"Need to Increase Agrochemicals Production"
Rajesh Aggarwal,MD, IIL

Insecticides (India) Limited (IIL) has recently signed a contract with Japan-based Otsuka AgriTechno Co. Ltd (OAT) to set up a joint venture (JV) for research and development (R&D) of new products. In an exclusive conversation with CEW, Rajesh Aggarwal, MD, IIL, talks about the organisation, agrochemical industry in India, need for R&D in the sector and more.

Lack of awareness among farmers pertaining to cultivation process with the right and judicious use of agro chemicals is also one of the main reasons for low consumption of these products in Indian market. Aggarwal said, „We have observed that the states where maximum production of agrochemicals is taking place are much more aware about the products and thus farmers in these states show more willingness to use the product making the cultivation process more progressive.‰ „Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, MP and Gujarat, are some of the states where usage of agrochemicals is relatively higher as compared to any other state in the country,‰ he adds.

On the possibility of higher usage of agrochemicals, Aggarwal commented, „Farmers in the country have already started using hybrid seeds and second green revolution has already started taking place in north east states. These factors further encourage increased usage of agrochemical in the country. Nowadays, a lot of new generation of agrochemicals is being produced, which carry low residue effect or no residue effect elements in the products compared to other generic products that are being used in the country for centuries. So, the usage of agrochemical in India is bound to augment.‰ The total agrochemical market in the year 2000 was about 4000 crore. It has reached about 10,000 crore in the year 2012 and like to be double in the next 6 - 7 years.

Mr. Aggarwal believes that the usage of advanced seeds is likely to increase the usage of some agrochemicals by the farmers in the country. He explained that India is a major insecticides market. About 65 per cent of the products that are used by farmers are insecticides. Percentage of herbicides in the past was about 20 per cent, which seems to cross 30 per cent marks soon. Besides, the percentage of the fungicides is also increasing. So, as the farmers choose to go for more progressing cultivation, the usage of these products is sure to increase. He also emphasised that proper initiatives need to be taken to increase the consumption of insecticides in the domestic market. „We need to increase the production of agrochemicals in the country. Better usage of fertilisers, agrochemical and good quality seeds and education for farmers on how to make the cultivation process more effective is of high importance. The onus is also the companies, who have developed new farming or cultivation technologies as they should share the same with the farmers. Here, it is the responsibility of the government to encourage such companies to share the latest technology with the farmers.

R&D is another area, which according to Aggarwal, need to be given due attentions. He futher elucidates that India started receiving high quality agrochemical just ten years back. These products are invented abroad, tested and then imported in the country. Had we been able to develop quality products in the country, the situation of agriculture would been slightly different ?? better. When such products, which higher in cost, are marketed multinational companies, not every farmer can purchase or wish to purchase them. Only the farmers, which are hard core engaged in commercial activities, use them for in their field. „Boosting R&D will allow manufacture to produce high quality products which will be used by all the farmers ensuring more productivity in the field. It is really disappointing that so far no good innovation has taken place in the country as far as the new technology for producing agrochemical is concerned,‰ he continued. IIL had tied up with American and Japanese companies AMVAC Chemical Corporation USA and Nissan Chemical Industries, Ltd. respectively in the past that had helped IIL to add some of the leading international brands like Nuvan, Pulsor and Hakama to its portfolio. Through the JV with Nissan, IIL has also been able to bring a new technology to Indian farmers.

When asked about the recent R&D joint venture with Otsuka AgriTechno, Aggarwal commented, „Otsuka AgriTechno Co. Ltd. is one of the leading Japanese companies that has been able to successfully develop a number of products for agriculture. It manufactures and sells agricultural chemicals and fertilizers. It offers herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, plant regulators, micronutrient liquid fertilizers, and insecticide-nematicides. With this JV, we will be able to bring new products invented in the research centre to farmers and thus help them increase their crop yield multi-fold.‰ Under the terms of the JV, both the companies have agreed to establish a 4000 sqm research centre in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. The state-of-the-art research centre will be first of its kind, employing both Japanese and Indian researchers under the same roof. Both Japanese and Indian scientists will work in the research centre together to invent molecules. We will primarily target insecticides and herbicides. IIL will hold 30 per cent voting rights in the JV and the rest will be held by OAT.