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INSECTICIDES INDIA LTD (IIL) is a major player in crop protection segment. In a candid interview with MOHD MUSTAQUIM, its Managing Director, RAJESH AGGARWAL tells about the challenges of the Industry and how his company is focusing on yield enhancement which can benefit the sector and farmers both
Agrochemicals sector faces many challenges. What are major challenges for Insecticides India?
For Insecticides India, the challenges are that it is a seasonal business. There is big dependence on monsoon which becomes a challenge for us also. We plan for the entire season and if there is a slight change in the monsoon rainfall,it affects big way on our business. As the river interlinking project is going on and more canals are being built, it would automatically change the fortunes of agriculture sector.
After failures of two consecutive monsoon, this year the monsoon was normal, so it’s going to help the agrochemicals industry?
Agrochemical industry will definitely get benefited from the good monsoon. The Met department forecasts the monsoon every year. IT talks about the average rainfall during the monsoon season. However, agriculture practices have certain requirement of water on certain time, from sowing to crop maturing.This year, the eastern and northeastern regions received normal to above normal rainfall while the southern states received low rainfall. Overall, this year the lot of rain happened in most part of the country, and it would bring big benefits for the industry. It would have positive impact in the next season too.
IIL have few major segments, but others have changed their portfolios drastically. Could you elaborate on your portfolio management and M&A strategy?
IIL started with a set of formulations and has evolved with the time. We always kept increasing our portfolio. There was a time when we were providing more than 120 products. The vision is to add the new generation solutions. We want to be a complete solution provider.We are rationalising our portfolio. Today, 'Tractor' brand which is our trade mark and it is very much popular among the farmers. When we are able to prove handsome return on investment to the farmers, definitely they take a lot of interest in our products.
What is the biggest single competitive issue in your world today?
Every industry whether it is seeds, fertilisers, agrochemicals, farm machinery, is talking about themselves only. All the industries are not able to join hands together and bring a comprehensive solution to the farmer. That is the big weakness I see in the sector. If we come together and provide comprehensive solutions, farmers will held a lot.
Counterfeit products are the big menace in front of pesticide industry. Do you intend to introduce anti-counterfeiting technology?
It is a huge challenge. The farmers should get the right product actually. So we market our products as 'Tractor' brand pesticide. 'Tractor' is the symbol of prosperity for farmers. In 16 years, it has established as belief of quality as farmers have got benefited by using our 'Tractor' brand pesticides. We try to educated them about the right product. But, the are so many biological counterfeit products are entering into the market.
We trying to bring such initiatives with our products like we are using hallmarks and hologram at the same time we have played well with our 'Tractor' brand. We are trying to change our packaging style. It clearly indicate that fungicide, insecticide, herbicide are surveillanced.
Do you run any farmer awareness programmes for balanced application of pesticides?
Yes , we run farmer awareness campaigns like Project Vidya, Project Jagrukta Abiyaan, Agla Qadam among various others as per the local needs. We are trying to aware farmers that how they can use the new generation molecules. We aware them that how they can get better yield and benefits. We display and demonstrate our products on their fields.
Are regulatory affairs conducive for the industry or you want to see some amendments on them?
There should not be restrictions on off-patented molecules to manufacture in India. That is one way, farmers can be served well. That’s one way Insecticides India has been successful in past 15 years. First we started with acquisition of brands. We bring in the off-patented technology on competitive prices to farmers. We developed the technologies, made the formulations and successfully brought them. But, there are still restrictions over many off-patented molecules which are registered in India as formulations. We need proper and rational regulations in this regard. Today, even after the expiry of the the patent, there are benefits given to certain companies to control the molecules.As a result, the farmers are getting the expensive products.
Do you have any plan to diversify into some other sectors of agribusiness?
Our core business is agriculture and crop protection. We started with agrochemicals, now we are entering biological field also. We have introduced biological fertilisers, now we are entering into biological insecticides and pesticides and fungicides also. We do not want to defocus and want to give best solutions to the