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Japanese pesticide enterprises forge stronger footprint in India’s pesticide market: new products, capacity growth, and strategic acquisitions lead the wayqrcode

Nov. 30, 2023

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Nov. 30, 2023

Driven by favorable policies and conducive economic and investment climate, the agrochemical industry in India has demonstrated a remarkably robust growth trend over the past two years. According to the latest data released by the World Trade Organization, India’s exports of agrochemicals for the fiscal year 2022-23 reached $5.5 billion, surpassing the U.S. ($5.4 billion) to emerge as the second largest exporter of agrochemicals in the world.


Many Japanese agrochemical companies initiated their interest in the Indian market years ago, showing great enthusiasm for investing in it by deepening their presence through various means such as strategic alliances, equity investments and establishment of manufacturing facilities. Japanese research-oriented agrochemical companies, exemplified by Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Nippon Soda Co.Ltd, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., Nissan Chemical Corporation, and Nihon Nohyaku Corporation, possess robust research and development capabilities along with a substantial patent portfolio. They have expanded their market presence through global investments, collaborations and acquisitions. As Japanese agrochemical enterprises acquire or strategically collaborate with Indian companies, the technological strength of Indian companies is enhanced, and their position within the global supply chain grows increasingly pivotal. Now, Japanese agrochemical companies have become one of the most important players in the Indian market.


Active strategic alliance between Japanese and Indian companies, accelerating the introduction and application of new products


Establishing strategic alliances with local Indian companies is a vital approach for Japanese agrochemical enterprises to enter the Indian market. Through technology or product licensing agreements, Japanese agrochemical enterprises swiftly gain access to the Indian market, while Indian companies can access advanced technologies and products. In recent years, Japanese agrochemical enterprises have actively collaborated with Indian partners to accelerate the introduction and application of their latest pesticide products in India, further expanding their presence in this market.


Nissan Chemical and Insecticides (India) jointly launched a range of crop protection products


In April 2022, Insecticides (India) Ltd, an Indian crop protection company, and Nissan Chemical jointly launched two products - the insecticide Shinwa (Fluxametamide) and the fungicide Izuki (Thifluzamide + Kasugamycin). Shinwa has a unique mode of action for effective control of insects in most of the crops and Izuki controls sheath blight and blast of paddy simultaneously. These two products are the latest additions to the array of products jointly launched by Insecticides (India) and Nissan Chemical in India since their collaboration began in 2012.


Since their partnership, Insecticides (India) and Nissan Chemical have introduced a range of crop protection products, including Pulsor, Hakama, Kunoichi, and Hachiman. These products have received positive market feedback in India, significantly increasing the company’s visibility in the market. Nissan Chemical said that this demonstrated its commitment to serving Indian farmers.


Dhanuka Agritech collaborated with Nissan Chemical, Hokko Chemical, and Nippon Soda to introduce new products


In June 2022, Dhanuka Agritech introduced two highly anticipated new products, Cornex and Zanet, further expanding the company’s product portfolio.


Cornex (Halosulfuron + Atrazine) is developed by Dhanuka Agritech in collaboration with Nissan Chemical. Cornex is a broadspectrum, selective, systemic postemergent herbicide that effectively controls broadleaf weeds, sedge, and narrow-leaved weeds in corn crops. Zanet is a combination fungicide of Thiophanate-methyl and Kasugamycin, developed by Dhanuka Agritech through collaboration with Hokko Chemical and Nippon Soda. Zanet efficiently controls significant diseases on tomato crops brought on primarily by fungus and microorganism like bacterial leaf spots and powdery mildew.



Dhanuka Agritech launched Fungicide & Bactericide Zanet for the primary timein India


In September 2023, Dhanuka Agritech collaborated with Nissan Chemical Corporation to develop and launch a new sugarcane field herbicide TiZoom. Two key active ingredients of ‘Tizom’- Halosulfuron Methyl 6% + Metribuzin 50% WG - provide an effective solution for controlling a wide range of weeds, including narrow leaf weeds, broadleaf weeds and Cyperus rotundus. Thus, it plays a pivotal role in increasing the productivity of sugarcane. Currently, TiZoom has introduced Tizom for Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu farmers and will soon tap other states too.


UPL successfully launched Flupyrimin in India under the authorization of Mitsui Chemicals


Flupyrimin is an insecticide developed by Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., which targets the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR).


In May 2021, Meiji Seika and UPL signed an agreement for the exclusive sale of Flupyrimin by UPL in Southeast Asia. Under the licensing agreement, UPL gained exclusive rights for the development, registration, and commercialization of Flupyrimin for foliar spray in Southeast Asia. In September 2021, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui Chemicals acquired Meiji Seika's pesticide business, making Flupyrimin an important active ingredient of Mitsui Chemicals. In June 2022, the collaboration between UPL and the Japanese company resulted in the launch of Viola® (Flupyrimin 10% SC), a paddy insecticide containing Flupyrimin in India. Viola is a novel insecticide with unique biological properties and long residual control. Its suspension formulation providesquick and effective control against brown plant hopper.


Nihon Nohyak’s new patented active ingredient -Benzpyrimoxan, achieved a significant milestone in India


Nichino India holds a critically strategic position for Nihon Nohyaku Co., Ltd. By progressively increasing its ownership stake in the Indian chemical company Hyderabad, Nihon Nohyaku has transformed it into a significant overseas production hub for its proprietary active ingredients.


Nichino India inaugurates new manufacturing plant in Humnabad, Karnataka


In April 2021, Benzpyrimoxan 93.7% TC received registration in India. In April 2022, Nichino India launched the insecticide product Orchestra® based on Benzpyrimoxan. Orchestra® was jointly developed and marketed by Japanese and Indian companies. This marked a significant milestone in Nihon Nohyaku’s investment plans in India. Orchestra® effectively manages rice brown plant hoppers and offers a different mode of action along with safe toxicological properties. It provides highly effective, longer duration of control, phytotonic effect, healthy tillers, uniformly filled panicles and better yields.


Japanese agrochemical enterprises are intensifying investment efforts to sustain their market presence in India


Mitsui acquired a stake in Bharat Insecticides


In September 2020, Mitsui and Nippon Soda jointly acquired 56%stake in Bharat Insecticides Limited through a special purpose company co-founded by them. As a result of this transaction, Bharat Insecticides has become an associated company of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and it was officially renamed Bharat Certis AgriScience Ltd. on April 1, 2021. In 2022, Mitsui increased its investment to become the major shareholder in the company. Mitsui is gradually positioning Bharat Certis AgriScience as a strategic platform for expanding its presence in the Indian pesticide market and global distribution.



Mitsui and Nippon Soda acquired a stake in Bharat Insecticides: Officials signing the contract


With the support of Mitsui and its subsidiaries, Nippon Soda, etc., Bharat Certis AgriScience quickly incorporated more innovative products into its portfolio. In July 2021, Bharat Certis AgriScience introduced six new products in India, including Topsin, Nissorun, Delfin, Tofosto, Buldozer, and Aghaat. These products contain various active ingredients such as Chlorantraniliprole, Thiamethoxam, Thiophanate-methyl and others. Topsinand Nissorun are both fungicides/acaricides from Nippon Soda.


Sumitomo Chemical’s Indian subsidiary acquired a majority stake in the biotechnology innovation company Barrix


In August 2023, Sumitomo Chemical India Limited (SCIL)announced signing of definitive agreements to acquire majority stake of Barrix Agro Sciences Pvt Ltd. (Barrix). SCIL is a subsidiary of one of the leading global diversified chemical companies Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. and a leading player in Indian agrochemical, household insecticides and animal nutrition sectors. Since more than two decades, SCIL is supporting millions of Indian farmers in their growth journey by providing a wide range of innovative chemistries in traditional crop solution segments. SCIL’s product segments also include plant growth regulators and biorationals, with market leadership position in some of the crops, products and applications.


According to Sumitomo Chemical, the acquisition is in alignment of the company’s global strategy to build a more sustainable portfolio of green chemistries. It is also synergistic to SCIL’s strategy to offer Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions to farmers. The managing director of SCIL said the acquisition makes a lot of business sense as it is diversification into complementary business segments, thus keeping SCIL’s growth momentum sustainable.


Japanese agrochemical enterprises are establishing or expanding pesticide production facilities in India to increase their production capacity


In order to enhance their supply capabilities in the Indian market, Japanese agrochemical enterprises are continually establishing and expanding their production sites in India.


Nihon Nohyaku Corporation has inaugurated a new pesticide manufacturing plant in India. On April 12, 2023, Nichino India, the Indian subsidiary of Nihon Nohyaku, announced the inauguration of a new manufacturing plant in Humnabad. The plant features multipurpose facilities to produce insecticides, fungicides, intermediates and formulations. It is estimated the plant can output nearly 250 Crores (about CNY 209 million) worth of proprietary technical grade material. Nihon Nohyaku aims to expedite the commercialization process of products like the insecticide Orchestra® (Benzpyrimoxan) in the Indian market and even overseas markets by local production in India.


Bharat has increased its investments to expand its production capacity. In its 2021-22 fiscal year, Bharat Group stated that it has made significant investments to expand its business operations, primarily focusing on increasing production capacity and enhancing capabilities for key inputs to achieve backward integration. Bharat Group has established strong ties with Japanese agrochemical companies throughout its development journey. In 2020, Bharat Rasayan and Nissan Chemical established a joint venture in India to manufacture technical products, with Nissan Chemical holding a 70% stake and Bharat Rasayan holding a30% stake. In the same year, Mitsuiand Nihon Nohyaku acquired a stake in Bharat Insecticides, which was then renamed Bharat Certis and becomes a subsidiary of Mitsui.


Regarding capacity expansion, not only have Japanese or Japanese backed companies invested in pesticide production capacity in India, but many Indian local companies have also rapidly expanded their existing product capacity and established new pesticide and intermediate facilities over the past two years. For example, in March 2023, Tagros Chemicals announced plans to expand its pesticide technical and pesticide-specific intermediates at SIPCOT Industrial Complex, Panchayankuppam in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. In September 2022, Willowood inaugurated a brand-new production plant. With this investment, Willowood completes its plan of becoming a fully backward& forward integrated company from producing intermediates to technical and offering final products to farmers through its distribution channels.  Insecticides (India)highlighted in its 2021-22 fiscal report that one of the key initiatives it implemented was to enhance its manufacturing capabilities. During this fiscal year, the company increased its active ingredient manufacturing capacity by nearly 50% at its factories in Rajasthan (Chopanki)and Gujarat (Dahej). In the latter half of 2022, Meghmani Organic Limited (MOL) announced the commercial production of Beta-cyfluthrin and Spiromesifen, with the initial capacity of 500 MT p.a. for both products, in Dahej, India. Later, MOL announced to increase its existing production of Lambda Cyhalothrin Technical to 2400 MT in the newly setup plant in Dahej, and the commencement of another newly setup multifunctional plant of Flubendamide, Beta Cyfluthrin and Pymetrozine. In March 2022, Indian agrochemical company GSP Crop Science Pvt Ltd announced plans to invest around 500 Crores (about CNY 417 million) over the next few years to expand its production capacity for technicals and intermediates in the Saykha Industrial Area of Gujarat, aiming to reduce its reliance on Chinese technical.


Japanese firms are prioritizing the registration of new compounds in the Indian market over China


The Central Insecticides Board& Registration Committee (CIB&RC) is an agency under the Government of India overseeing plant protection, quarantine and storage, responsible for the registration and approval of all pesticides within the territory of India. CIB&RC holds meetings every six months to discuss matters related to the registration and new approvals of pesticides in India. According to the minutes of CIB&RC meetings over the past two years (from the 60th to the 64th meetings), the Government of Indian has approved a total of 32new compounds, with 19 of them not yet registered in China. These include products from internationally well-known Japanese pesticide companies such as Kumiai Chemical and Sumitomo Chemical, among others.


957144-77-3 Dichlobentiazox


Dichlobentiazox is a benzothiazole fungicide developed by Kumiai Chemical. It offers a broad spectrum of disease control and has a long-lasting effect. Under various environmental conditions and application methods, Dichlobentiazox demonstrates consistent efficacy in controlling diseases like rice blast, with a high level of safety. It does not inhibit the growth of rice seedlings or cause delays in seed germination. In addition to rice, Dichlobentiazox is also effective in controlling diseases such as downy mildew, anthracnose, powdery mildew, gray mold, and bacterial spot in cucumber, wheat powdery mildew, Septoria nodorum, and leaf rust in wheat, blast, sheath blight, bacterial blight, bacterial grain rot, bacterial damping off, brown spot, and browning ear in rice, scab in apple and other diseases.


The registration of Dichlobentiazox in India is applied by PI Industries Ltd., and currently, no relevant products are registered in China.


376645-78-2 Tebufloquin


Tebufloquin is a new product developed by Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., primarily used for the control of rice diseases, with special efficacy against rice blast. Though its mode of action is not yet fully elucidated, it has shown good control results against resistant strains of carpropamid, organophosphorus agents, and strobilurine compounds. Moreover, it does not inhibit the biosynthesis of melanin in the culture medium. Therefore, it is expected to have a mechanism of action distinct from conventional rice blast control agents.


The registration of Tebufloquin in India is applied by Hikal Limited, and currently, no relevant products are registered in China.


1352994-67-2 Inpyrfluxam


Inpyrfluxam is a broad-spectrum pyrazolecarboxamide fungicide developed by Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. It is suitable for various crops such as cotton, sugar beets, rice, apples, corn, and peanuts, and can be used as a seed treatment. INDIFLIN™ is the trademark for Inpyrfluxam, belonging to SDHI fungicides, which inhibit the energy production process of pathogenic fungi. It demonstrates excellent fungicidal activity, good leaf penetration, and systemic action. Intests conducted both internally and externally by the company, it has shown outstanding efficacy against a wide range of plant diseases.


The registration of Inpyrfluxamin India is applied by Sumitomo Chemical India Ltd., and currently, no relevant products are registered in China.


India is seizing opportunities and embracing backward integration and forward development


Since China tightened its environmental regulations in 2015and its subsequent impact on the global chemical supply chain, India has been consistently positioning itself at the forefront of the chemical/agrochemical sector over the past 7 to 8 years. Factors such as geopolitical considerations, resource availability, and government initiatives have placed Indian manufacturers in a competitive position compared to their global counterparts. Initiatives like ″Make in India″, ″China+1″ and the ″Production Linked Incentive (PLI)″ have gained prominence.


At the end of last year, the Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI)called for the expedited inclusion of agrochemicals in the PLI program. According to the latest updates, around 14 types or categories of agrochemical-related products will be the first to be included in the PLI program and will soon be officially announced. These products are all crucial agrochemical upstream raw materials or intermediates. Once these products are formally approved, India will implement substantial subsidies and support policies to encourage their domestic production.


Japanese agrochemical companies like Mitsui, Nippon Soda, Sumitomo Chemical, Nissan Chemical, and Nihon Nohyaku have robust research and development capabilities and a significant patent portfolio. Given the complementarity in resources between Japanese agrochemical companies and Indian counterparts, these Japanese agrochemical enterprises have been using the Indian market as a springboard in recent years to expand globally through strategic measures such as investments, collaborations, mergers and acquisitions, and setting up manufacturing plants. Similar transactions are expected to continue in the coming years.


The data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce show that India’s exports of agrochemicals have doubled over the past six years, reaching $5.5 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 13%, making it the highest in the manufacturing sector. According to Deepak Shah, Chairman of CCFI, the Indian agrochemical industry is considered an ″export-intensive industry″, and all new investments and projects are on the fast track. Itis expected that India’s agrochemical exports will easily exceed $10 billion within the next 3 to 4 years. Backward integration, capacity expansion, and new product registrations have significantly contributed to this growth. Over the years, the Indian agrochemical market has gained recognition for supplying high-quality generic products to different global markets. It is anticipated that over 20 effective ingredient patents will expire by 2030, providing continued growth opportunities for the Indian agrochemical industry.

This article was initially published in AgroPages' '2023 India Focus' magazine.

If you would like to share your company's story. Please contact Christina Xie at christina@agropages.com


Source: AgroNews


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