing in Gujarat, thestatemanagedtoimproveproductivityofmanycrops. How did Gujarat achieve this feat? Gujarat has made water harvesting and water conserva- tion a public campaign for more than a decade. Gov- ernment’s proactive and vigorous efforts combined with farmers’ enterprise have led to improvements in produc- tivity across crops. Construction of a very large number of Farm ponds, soil & water conservation works, promo- tion of micro irrigation, assured supply of farm electrici- ty, spread of irrigation network under Sardar Sarovar and Sujalam Sufalam projects etc. have created right environ- ment for tackling water stress conditions and improving productivity. interview
  • 50. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 49 Indiaisatthevergeofanotherdroughtandisplanning a contingency plan. What are your suggestions to drought proof the country? As we all are in process to mitigate possible El Niño effect and for that, some urgent steps need to taken up such as; l Public awareness program regarding contingency situation and mitigation strategy/planning. l Need to ensure supply of short duration/ early ma- turing variety of seeds. l Ensure fodder availability by increasing fodder culti- vation in areas with assured irrigation. l Increase water use efficiency of available irrigation water by promoting micro irrigation. Repairing/Lining of irrigation canal to reduce the seepage losses; in- volvement of users in canal water distribution etc. What is your take on Bt cotton and related technology? The success of Bt cotton is proven and Gujarat is one of the best exam- ples. Earlier, cotton occupied about one third of the crop area in state. After introduction of Bt cotton, pro- duction and productivity has tripled and cotton output crossed one bil- lion bales which is a record growth for a single crop. Cotton growth has boosted the rural economy of Gu- jarat during last decade. Cotton re- search history of Gujarat is more than a century old, and Gujarat has given first cotton hybrid to the world. No wonder, Gujarat farmers are best cotton seed pro- ducers as well. About 5 million cotton seed packets are being produced in Gujarat. This has increased in- come of progressive farmers of even the small and marginal category besides providing large scale em- ployment in rural area. Gujarat State Seeds Corpo- ration has developed two public Bt cotton varieties in collaboration with Navsari Agriculture University. These varieties are very popular and very soon two more varieties of Bt cotton will be available to the farmers. Such a collaborative approach would help GSSC provide Bt cotton seeds at affordable price to the farmers. Bt technology is well established how- ever its acceptance in food crops is still awaited. In any case, we must look forward for other effective genes from inter or intra plant species for developing pest resistant varieties. How much credit does Bt cotton get for Gujarat’s success in cotton? About 30 lakhs hectare area is under cotton cultiva- tion which is around one third of Kharif cultivation area. Out of this around 85% area is under cultivation of Bt cotton. Gujarat contributes around one third of the country’s cotton production and this itself reveals the strong base of cotton in Gujarat. Gujarat cotton crop area was decreased to lowest level between 1987 – 1988 (7.62 lakh hectare) due to heavy infestation of bollworm pest. But after in- troduction of Bt cotton technology it has reached around 25 – 30 lakhes hectare. Is there any plans regarding development of climate resilient seeds in Gujarat? Plants are affected by number of biotic and abiotic factors which should be addressed in proper way. State Agriculture Universities of Gujarat are working to address the issues of climate change including de- velopment of climate resilient varieties. How is the seed replacement rate in Gujarat? Gujarat is achieving desired seed replacement rate in almost all crops expect Groundnut. (SRR for Paddy 38, Millets 100, Pulses 35 – 40, Castor, Sesame, Hybrid Cotton – 100, Wheat 34). In case of Ground- nut SRR is 10 – 15, which is lower due to higher seed rate (150 Kg. / hectare), lower seed multiplication ratio (1:8) and large crop area (17 lakh hectare). However, state is do- ing its best to achieve desired SRR for groundnut by strengthening its seed production chain and incen- tivizing seed producing farmers by special schemes. The state aims to produce seeds with certifica- tion standard better than prescribed standards. To achieve this aim, Gujarat has launched special seed production projects under RKVY. In these projects, farmers producing seeds with higher germination/ge- netics purity standards would be provided additional incentives. How is the acceptance of hybrid technology in Gujarat? In crops like Castor, Maize, Cotton, Bajra and Veg- etables, almost all cultivated area has been covered under the hybrid seed varieties. The mindset of farm- ers is towards hybrid seeds and they are early adopt- ers of new technology which is evident by Bt cotton story. What are the future priorities of Gujarat in agriculture? l To emerge as seed hub of India. l Large warehousing chain for seed, fertilizer and agricultural commodity. l Improvement in marketing of agriculture produce l Adoption of Micro irrigation l Soil health management. l Improvements in productivity l Promotion of protected cultivation. l iKisan Portal ( i.e. “One stop Shop for the farmers of Gujarat”) has been developed as a single point interface for all the services, information, advisory related to the farmers. interview
  • 51. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201450 NationalRoundTable on AgricultureAgendafortheNewGovernment report A griculture, India’s largest em- ployer is undoubtedly the engine of India’s economic growth and so it comes as no surprise when the BJP decided to give a major thrust to agriculture led growth of Indian economy in its Mani- festo. The Modi Government is all set to unleash the potential of Indian ag- riculture for achieving its broad goals of creating 100 million jobs, achiev- ing double digit economic growth and positioning Brand India globally. There are however, policy issues con- cerning agriculture such as land and market reforms, capital investment, infrastructural development, regula- tions, subsidies, international trade, taxation, credit, insurance, research, extension, pricing, farm power, post harvest, value addition, HR and entre- preneurship development etc. and sec- tor specific issues such as irrigation, farm mechanisation, seeds & biotech, soil health, crop protection, horticul- ture, livestock etc., which need to be addressed to make Indian agriculture profitable, achieve five per cent plus growth, unlock its potential to be the growth driver of Indian economy and positioning Indian food and agriculture globally. To discuss the Agriculture agenda for the new government, Agriculture Today organized a round table meeting in New Delhi on June 3, 2014 to seek suggestions from the top agriculture experts, eminent scientists, corporate, policy makers, farmers, leaders and heads of various institutions. Welcoming the guests, Dr MJ Khan, Chief Editor, Agriculture Today and BJP National Executive Member- said that Agriculture tops the agenda of the Government of Shri Narendra Modi for delivering on its poll prom- ises. He added that Prime Minister Modi, during the election campaign, had consistently raised farmers’ issues and sought new deal to the farm sec- tor to unlock its potential for creating jobs and contributing to the economy.
  • 52. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 51 Dr. Khan in his welcome address listed out the broad agenda in agriculture and the party manifesto; and reiterated the commitment of the new Government to give major thrust to agriculture. World renowned agriculture sci- entist and pioneer of India’s Green Revolution, Prof MS Swaminathan said that income security for farm- ers, conserving water and soil health should be on top of the agenda of the new government. He sought for greater investment in farm sector to- wards increasing the contribution of small holders. Reducing drudgery of farm women and ensuring remunera- tive price to farm produce is important for making Indian farms profitable and farmers globally competitive. He also elaborated on the farm Agenda that he discussed with the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The priorities listed out in the BJP election manifesto are protecting ecological resources, im- proving soil organic matter, promot- ing nutritionally sensitive agriculture, production of pulses, promotion of family farming, income and water se- curity among others. Prof. Swamina- than also urged the proposal to set up 60,000 pulses villages needs to be im- plemented at the earliest. He also sug- gested sea water farming in coastal regions of the country. He emphasised on better post harvest management, efficient market linkages, adoption of latest production technologies and modern grain storage system starting from farm level rural godowns to the modern silos. For promoting women in farming, he emphasised on Central Agriculture Development Funds for women farmers. Prof. Swaminathan added that government should rename the Agriculture Ministry as ‘Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare’. Prof. R.B Singh, Chancellor, Central Agriculture University suggested hunger and poverty reduction to be high on the gov- ernment agenda. He added that new gov- ernment must look at inequalities and create a social protection platform for farmers. He pointed out that agriculture involves very high risk for the farmers and thus a national risk fund and uni- versal insurance for farmers must get very high priority.He suggested new government to give more emphasis on research and education sector, and it should be given a priority investment of at least 1 per cent of the national GDP, which is presently 0.5 per cent. He stressed on the need for change in the total investment policy of the government, and implementation of monitoring, evaluation and account- ability system for ensuring quality in- vestments in the right direction. Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, Joint Sec- retary - Agriculture, Government of India emphasised the role and importance of private sector in agri- culture. He said that farmers should not be made depen- dent on government subsidies, rather near farm jobs should be created with private investments. He stressed on the need for high value agriculture and more optimum utilization of land, water and fertilizers. Cooperatives can play significant role in reaching out to the unreached and therefore cooperative institutions should be strengthened. We should take fresh look to our stra- tegic agriculture investment, said Mr. Chopra. He suggested that India has potential to help Africa to become self sufficient in food and thus India’s ag- riculture strength should be leveraged to help achieve global food security. Dr. A. K. Srivas- tava, Director, NDRI pointed out the short- age of male germ- plasm, shortage of vaccines and the need for conservation of climate resilient indig- enous breeds of cattle and buffaloes to bring about a second white revolu- tion. He raised concernson on losing germplasm of the best breed of Mur- rah buffalo and suggested govern- ment to initiate project to buy back male Murrah calf from the farmers. He pointed out that only 37% of the milk produced is processed and that the priority of the government should be to enhance collection of milk from the farmers’door and infrastructure development for better procurement of milk. Dr. Shrivastava asserted that farmers’ incomes can be doubled only by doubling efforts on the milk produc- tion and its efficient processing and marketing. Dr. K.L. Chadha, President, Horticulture Society of India shared his views on strength- ening horticulture pro- duction in the country. He stressed on the need for developing wasteland into horticultural land and report
  • 53. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201452 promoting peri-urban horticulture cul- tivation. He indicated that protected cultivation has not received much at- tention in India as in other countries like Spain, Israel, Netherlands etc. While highlighting the need for quality planting material to the farmers, he de- manded present government to clear the seed bill. He emphasised on im- proving the post management practic- es and suggested focus towards stor- age structures, multi crop storage and ripening chambers. He emphasised the need for creating National Board for the Management of Potatoes and On- ions and for regulating their produce, export and pricing. He added that the budget allocated for horticulture is inadequate considering 250 million tonnes of production and the need for promoting trade and technology. Dr. Gurbachan Singh, Chairman, Agriculture Scientist Recruitment Board emphasised on giving highest priority to agri- culture education and extension. Consider- ing the importance of basic science in agriculture development, he sug- gested SAUs to have entrance exams for basic science students. Stating the poor status of agriculture education, he pointed out that only 15-20% of the students are able to qualify NET examination for agri research services and also the existence of high regional imbalance in the human resource de- velopment. He added that to improve the present status government needs to take a decision to open agriculture colleges in the general universities, as in US. He recommended multi-enter- prise agriculture where even a small farmer can earn income from various combined activities and also suggest- ed that government should invest in infrastructure development instead of distributing subsidies to farmers. Sh. KB Chowd- hary, President, Bharti- ya Krishak Samaj said research should be as per the need of coun- try’s agriculture com- munity. He said that India needs farmer centric model based on natural re- source management and with greater involvement of farmers’ organisations and field functionaries. He advocated the implementation of National Farm- ers Commission report as it is pend- ing since last seven years and linking of crop insurance to farmer’s income. Dr. Chowdhary cautioned on the need to enhance safeguards against GM seeds, as the lobbies are active in the new Government too. Sh. R.G. Agrawal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group highlighted the fact that about Rs. ninety thousand crore worth crops are wast- ed because of disease and pest, as per the year 2002 report of the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers. He suggested the involvement of private sector for the success of the plant protection programmes. Mr. Agrawal empha- sised on the need for giving training to all the 3 lakh plus agri input dealers in the country to make them future ex- tension officers. Dr. Swapan Dat- ta, DDG, ICAR said that agriculture needs to be connected to marketing and it can come from real time agriculture growth. Our SAUs needs to be more connected to farmers and rural youths for them to work on practi- cal issues and deliver solutions to the farmers. He suggested that agriculture universities be directly connected to educating farmers on modern agricul- tural practices. He highlighted the fact that North eastern zone is neglected, and its huge potential and resources required to be tapped for accelerating growth in agriculture. He stressed on the need for early introduction of Seed bill and BRAI bill in the parliament and their implementation for the better- ment of agriculture community. Dr. J.S. Sandhu, Agriculture Commis- sioner, Government of India talked about the need to expand irrigat- ed area which is pres- ently only 45 per cent. He said micro irrigation along with the nutrient application can be highly efficient and priority should be given to empower farmers with micro irrigation. He also mentioned the importance of precision farming and conservation agriculture for sustainability. He raised concerns on the problems of stray animals in the fields such as blue-bull which are responsible for heavy losses especially pulses. Dr. Sandhu emphasised that regional cooperation among SAARC countries is important for better shar- ing of germplasm and varieties and of course promoting trade and technol- ogy. Mr. Alok Sinha, Chairman - MW Corp and former Chairman FCI, said Food Corporation of India is procur- ing about one third of wheat and rice report
  • 54. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 53 output and suggested for unbundling FCI into three different corpo- rations for Storage, Procurement and Dis- tribution for the better management of grains. He expressed concern on the stagnation in food grain output and declining per capita availability of grains. He stressed on the need for reviving the natural rain fed areas as two thirds of the cultivable area is un- der the rainfed regions and coincides with red corridor. Mr. Sinha suggested modernisation of agriculture and effi- cient agriculture marketing. Mr. Allan Mustard, Minister-Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Embassy shared his Russian experience and Soviet Union grain trade and emphasised on the need for priva- tization of food grains. He recommended repealing APMC Act and allowing farmers to market their produce to anyone and trade freely in the market for best price realisa- tion. From the experience of his own country he suggested to denationalize grain market, privatize warehousing and suggested cash transfer instead of Public Distribution System because of the poor quality of the food grains distributed. Dr. Suman Sahai, Chairperson, Gene Campaign suggested to restructure food management system in the country and pro- cure food from within the 50 Km radius to reduce procurement costs and enable local farmers to sell their products at fair prices. She recommended diver- sification in the crop production sys- tem to support the food demand and also emphasised about rainfed agriculture and the problem of climate change. Dr. Julian Parr, Director: Asia, Inter- national Potato Centre (CIP) saidthat for the continuous agriculture growth there is a need for continuous green revolution and investments at all levels. For the sustainability of agriculture produc- tion, conservation of natural resources and adoption of new technologies is important. He brought into picture im- portance of quality storage structures to reduce post-harvest losses and also free marketing of produce for better price realisation to farmers. Mr. Pratap Narayan, former DG, Fertiliser Association of India said that there is need to formulate conducive policies re- lated to fertilizers sub- sidies, imports, gas availability and pricing etc in order to attract investments in this sector and also making fertilisers available to the farmers on time. While mentioning the failures of the nutrient based subsidy, he suggested for rationalizing the NPK pricing for maintaining NPK ratio in the soil. He emphasised upon the need for investment in application technol- ogy and new product development in fertilizer industry. Mr. Narayan drew parallels between China and India and linked the high per unit yields in China primarily to the high usage of fertiliser nutrients. Mr. MJ Saxena, MD, Ayurvet limited highlighted the issue of inflation and sug- gested ban on the ex- port of oil cakes for reducing the price of milk. He emphasised on the need for reviving soil humus for food, feed and fertilizer security, and recommended application of hydro- ponic system to solve the problems of fodder. Mr. Saxena asserted that the new Government must promote inno- vations in agriculture to bring the lat- est technologies and practices in farm- ing for achieving food production from diminishing land acreage. Mr Vijay Sardana, Head - Food Security Initiatives & Agribusinesses , United Phosphorus Limited suggested that the new Government should for- mulate policies for the development of wastelands and he called upon the MPs and MLAs to en- sure proper land utili- zation of their respec- tive areas. To reduce the post-harvest man- agement and to main- tain the quality of the products, he recom- mended warehouses to meet WDRA guidelines. He emphasised on the need for Agriculture technology policy in the country and need for agriculture technology royalty policy to get best of technologies at affordable prices. Dr. Rajaram Tri- pathi, Chairman, Federation of Herbal and Medicinal Plants Growers talked about non viability of farm- ing and losses of farm- ers. He stressed the need for promotion of organic farm- ing and its importance to realize profit for the farmers. Towards solving the twin problems of tackling Naxalism and profitable farming in red corridor areas, he suggested on the large scale promotion of medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation, processing and trade, citing his own example of high success in Bastar region of Chhatis- garh. Dr. Dinesh, Chief Executive, National Cooperative Union of India highlighted the importance of coop- eratives in agriculture and demanded Income Tax and Service Tax exemptions for the cooperative societies. He stressed on the need for creating enabling en- vironment through appropriate legisla- tion for autonomous functioning and growth of cooperative societies and amendment of 97th Constitutional Amendment Act. He added that gov- ernment should provide budgetary sup- port and other non-financial incentives through National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) for undertaking Educa- tion and Training for all the stakehold- ers particularly members who are also owners of these organisations. Mr. Raju Kapoor, Lead-Corporate Affairs, Dow Agrosciences stressed on the need for progressive regulatory re- report
  • 55. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201454 gime for enabling tech- nology commerciali- sation. He suggested for creation of Seeds valleys for integrated seed production, pro- cessing and trade, as presently we are de- pendent on one or two states for seed production. Mr. Kapoor also highlight- ed the importance of seeds in power- ing the growth in agriculture. He said future challenges in agriculture will be largely met by the specific traits that biotechnology will be able to introduce in seeds, therefore a proactive biotech policy approach is must. Dr. Vibha Dha- wan, Deputy Director, Borlaug Institute for South Asiasaid pub- lic private partnership (PPP) is needed for infrastructure devel- opment in agriculture. The state of agriculture infrastructure in India in processing, marketing or storage is far from being satisfactory to meet the challenges in agriculture. She emphasised on the importance of conservation agriculture and sub- soil irrigation for effective conserva- tion of soil moisture. She suggested promoting small Farm Mechanization as majority of the farmers have small land holding. Ms. Sumana Sarkar, Head – Agri- business, EXIM Bank of India stressed on the need for transpar- ent mechanism to tap the huge potential in food and agri exports. She expressed concerns on the un- availability of authentic database in agriculture and in agro-food exports, which is affecting out export planning and strategies. She also recommend- ed that extension services should be made mandatory for the agriculture students and suggested for replication of small farm mechanisation model of Bangladesh and Vietnam in India, and development of two wheeler tractor for the small farms. Mr. Atanu Purkay- astha, Joint Secretary - Seeds, Government of Indiasaid that heavy dependence of people on agriculture as the source of livelihood and increasing popula- tion pressure has re- sulted in the fragmentation of the land and diminishing land holding sizes, and consequently, reduction in per capita income from farming.He suggested the need to develop scale-neutral farming systems and technologies for the best results, as a vast majority of our farmers are small and marginal. The new government needs to build a long term agenda and comprehensive programme to withdraw population from farming and this can be done by providing them with alternate employ- ment resources, proper education and vocational training, suggested Mr. Pur- kayastha. Concluding the session, Prof. Abhijit Sen, Former Member, Planning Commission highlighted the fact that the cost of pro- duction is rising very sharply due to increas- ing labour cost and diminishing farm sizes, therefore it is necessary to bring economies of scale to small farm units. He stressed on the importance of Science and technology in increas- ing agricultural production and sug- gested converting agriculture universi- ties into national universities to get ba- sic science students into that. Talking about various policies and loopholes, he mentioned the failure of Nutrient based subsidy to achieve its goal. Prof Sen emphasised that Agriculture is a state subject and needs decentralized decision making powers from Centre to state governments. report
  • 56. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 55 report MajorPolicyRecommendations 1. Creating National Farmers Welfare Commission on the pattern and with the status of Planning Commission, and bringing under it the bodies like Commission on Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP) and Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). 2. Creating Foreign Agriculture Ser- vice cadre to appoint Agriculture Trade Counsellors in all the major countries on the pattern of US, Israel, Netherlands as to give major thrust to positioning Indian food and agriculture internationally and making advantage of the global opportunities post WTO. 3. Preparing separate Budget for Ag- riculture on the pattern of Railways Budget. With approximately 10 crore people travel with railways, there is separate Railways Budget, then why not for agriculture, where 80 crore farmers depend for their livelihood. 4. Bringing Agriculture under the concurrent list of the Constitution for better central planning, as the busi- ness of food and agriculture is global- izing and role of central Government is increasing in making laws and poli- cies. 5. Developing Farmers Income Insur- ance Scheme. The partial success of crop insurance scheme has not been able to safeguard farmers’ income. Therefore a minimum income based on his land holding and other factors should be guaranteed to the farmers. BJP has committed to bring about legislation and launch income insur- ance scheme in their manifesto. 6. Launching two national agriculture channels in Hindi and English and one each in all regional languages. In a country like India where 65% people are dependent on agriculture, actual user. 11. Creating enabling environment through appropriate legislation for au- tonomous functioning and growth of cooperative societies. Government may expedite 97th Constitutional Amendment Act and amendment of Multi State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002, so that all the State gov- ernments may harmonise their Co- operative Acts, on the lines of 97th Constitutional Amendment. Agri-inputs and Productivity 12. In order to take advantage of a bouquet of technology traits that are available to us, India must first have a vision of the crops and the GM traits that can play an important role in its pursuit of food security. This list must be commonly aligned between the Centre and the States. Such a list can be published by the Government, which can act as a ref- erence document for the industry and the stakeholders to understand the direction in which the policy support will be provided for the development of seed and biotech industry in the country. 13. Passing the BRAI bill in the Parlia- ment. Given the role of agricultural biotechnology in increasing produc- tivity and food security which are key objectives of the Ministry of Agricul- ture, attention need to be given to ensure the passage of BRAI bill in the Parliament, with any required amend- ments as seen necessary. Speed is important as the current regulatory system, distributed among three Min- istries, is proving to be a very difficult one for a smooth functioning of the regulatory process. we have close to 1000 channels, but none for agriculture. Today in the in- creasingly competitive and globalised market we must empower farmers and stake-holders with knowledge. 7. Implementation of National Farm- ers Commission report as it is pend- ing since last seven years. Enlarging the ambit of CACP to cover dairy and few horticultural crops, rubber, spic- es and tea etc., and Cost plus 50% formula as recommended by Swa- minathan report should be the basis of MSP fixation. MSP must be an- nounced much before sowing of the crops to help farmers plan his crop production. 8. Splitting FCI into three different corporations for Procurement, Stor- age and Distribution/trade for the better management of food grains and making it more efficient and a profitable body. 9. Introducing Agriculture technol- ogy policy and agriculture technology royalty policy to get best of technol- ogies and inputs at affordable price. Compulsory licensing of technologies on a formula based royalty policy can also be examined, as in the years to come, there will be increased flow of new technologies and unchecked pricing may deprive large section of the society of these technologies. 10. Review of current scenario of farm credit disbursement system. All financial benefits; mainly the subsi- dies in different forms, should be pro- vided and transferred directly to farm- ers account through e-governance through which tracking of farmers’ application, status and approval of all schemes is available online. Distribu- tion of farm subsidies should have proper audit to ensure its delivery to
  • 57. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201456 report 14. Rationalizing the NPK pricing for maintaining NPK ratio in the soil. Fer- tilizer Subsidy to be rationalized and better application technologies to improve efficiency and reduce fertil- izer subsidy by Rs. 25,000 – 30,000 crores annually. 15. Developing and promoting effi- cient equipment and tools and small engine driven tractors to address small farm requirements adequately. Custom hiring facility in farm mecha- nisation should be given high focus. 16. Promoting scientific agriculture micro-irrigation on a very large scale. Micro irrigation along with the nutri- ent application can be highly efficient and priority should be given to em- power farmers with micro irrigation. Advanced concept of Precision Ag- riculture need to be promoted on a large scale, emulating the success of TN Precision Farming Project. 17. Improving agricultural productiv- ity in rainfed regions of India which constitutes more than 50% of the country‘s arable land. Besides inter- linking rivers and constructing dams, watershed management, construct- ing check dams and farm ponds should be taken up in a mission mode for providing life saving irrigation for the crops. Marketing andValue Addition 18. Revision of the APMC Act and monitoring its implementation in the states. Need to amend APMC act of the states to encourage competitive marketing environment. Direct mar- keting and contract farming should be made easy for the farmers. 19. Strengthening storage infrastruc- ture. India has about 70 million MT of storage capacity. There is need for creating about 40 million MT more. To save wastages, modern silo based storage under the private sector need to be promoted under PPP. There is need of facilitating farmers in creat- ing storage infrastructures facilities at farm level. 20. Developing a national market. The fragmented market for agricultural produce –largely creation of restric- tive State level legislation will have to give way to a national market. This need easing of norms of licensing to enable seamless participation of buy- ers from across the country, move- ments of goods without restriction, harmonization of tax laws(including a uniform GST), standardization of grades and recognition of electronic trades. Exchanges would also have to widen the participation by facilitat- ing farmers to take positions through cooperative or other aggregators such FPOs. 21. Reforms to the APMC Acts to permit pan-India trades, electronic auctions and trading in warehousing receipts. Enactment of policies that enforces the standardization of ag- ricultural produce such that graded product would have a form of a logo or label mandatorily attached to it to signify that the product meets all the standardization and grading require- ment for packing, sealing etc., and only traders who are willing to follow the regulation are given “Certificate of Authorization”. 22. Introducing market led reforms in Indian agriculture and integrating agricultural operations with markets to realize best value of the farm pro- duce. This would also create enough jobs and have catalytic impact on quality. 23. Reducing post harvest losses by strengthening grain storage infra- structure, cool chain systems for per- ishables, post harvest processing and value addition, transport, marketing, commerce and trade. FDI policy in food sector need to be relooked with more research inputs available now on its benefits. Research, Education and Extension 24. According priority to Agricultural Research and Extension which hold key to agricultural productivity and quality. Investment of at least 1 per cent of the national GDP, on agricul- ture research, extension and human resource development, including skill- ing of farmers and stake-holders. 25. Improving Agri Extension sys- tem. Ours is a vast country with more than 6.0 lakh villages and 130 million farmers. It is very difficult for any public extension system alone to reach such large number of farmers. There are over three lac agri input dealers, who can be developed as knowledge points by imparting train- ing for disseminating the technology to farmers. Government should make diploma certificate mandatory for li- cense renewal for input dealers. 26. Establishing a National Mission on Farm Skills & Entrepreneurship on the pattern of MANAGE or NIRD to create entrepreneurship in the agri- culture sector,. There are about 50 areas and each has the potential of creating one million entrepreneurs. Special Initiatives 27. Developing waste lands in India. Nearly 120 mha area in India is constituted by waste/degraded lands. Waste lands have tremendous scope for achieving future food, nutrition, environment and livelihood security. Major efforts will be required to use these lands for raising multipurpose tree species plantations, raising bio- diesel and petro crops, establishing agro-forestry/silvipasture/ hortipas- ture systems. This will help moderate predicted climate change through se-
  • 58. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 57 report questration of carbon. Farm bio-resi- dues need to be utilized to produce energy/electricity at village/group of villages to meet domestic energy needs in villages. 28. Promotion of Integrated farming system approach involving synergic blending of crops, horticulture, dairy, fisheries, poultry, etc. seems viable option to provide regular income and at site employment to small land holder, decreasing cultivation cost through multiple use of resources and providing much needed resilience for predicted climate change scenario. Model Farms need to be established in each district with 100% GOI funds for farmers to learn and adopt. 29. Diversification of agriculture in the First Green Revolution areas such as Punjab, Haryana and West- ern U.P. seems need of the hour. To promote diversification on ecological principles, will require making mon- etary equivalence (profit margin) be- tween the replaced crop/commodity/ enterprise with the ones planned to be introduced. Farmer is mainly con- cerned with the profit he gets from a particular crop or commodity. Crops like maize, soybean, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables have the poten- tial to replace rice and wheat in this area. Upward push in MSP in favour of proposed diversification crops will be a practical option to achieve this objective. 30. Integrating all central and state subsidies, instead of reducing costs of inputs, need to be targeted to empower farmers through infrastruc- ture development in rural areas to promote agribusiness, food process- ing, water management, soil health enhancement, seed production and processing, custom hiring, plant pro- tection, dairy, poultry, fisheries and enterprises etc. This will boost up agriculture sustainability and farms profitability. 31. Establishing Brand India in food and agriculture. The current level of 17.5 billion USD agri exports can be doubled in the next 3 years. We need to globally position Indian food and agri produce such as North Eastern region as Organic Zone, Spices of Kerala, Cardamom of Sikkim, Mango of Malihabad, Orange of Nagpur, Kashmiri Apples, Bihari Litchies and Ratnagiri Mangoes, Tea of Darjeeling and Nilgiris…and so on and promot- ing Geographic Appellation. 32. Accelerating agro exports by es- tablishment of Commodity Boards. This will help in taking the Brand In- dia to global markets. Stake-holders driven Commodity Boards on the pattern of California Walnuts, Wash- ington Apples, Canola Association of Canada or the Australian Wheat Board, American Soybean Associa- tion etc. need to be established. 33. Encouraging region and state specific farming depending on eco- geographical conditions. Like tea belt of Assam, cotton belt of South India, the nation has to streamline rice belt, wheat belt, corn belt, oil seed belt, Pulses belt, sugarcane belt, tomato belt, mango belt, apple belt, ginger belt, turmeric belt, orange-lime-lemon belt, orchid belt, cut flower belt, jack fruit belt, peach and plum belt. Like- wise livestock, fishery, apiary and sericulture belts shall also be created across the country with the objective to improve production and export. 34. Implementing ambitious Rural Business Hubs model, operating on a national platform and establishing 2.40 lac multi-functional rural busi- ness hubs in all the Gram Panchayats of the country. This will revolutionize the rural economy and create jobs, as promised in the Party Manifesto. 35. Providing credit and insurance facilities to livestock, poultry and fisheries farmers on the pattern of crop farmers, by revamping the kisan credit card and making insurance more widespread. 36. Establishing Ethnic Food Parks in every State and promoting the same as a part of Eco-Tourism to support cultivation of traditional crops and varieties. Involve women to manage these ventures and this will help em- power rural women in a big way. 37. Introducing the subject of agri- culture in all disciplines up to 12th standards for future generations to have orientation of our farm and rural life for them to better understand In- dia and integrate culturally. This will also address the major challenge of attracting and retaining bright minds in agriculture, when the agribusiness goes global. 38. Launching a comprehensive soil testing program across India to im- plement location specific measures to restore and improve soil health. Equipping all farmers with a Soil Health Card and advising them on correct nutrient doses will signifi- cantly reduce fertilizer subsidy. 39. Launching a nationwide crops competitiveness study against global and national bench-marking; and ac- cordingly on that to launch a major crop shift program in different states, based on the natural advantages and medium and long term competitive- ness. 40. Strengthening Organic Food Program and Herbal Medicinal crops productions for India to make 10% of the global 50 billion USD market for each. Major parts of India such as NER, HP, J&K, Uttarakhand, MP, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, which are organic by default, must be made Organic by Process for the produc- ers to get advantage of market value. Herbal and Medicinal cultivation can be boosted in a big way esp in the regions affected by Naxalism.
  • 59. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201458 Know Your leader R adha Mohan Singh, India’s new Minister for Agriculture is a veteran leader, who has rep- resentedBharatiyaJantaParty five times in the parliament. A loyal worker of Jan Sangh and BJP all his life, Shri Singh finally got his reward for his years of toil when he found a berth in the Narendra Modi government. A graduate from M.S. College, Bihar University, Singh started his career from Motihari in Bihar as an ABVP Nagar Pra- mukh way back in 1967. From then on, Shri Singh progressively adorned many seats of powerin his party. In 1988, he was made the President, Bharatiya Ja- nata Yuva Morcha (B.J.Y.M.), Bihar. Later on he became General Secretary, B.J.P., Bihar. A five-term MP from Motihari since 1989, Singh has been known as an organisational man all his political life and has been credited by peers and con- temporaries in BJP for assiduously con- tributing to the party’s growth in Bihar in the capacity of state unit chief from 2006 to 2009. Recognising his efforts, the BJP leadership put more responsi- bilities on his shoulders by making him the party’s Kisan Morcha Vice-President and incharge of Uttar Pradesh and Ut- tarkhand units. His credentials as a man of organisation for all seasons got its fi- nal stamp from BJP chief Rajnath Singh who made him chairperson of the party’s disciplinary action committee soon after taking over charge two years ago. Singh’s parliamentary career was also an illustrious affair. He was member of 11th Lok Sabha, 13th Lok Sabha, 15th Lok Sabha and member of the 16th Lok Sabha, representing Purvi Champaran constituency in Bihar state. He was mem- berofmanycommitteessuchas-Consul- tative Committee of the Communication Ministry, Standing Committee on Indus- try and Mines, Railways, Communica- tions, Commerce, Petroleum and Natural Gas, SurfaceTransport, Energy, Estimates and External Affairs during subsequent stints as MP. WithhisinductionintotheNarendra Modi cabinet, Shri Singh has received an- Shri Radha Mohan Singh, India’s newly appointed Agriculture Minister, is a veteran leader from BJP, who has remained loyal to his duties and respon- sibilities. Shri Singh who had always maintained a low profile in the na- tional politics, however was quite active in his constituency. So when Shri Singh survived the competition for the key post, it was a reward for his years of hard work. In his new role, Shri Singh can demonstrate his com- mitment and dedication to serve India’s farming community and he is quite capable to bring a slew of reforms to this sector. other chance, this time at national level, to vow his peers with his administrative finesse. He already has made many plans to bring about reforms in the agri sector of India. The minister has identified“cow protection” and “Indian cow breed im- provement” as his priority areas. “Coun- tries like Brazil and Australia have taken Indian breeds of cows and developed improved breeds, while we are trying to bringforeignbreedsofcows.Ihaveasked officials to devise a programme towards breed improvement of indigenous cows,” says Radha Mohan Singh. He has also hinted that GM crops should be allowed only in extremely necessary cases. The Minister declared his inten- tion to launch two schemes towards enhancing irrigation coverage and pro- viding“farm income insurance”to shield farmers. Additionally, he announced to launch, in cooperation with other min- istries, “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sinchayee Yojana”toextendirrigationcoverageand reduce dependence on monsoon rains. Shri Singh is also aware of the pos- sibility of drought looming large over India.“This year, we are looking at a weak monsoon. It is not very worrisome as only few states might get deficient rain- fall. However, we are geared up to face any eventuality,” informs Singh. He also said that to monitor and address the situ- ation, the government was in touch with states to ensure availability of drought resistant seeds, provide weather updates and advisories for farmers. Singh has also made clear that the existing mechanism to determine Minimum Support Price will continue and efforts will be mooted to “ensure farmers get a minimum of 50 per cent profits over the cost of produc- tion”in the long-term. Associated with Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh since childhood, Shri Singh was always keenly interested in rural wel- fare and was seen working especially for SC, ST and the downtrodden. In his new role as Agriculture Minister, Shri Singh has received another opportunity to serve the farming community which he has already started to do with elan. Farmers’Hope
  • 60. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 59
  • 61. AGRICULTURE TODAY July 201460 differentstrokes Dr Suman Sahai Convener, Gene Campaign Ram Vilas Paswan Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Pranab Mukherjee President, India In India, we don’t have adequately trained personnel and unfor- tunately, the whole bio-safety testing system is compromised. So the use of GM foods could end up being harmful. In any case, for a biodiversity-rich country like India, with a broad and sophisticated tradition of eating a diverse range of foods, supporting agriculture, biodiversity and the village commons is a far more self-reliant and inexpensive way of getting food and nutrition Due to lack of storage facilities so much of food grains rot every year.We are chalking out plans on how to increase the storage capacity. It is the top priority in our 100 day agenda The productivity of most major crops is lower in India compared to most other countries and im- provement in agricultural techniques can bring about improvement Containing food inflation will be the topmost priority for my government.There would be an emphasis on improving the supply side of various agro and agro-based products Ajay Shriram President, CII
  • 62. The Awards Secretariat 306, Rohit House, 3 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi - 110001, Ph. 011-23731129, 23353406 Fax. 23731130 E Mail:,; Website: 27 SEPTEMBER 2014 | TAJ PALACE NEW DELHI INTERNATIONAL agriculture leadership AWARDS 2014 IMPORTANT DATES Call for entries : 01 July, 2014 The last date for receiving entries : 20 Aug, 2014 Short listing of entries : 30 Aug, 2014 Announcement of names : 20 Sept, 2014 Presentation of Awards : 27 Sept, 2014 1. Policy Leadership 2. Development Leadership 3. Industry Leadership 4. Research Leadership 5. Farming Leadership 6. CSR Leadership 7. Environment Leadership 8. Program Leadership 9. Corporate Leadership 10. Academic Leadership 11. Entrepreneur Leadership 12. Extension Leadership 13. Women in Agriculture 14. International Agriculture 15. Young Scientist Award 16. Best Horticulture State 17. Best Agriculture State 18. LifeTime Achievements C AT E GO RI ES Awards v Kindly send nominations / applications before 20 August, 2014. Online applications / nominations are preferred. v Please mail the entries to: or fariha.agricul- v TheAwardsfunctionwillbeheldon27,Sept,2014atthehotelTajPalace, New Delhi.The details can be visited at