Agrochemicals: Unlocking the potential for crop production and protection

Crop production

The year 2020 has been an unpredictable and challenging year, for the human race and the economy, having faced far-reaching implications of the global crisis. COVID 19 has had adverse effects on countries around the globe.  

The economic impact of the pandemic has been alarming with the majority of industries facing the wrath of this crisis. The agriculture sector showed resilience to help keep the economy afloat and leading it on the path of a rapid recovery.   

India, being an agrarian economy has a high growth potential for the crop protection industry on the back of its diverse agro-climatic conditions and impetus to agricultural productivity. This, coupled with the increased emphasis on food safety, is creating a shift towards the adoption of safer and new technology crop protection chemicals in the country.  

Every year, 20-30% of food produced by farmers, worth about Rs. 45,000 crores is damaged by pests and crop diseases in India. This was further exacerbated by the Locust attack during the year. Protecting the produce to ensure sufficient access to food is the need of the hour. While the country is self-reliant in production, efficient crop protection and reducing food wastage can further propel the agriculture industry.  

Our capability in low-cost manufacturing, availability of technically trained resources, seasonal domestic demand, overcapacity, better price realisation and a strong presence in generic pesticide manufacturing must be brought into play to boost the growth of crop care chemicals that will increase the output and improve the quality of the produce. 

There already exists a huge opportunity for India in the global crop protection market, which is valued at nearly $70 billion, out of which, India’s share is just over $3 billion and is currently ranked fourth, behind, USA, China & Germany. Although, India’s export is growing at a healthy CAGR of 11% over the past 5 years with nearly 60% of the export earnings from North and South America, there lies an opportunity to triple the exports by building on the success and support of the Government of India to face challenges of global competition.  

To become a dominant global player in this industry, India must drive the transformation with R&D and technology, to develop methods which can not only increase productivity but also ensure sufficient crop safety, environmental protection and conservation of limited natural resources. Furthermore, becoming self-reliant in the area of producing agro chemicals intermediates is a key factor that will aid the growth of this sector, given that the Indian agro-chemical production depends heavily on its import, particularly from China.  

As a global leader, dominating the space requires an ample focus on cost competitiveness which can be achieved by enhancing output with optimal inputs supported by seed technology and agro chemicals. In a globalised world, cost competitiveness is critical for sustainability of agriculture. 

The demand for agrochemical products is only likely to increase going forward. As per UN reports, India is expected to surpass China to become the most populated country by 2050, as the population will reach 1.7 billion. This will result in higher dietary and food production needs, thereby leading to an increase in the use of crop care products.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons, mainly being resilient and building sustainable ecosystems that help businesses thrive and create livelihoods. The agriculture sector in India has enormous potential in the years to come and the agro-chemical industry will play a key role in accelerating both qualitative and quantitative output.  

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