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  1. 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. 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. 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. 4. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 3
  5. 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. 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. 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. 8. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 7
  9. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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  21. 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. 22. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 21
  23. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 30. AGRICULTURE TODAYJuly 2014 29
  31. 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. 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. 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