Dhanuka Agritech joins ICAR’s public-private bid to help farmers
Jun. 3, 2011
Citing the annual loss to food grains and major crops caused by pest, diseases and weed attacks at Rs 2.5 lakh crores annually, pesticide major Dhanuka Agritech on Wednesday announced its participation in a first-ever public-private initiative to support activities of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) in providing right farm inputs and advisories to farmers.
With this Dhanuka Agritech became the first private partner to the government of India for providing agriculture extension services to farmers.
"We propose that the government should subsidise 75 per cent of the fee, while the remaining could be met by the sponsor or the trainee. We would also like to motivate agri-input companies to form a consortium to provide need based support to meet the remaining 25 per cent fees,” Dhanuka group chairman R.S. Agarwal said speaking on sidelines of National seminar on transfer of technology of strategic pesticides use to enhance agricultural production and food security.
The company had earlier sponsored half of the Rs 25,000 course fees for a batch of agri-input dealers in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. The one-year diploma course was conducted by Hyderabad-based National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management.
"An all India study conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation in 2005 cited that only about 40 per cent farmers in the country were obtaining information on various aspects of crop production and protection. Of which more than 50 per cent depended on agri-input dealers as their primary source of information,” Agarwal said.
Dhanuka, which is the third largest pesticide manufacturer in the country, has a distribution network of more than 12,000 dealers across the country. The company has already engaged its dealer network and additional manpower in Madhya Pradesh to assist farmers with agriculture extension services and advisories for different crops started in year 2001.
"Ensuring timely availability of quality inputs, including seeds, fertilizers and pesticides and educating all farmers and agriculture input dealers on judicious use of pesticides in very vital in which ICAR and the private sector can play an important role,” secretary department of agricultural research and education, S. Ayappan said.
Also the director general of ICAR, Ayappan rued the fact that more than 40 percent of agri-inputs like pesticides are spurious in the market and the initiative would also adequately address this issue to prevent distress to farmers.
According to government estimates India produces about 80,000 tonne pesticides annually and valued at Rs 7,000 crore. Of this, an estimated Rs 3000 crore pesticide sold in the market is assumed to be spurious.
"This year with good monsoon rains, demand for seed and other inputs would increase and government is gearing up for the season,” he said when asked if there would be any shortage of quality seeds available to farmers this year. ICAR as part of its agri-extension services is focussing on improving area coverage of hybrid paddy seeds and high yield variety of the staple, to improve per hectare productivity of the crop.
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