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Crops worth Rs 50K crore are lost owing to pest & disease infestation each year: Study
Pest and disease infestation amounts to crop losses worth a whopping Rs 50,000 crore each year in India, an Assocham-Yes Bank study has said.

“This huge crop loss could be attributed to the low pesticide consumption in India which is less than two per cent of global usage and is confined to one-fourth of the total arable land (about 180 million hectares),” according to a study titled ‘Second Green Revolution-Agriculture to Agribusiness,’ jointly prepared by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and Yes Bank.

“The pesticides market is largely fragmented as top five players account for only 57 per cent of the total market and no player alone has over 20 per cent share,” said Rana Kapoor, President, Assocham while releasing the findings of the study.

The pesticides industry in India is currently estimated at about Rs 17,000 crore and is growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 15 per cent.

“Growing awareness about negative impact of pesticides on human health is giving way to bio-pesticides industry which is growing at about two-five per cent CAGR in India as against the global growth rate of 10-15 per cent and India’s share in global bio-pesticide market share in India is approximately less than two per cent,” said Kapoor.

“For its further growth, India’s pesticides industry needs support of the government and regulatory bodies to ensure the existence of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework together with adequate infrastructure.”

Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh (UP) having fertile land are major pesticides consuming states, while states like Kerala, Orissa and Bihar are least pesticide consuming states mainly due to low purchasing power of farmers having fragmented land holdings, highlighted the Assocham-Yes Bank study.

Low levels of research and development due to lack of skills and necessary funds is a critical element which is hurting the growth prospects of the pesticides market in India.

Besides, lower brand awareness is another critical element as currently the pesticides market is low on brand consciousness and highly price sensitive as most farmers do not buy products because of brand name and generally consider price as an important factor, according to the Assocham-Yes Bank study.

“The pesticides industry in India essentially needs to focus on developing a brand for itself in international markets, increase focus on R&D and build global scale plants,” said Kapoor.

“Future growth in the pesticides industry will come from herbicides and fungicides due to higher cultivation of BT cotton, fruits and vegetables.”

Low per hectare domestic consumption offers a huge untapped potential for growth of pesticides industry in India. Besides, the export market has been a boon to the declining pesticide industry and easy availability of raw materials, low cost trained and skilled workforce, low overheads and technically qualified managerial base will continue to make India an attractive sourcing destination for global multi-national corporations (MNCs), highlighted the Assocham-Yes Bank study.

“In the next five-seven years pesticides industry will witness consolidation which may lead to better quality pesticides, improved pricing and margins, besides extensive marketing and customer-centric approach by large players will increase proper application of pesticide doses,” said Kapoor.

“Considering there would be a substantial increase in production of genetically modified (GM) crops, the companies will therefore have to target newer non-GM crops to increase pesticides’ usage.”

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