With the government committed to doubling farmer incomes by 2022, what role will farm inputs play in the agriculture ecosystem?
As per a paper published by Niti Aayog in 2017, improvement in agricultural productivity, resource use efficiency, increase in cropping intensity and crop diversification were identified as the critical factors for doubling the farmer’s income, that will contribute close to two-thirds of the increase. To attain these objectives, farm inputs will have to play a key role.
With the changing agriculture landscape, evolving consumer preferences, and digital accessibility, the Indian agriculture is swiftly transforming. The farm’s input segment can contribute significantly towards promoting integrated crop management, improving soil health through balanced nutrition, developing technologically superior products, improving water efficiency through micro-irrigation, offering farm mechanization, and promoting sustainable farming practices.
As a leading Agri solutions provider, we, at Coromandel, are combining local knowledge with new research and technologies to deliver Integrated Crop Management solutions to improve farming practices. Our retail stores and agronomists ensure the last mile advisory and delivery of superior crop management solutions.
In addition to the agri input interventions, improving output realization through efficient price discovery mechanisms, remunerative pricing, and other income support measures and minimizing risks through crop insurance and crop diversification activities will significantly enhance the commercial ability of the farmers.
How can we help our farmers attain optimum yields?
Presently, India ranks quite low in crop yield parameters compared to major agricultural economies.
With 40%-50% of the Indian soils deficient in essential plant nutrients including secondary and micronutrients, there is a significant opportunity to improve farm health through customized solutions and delivery mechanisms.
Resource use efficiency will be another major factor that will shape future farming practices. The pressure on resources like water and labour are giving way for efficient practices such as micro-irrigation and farm mechanization in the areas of transplanting, harvesting and spraying services.
In Crop Protection, India’s per capita usage is amongst the lowest globally. With increased quality consciousness among the customers, we expect that the organized and R&D focused players with the ability to develop unique farming solutions to capture this space.
Biologicals like plant extract, microbial, organic manure, and green triangle products are gaining increased attention among the consumers due to a preference for sustainable and clean solutions.
With the increasing number of small and marginal landholdings, Corporate farming and the Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) will support in land consolidation and improve access to technology and markets.
Coromandel, through its diversified portfolio of products and services, is working towards improving the farm yields. We are providing customized nutrient recommendations based on soil fertility & crop requirements, farm monitoring, advisory, and farm mechanization services.
What are the innovations in Indian agriculture that excite you?
The futuristic digital farms will play at the intersection of different technologies. This will be based on swift digital penetration enabling ‘Sense (Generating the data)-Infer (Analyzing the algorithms)-Act (Implementing through smart equipment)’. With the increased internet penetration in rural India, the data revolution is likely to bring transformative changes in farming practices. In the past couple of years, we have experienced the power of digitization in the case of Direct Benefit Transfer in Fertiliser, wherein ~2.25 lakh point of sales machines were installed across the fertilizer value chain, improving the transparency and traceability. Further, the linkage of soil health cards with the DBT system is likely to promote the balanced nutrition, thereby improving farm productivity.
Technology is beginning to play a significant role in shaping the way we operate. ‘Product as a Service’ will be the future theme in times to come, and Coromandel is preparing to take the next step forward in this direction. We are using Agri technology interventions in Crop and soil diagnostics, nutrient recommendations, farm mechanization services, knowledge dissemination, and delivery mechanisms to improve the customer value proposition. R&D is acting as a key enabler for creating unique product solutions to meet the farmer expectations.
The first green revolution adopted in 1965 was driven by the adoption of modern techniques and superior Agri inputs and helped in quadrupling the food grain output to ~284 million tons, making India self-sufficient for its food needs. I believe that the second green revolution is not far off, and data analytics and technology dissemination will have a big influence in nurturing the farms of the future.