1. Agriculture World

Agrochemical industry – the backbone of Indian Agriculture

Hitul Awasthi
Hitul Awasthi

Agriculture holds a prime importance in the socio-economic fabric of India and contributes to about seventeen percent of nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This sector employs around fifty percent of India’s work force. But the biggest challenge faced by India is the lower crop yields as compared to other countries. Low quality seeds, improper usage of water and chemical fertilisers, lack of awareness about crop protection solution and degrading soil quality are some of the major factors contributing to lower productivity.  

Green revolution during 1960’s and 1970’s has considerably increased crop production and made India self-sufficient in food. Apart from high yielding varieties, chemical fertilisers and irrigation, pesticides played a very important role in enabling the sustained growth of crop production sector. 

Agrochemicals play a vital role in controlling weeds, pests and diseases that infest, consume and damage crops, thereby reducing the quantity and quality of food produced. Approximately twenty five percent of global crop output is lost due to attacks of pests, weeds and diseases. Every year in India, pests and diseases destroys around twenty to thirty percent of food, worth INR 45,000 crores. Thus it becomes essential to control pests and diseases, to prevent crop losses and sustain food security of the nation. Pesticides are extensively used in India to alleviate the estimated forty five percent of gross loss of crops. To ensure sustainable growth, we have to deal with challenge of growing population and degrading environmental conditions, thus judicious use of agrochemicals becomes the need of the hour. Insecticides dominate the Indian crop protection market occupying around fifty five percent of the market share. It is followed by herbicides (24 percent), fungicide (19 percent) and others (4 percent).  

Ramesh Chand, member of government’s think tank NITI Aayog, has outlined the importance of responsible use of agrochemicals and Trilochan Mohopatra, DG ICAR, emphasised on the importance of agrochemicals in attaining production goals, during the National Agrochemicals Congress. There is a need to liberalize the registration procedures, enforcement of regulations at state level and access to technical pesticides. With increase in awareness regarding environment conservation, the industry has introduced various eco-friendly pest management products. The industry need to take actions in assuring consumers that all chemicals are not harmful and increase awareness about judicious use of chemicals and good agricultural practices (GAP). 

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