The onus is on the government to address the concerns of the crop protection industry in the Pesticide Management Bill, which is on the agenda in the winter session of Parliament. These include data protection and alignment with best international practices and regulatory reforms by reducing registration timelines of crop protection products.
This was stated Rajendra Velagala, chairman, CropLife India, at its 39th Annual General Meeting (AGM). CropLife India is an association of 18 R&D-driven crop science companies.
P Raghavendra Rao, secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Government of India, said, “The role of agrochemicals in the development of the food grains production in India is critical, considering the fact that India is predicted to be the most populous country by 2030.”
The day-long AGM witnessed an inaugural and four technical sessions with experts’ and key government officials’ conglomeration, on the cause of supporting the farmer.
The sessions included such topics as New Government’s Vision for Agriculture Transformation in India; Bringing Innovation to the Farmers; Case for Regulatory Data Protection in India; Regulatory Reforms and Global Best Practices; Fast Track Adoption of Drones Application Technology Solutions and Ensuring Quality Inputs for Farmers.
Concurring with Rao, Panjab Singh, president, National Academy of Agriculture Sciences, said, “From a problem of deficit, we are now going through the problem of plenty. The issue of rising population needs to be addressed by sustaining agriculture and production, so that livelihood can be maintained.”
Ashok Dalwai, chief executive officer, National Rainfed Area Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, said, “Unfortunately the reforms of 1991, bypassed the agricultural sector hence we need to improve our agriculture, now. It is imperative for the government to listen to the industry, as it will lead to solutions.”
He added, “Democracy, institution and technology are the important ingredients for development of a nation and there is need for inorganic competition.”
Ashwani Kumar, joint secretary, seeds and M&T, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, informed, “ICAR-IARI is conducting a study on the application of crop protection products by drones and the report will be submitted soon to the ministry. We are working in close coordination and will issue the guidelines for drone applications, at the earliest.”
P K Chakrabarty, member, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB), informed, “The Government of India has approved an International Best Practice of Croup Grouping on August 14, 2019.”
“Regulatory reforms and the new crop protection products has to be given faster registration,” he added.
Sianghee Tan, executive director, CropLife Asia, said, “The expertise of the Indian IT sector should be utilised in the growth of agriculture in India. Apart from attracting the Indian youth to farming, technology will help in mitigating the risk and aid in doubling farmers’ incomes.”
K C Ravi, vice-chairman, CropLife India, stressed, “The need for coordinated action by all stakeholders to address the policy bottlenecks, which are slowing the growth of the agriculture sector.”
The crop protection industry has played a major role in ensuring food and nutritional security of the nation besides making us one of the key agricultural output countries in the world. Challenges are getting complex with invasion of new pests like fall army worm, build-up of resistance, climate change and associated vagaries of weather.
CropLife India members are not only committed to bring latest and safer innovations, but also equally committed to educate farmers on their safe and responsible use. There are many examples of this commitment over the years:
India is among the few countries to introduce latest innovations and greener chemistries.
Over 40 lakh farmers have been trained in the safe and responsible of crop protection products
CropLife members continue to work closely with farmers, scientific community and policy makers to address current as well as future challenges. However, the cost of research has gone up, and it is estimated that the cost of discovery and development of a new active ingredient is about $280 million.
While CropLife member companies are committed to innovation to the core, this also means fewer new active ingredients are coming out of research now than in the past.
If Indian agriculture must flourish, be more competitive, quality-driven, reducing wastages as well as losses to enable our farmers to be more successful, it is absolutely essential that a progressive environment is in place that fosters innovations.