India Agrochemical Industry Overview

Kakkar-1aIndia is a land of contrasts. It has 16% of the world’s population, but less than 2% of the total land mass. And with an increasing population, the country has put a high emphasis on achieving grain production that can maintain pace with the growth its limited farmland, said Anil Kakkar, VP Excel Crop Care & Vice Chairman Crop Care Federation of India.

Kakkar spoke as part of the day-one sessions at during his presentation at the Farm Chemicals International’s Global Sourcing Summit in Delhi India, Dec. 8-9. The Indian manufacturing Industry is estimated to be $3.8 billion with exports accounting for 50% of the market.

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India is the fourth largest producer of agrochemicals after the United States, Japan and China. “Available arable land per capita has been reducing globally and is expected to reduce further,” Kakkar said. India is no different. “The pressure is therefore to increase yield per hectare which can be achieved through increased usage of agrochemicals.”

The agrochemicals industry is a significant industry for farmers of India and around the globe. Farmers spend money on seed, irrigation, fertilization, and it is pesticides that protect that entire investment. According to Kakkar, about 40% of crops are lost to pest attack during the growing season and when those crops are stored.

Crop protection accounts for about 2% of the total chemicals market in India. Agrochemicals are 3% of the total chemical export market. India’s pesticide market is about $3.8 billion, with exports accounting for about 50%. India comprises about more than 328 million hectares of which 46% (nearly 151 million) is cropped area. There are a lot of farmers on that land. About 67% of India’s farmers are considered marginal, farming on less than a single hectare. Another 18 percent farm between one and two hectares. Only 1% of India’s farmers work more than 10 hectares.

During the last 5 years, herbicides & fungicides have grown at a higher pace compared to insecticides, Kakkap said. For example:

  • Paddy has emerged as highest pesticide consuming crop, post Bt Cotton
  • Many new generation molecules/patented products have been introduced
  • Cost per acre per application has steadily risen to around $19 — $32 (Rs.1200 – 2000) per hectare
  • Farmers have shifted to various tank mix combinations over the years to control mixed pest populations or high incidence of single pest.

“Based on this, agrochemical companies have introduced various premix products in insecticides, fungicides & herbicides segments,” Kakkap says.

Changes in the market have created changes in the country’s approach to agriculture. Kakkap listed just a few:

  • Registration procedures are harmonized
    1. GLP Tox and OECD guidelines
    2. More Cost & longer time
    3. Label claims are implemented

There are more pest specific products

  • Hybrid seed is gaining ground
  • Bt Cotton is successfully established
  • More GM seeds in waiting
  • Seed treatment becoming priority
  • Labor availability is a concern
  • There is a growing use of biologicals

Look for more from Kakkar’s presentation in the coming weeks.