03 October 2021, New Delhi: The Central Government is focusing on the use of drones in the agriculture sector. With this, the government has started the Digital Agriculture Mission. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has signed MoUs with the private sector to take forward digital agriculture, which aims to benefit farmers in every way while increasing their income
Narendra Singh Tomar, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, while inaugurating the 41st AGM of the CroplifeIndia , an apex body of 15 Crop science companies said “India is the fourth largest producer of agrochemicals. Seeing the potential of this sector, the government has included the agrochemical sector among the 12 champion sectors where India can play an important role in the global supply-chain. There is a lot of potential to be a leader in the chemical sector with the help of innovation, speedy registration system, early crop protection research and digitization drive”.
CropLife India; a leading association of 15 R&D driven crop science companies organized its 41st Annual General Meeting & Open House, which witnessed the congregation of the Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Hon’ble Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; senior Government officials, experts and industry captains on the cause of supporting the farmer.
The Open House – Virtual Conference, observed an Inaugural Session, “India @ 75: Indian Agrochemical Industry”; a Special Address on “Agrochemical Industry’s Contributions in Sustainable Food Systems” by Ms. Giulia Di Tommaso, President and CEO, CropLife International; a Panel Discussion on “Policy & Regulatory Roadmap for Agrochemicals Sector” and a Valedictory Session on “Way Forward for Indian Agrochemical Industry”.
Dr. Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, opined, “The impact of climate change has a direct/indirect fallout on pests, which creates impact on crops. The crop protection industry needs to leverage the R&D facilities, thus imbibing the policies of Drone technology and Artificial Intelligence.”
Dr. S. K. Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare said, “India needs new molecules, which are safer and more effective. Industry needs to come forward & introduce new molecules; aligned with International standards; which will be welcomed with open arms”.
Dr. Ravi Prakash, Plant Protection Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare said, “The crop protection industry has been taking strides in exporting products, thus earning foreign exchange. The quality of the products are being monitored with the help of National Laboratories, constantly and the use of drone will be encouraged in the country”.
Dr. K. C. Ravi, Chairman, CropLife India said, “Over the last 75 years, Indian agriculture has made rapid strides. From a meagre 55 million tonnes, production of food grains has increased to a record 309 million tonnes. Production of pulses, coarse cereals, natural fibres, sugarcane, vegetables and fruits have all increased manifold since Independence. With the Green revolution which made the country self-sufficient in food grains by the year 2010, things have gone further with India now being among the top 10 agricultural products exporters and the crop protection industry has played a vital role in this”.
Dr. Ravi further shared that the need for a predictable, stable and science based policy and regulatory regime for the proper growth of the crop protection sector is imperative; which promotes innovation and new product introduction to address the current and upcoming challenges faced by farmers; while paving the way with introduction of cutting edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Drones”.
Mr. Asitava Sen, CEO, CropLife India while welcoming all participants opined that, “The crop protection industry played a major role in enhancing the agriculture production of the country and was not deterred by Covid-19 crisis. Government has been forthcoming in solving all concerns of the industry not only in the hour of crisis, but worked on key policy reforms for ‘Making India a Global Agrochemical Manufacturing Hub’ throughout the year”.
Mr. Sen added, “CropLife India and its member companies have always believed in and demonstrated a constructive partnership approach with the Government and other stakeholders, and would like to continue to contribute in strengthening the collaborative ecosystem”.
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; build-up of resistance; climate change and associated vagaries of weather.
CropLife India members are not only committed to bring latest and safer innovations and are equally committed to educate farmers on their safe and responsible use. CropLife and its member companies would like to continue to contribute in creating a science-based, pragmatic and stable regulatory environment.
CropLife members continue to work closely with farmers, scientific community and policy makers to address current as well as future challenges. However, cost of research has gone up and it is estimated that the cost of discovery and development of a new active ingredient is around INR 2000 crores. 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 policy environment is in place that fosters innovations.