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Indian pesticides industry

Agriculture is the lynchpin of the Indian economy. Ensuring food security for more than 1 bn Indian population with diminishing cultivable land resource is a herculean task. This necessitates use of high yielding variety of seeds, balance use of fertilisers, judicious use of quality pesticides along with education to farmers and the use of modern farming techniques.

Per hectare consumption of pesticide is low in India at 381 grams when compared to the world average of 500 grams. Low consumption can be attributed to fragmented land holdings, lower level of irrigation, dependence on monsoons, low awareness among farmers about the benefits of usage of pesticides etc. India, being a tropical country, the consumption pattern is also more skewed towards insecticides which accounted for 62% of the total pesticide consumption in FY08. Rice is the highest pesticides consuming crop. Of the total pesticides consumption, 25.9% is consumed by rice. Andhra Pradesh is the highest pesticides consuming state (23%) followed by Punjab & Maharashtra.

India due to its inherent strength of low-cost manufacturing and qualified low-cost manpower is a net exporter of pesticides to countries such as USA and some European & African countries. Exports formed 49.5% of total industry turnover in FY08 and have grown at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 29.05% from FY04 to FY08. With the advent of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technique, the use of biopesticides and Genetically Modified (GM) seeds has increased. Globally, GM seeds are used mainly for commercial crops like cotton, maize, soyabean and canola. In India, Bt cotton is widely used and the acreage stood at 7.61 mn ha for 2008, a growth of 23% over the previous year. Use of GM seeds may diminish the use of insecticides but the use of herbicides may improve.

The demand for pesticides can be augmented only through sustainable growth in agriculture. With the government’s focus on development of the agriculture sector, the industry may see a better future. The Indian pesticide industry is also likely to move towards the global product mix, with an increase in the use of herbicides and fungicides. Exports will continue to remain the growth driver.

by S. C.
13 august 2010, World News > Asia