1. Agriculture World

Ram Gopal Agarwal, Founder Chairman of Dhanuka Group speaks on How to Double Farmers’ Income

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
RG Agarwal
RG Agarwal

Vipin Saini, Associate Editor (Crop Care Division), Krishi Jagran recently interviewed Shri Ram Gopal Agarwal, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Dhanuka Agritech Ltd. The government has been speaking about and a great discussion has taken place on how to double farmers’ income. Narendra Modi announced his ambitions in 2016 about achieving this goal by 2022. Different schemes and initiatives have been started by the government for this.

Mr. Vipin put the same question to R G Agarwal asking him how his organization will assist government in achieving this goal. 

He said he has written a number of articles about the topic in magazines and this goal cannot be achieved simply by talking in closed rooms, it will happen by using latest technologies and by providing world class, even imported, agri products to the farmers, along with marketing infrastructure. He said farmers get 10 to 20 percent of what we pay in the local shops and supermarkets. Government has brought new laws which allow the farmer to sell his products anywhere in India and they can do contract farming, which will boost their income.   

To assist the government and the country in achieving this goal, Dhanuka is producing the latest technology products and at the moment they are working with 6 Japanese companies. However, he continued that although it will be a Rs 200,000 crores industry in a few years very little original research has been done on pesticides. A number of other countries and multinational companies want a piece of this pie. To start a new pesticides company in India with registration and commercialization will cost you around Rs 100 crores. There is no doctor in the middle to prescribe the medicine, the pesticides company have to demonstrate what their product can do. Then you start making money.  

He is the Chairman of FICCI Sub Committee on Crop Protection Chemicals and the committee have met a number of times and forwarded some proposals for reforms to the government. New pesticides registrations should be granted in a year, and if there are issues this process may take 6 more months. At the moment it takes 5-7 years to register. The government has understood that if this is due to lack of human resources they can outsource. They as an organization have proposed to the government that they are ready to bear the cost of outsourcing.    

Second issue that they are dealing with is Quality agri inputs. As with computers, your output depends on your input. Our GDP is a third of China's GDP while India has 142 million hectares of land under cultivation and China has 128 million hectares. Our rainfall is 1000 MM+ while China's is 600 MM, still China is far ahead of us.  Our GDP from agriculture is USD 401 billion dollars while China's is USD 991 billion.  

He then talked about the reasons for this difference. He said Indian farmers are hardworking, so effort is not the issue. Lack of technology and quality agro inputs are the reasons for this. All over the world drones are being used to spray pesticides, however this is no drone policy in India. Government policies on quality of agro inputs is an eyewash and the quality checks done by inspectors are not professional. Rs 20,000 crores worth of pesticides are exported by India every year to developed countries in Europe, to USA, Japan and these have been appreciated for quality. However, these have been graded as not good enough by the inspectors after testing with mediocre instruments. The country should have well trained manpower and proper reference standards. They have had meetings with government officials who have assured them of actions in the right direction.    

Dhanuka does not provide nematicide for nematodes but if a farmer requests for it he is guided in the right direction. They provide training and education to the farmers. They assist the farmers by sharing technology and advocacy with the government. There is a parallel industry providing unverified agro inputs supported by people in high positions, he said. Even the government agrees that this nuisance can not to be allowed to continue. He repeats that we need to offer farmers technology, quality agro inputs, finance and markets. 

He said modern technologies like drip irrigation should be accessible to the farmers. Even irrigation is not well managed in India. There is enough water available in India to irrigate all the farming land available. Time for flood irrigation is gone, now we must have drip irrigation or sprinklers. Israel, a desert country, is using drip irrigation and is now a major exporter of fruits and vegetables.  Atal Bihari Vajpayee added "Jai Vigyan" to "Jai Kisan Jai Jawan" and Narendra Modi has added "Jai Anusandhan". That is, we must appreciate science and innovations.  

He is also a supporter of GM products and said that we are importing edible oils, pulses which are GM, however the politicians are opposed to GM food gowing in India. We should look for future seeds which will be able to generate enough food for the rapidly increasing population. The Prime minister has talked about "Navachar", new technologies and "per drop more crop". These slogans must be practically implemented. In a country of 14 crore farmers living in 6.5 Lakh villages, government will not be able to reach everyone. 

To improve efficiency public sector companies are being sold to private sector. So public-private partnerships are ongoing and he thanked the Prime minister for recognizing the tax paying, employment generating private sector. He said the private companies are great contributors to the country’s success. Private sector should not be interfered with, the businessmen should be given a free hand over how to run their businesses and the government must focus on defense and administration. He gives an example of the airlines industry where the private companies are making good profits while the government run airlines have lost hundreds of crores. He said the money paid by us the taxpayers must be utilized carefully. 

He said the farmers would have access to finances and must be trained in modern marketing techniques. He said farmers must be provided facilities like cold chain. He said in India there will be an evergreen revolution making us not only a hub for pesticides but also world food supplier hub. In the end he added that there is no escape from pesticides and fertilizers, these are necessary evils but farmers must be taught to use these judiciously. He asked Krishi Jagran not to shy away from negative reporting and wished us the best. 

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