Syngenta recently launched the Good Growth Plan. What are its aims?
Essentially it aims at sustainability. The Good Growth Plan has specific, ambitious and measurable targets which focus on boosting resource efficiency, rejuvenating ecosystems and strengthening rural communities. Under this plan we have six commitments: Make crops more efficient, Rescue more farmlandHelp biodiversity flourish, Empower smallholder, Help people stay safe and Look after every worker. We are committed to improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation and making efforts to reach 20 million smallholders and enable them to increase productivity by 50 percent. Under the plan we are training 20 million farm workers on labor safety, especially in developing countries.
The Company focuses on Partnerships. What are future plans ?
First of all with integrated solution we want to provide one stop shop to farmers. We have launched many projects in partnership with state governments and organization. The company is actively participating in Green Revolution in Eastern States ( GRES) initiative in West Bengal.Soon we will launching six-seven more such projects.
How does the company plan to expand its outreach?
Our aim is to empower farmers in every possible way. We have many projects to empower them.For example we have Tegra,first piloted in South India in 2009 and is an integrated rice growing system resulting in yield increase of up to 30 perent, improving grain quality by 7 per cent and more importantly saving almost 28 days of labor. In 2012, 4000 farmers had adopted Tegra and is expected to grow exponentially by several fold in the current year.We have Project Nirmiti in Odisha, which aims to empower small farm holders and utilizes a network of local residents to make agricultural knowledge and inputs available to smallholders in rural India to improve farming practices, productivity and livelihoods.
What is GroMore project?
Under its Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has signed a MoU with the company to jointly undertake projects towards sustainable development. Together, PAU and Syngenta’s aim is enhance productivity and quality of farm produce in Punjab by adopting latest technology and solutions in key crops like Rice, Wheat, Potato etc. The GroMore project is one of such initiative and through this project the Rice growers are being exposed to the best agronomic practices.
Some farmers are apprehensive about hybrid seeds. What is your view on hybrid seeds?
Each farmer in India knows the value of every rupee he spends.. Hybrid seeds are result of years of advanced research of technology and therefore are expensive. If we talk about Genetically Modified (GM) seeds, they are developed with advanced technologies after seven-eight years of field trials. So it should left upto the farmers whether they like hybrid seeds as they will only adopt these once they are convinced about their superiority and safety. There should a balance – those who want GM should be left to go for them and those who do not, should not be forced.
How do you see regulatory mechanism in India?
The regulatory regime in India is improving. The Indian government has taken some positive steps in recent times. Proper regulations and policy framework are must to increase productivity and sustainable development. The industry association Crop Life India is working closely with the government to make the operating environment conducive for companies working in agriculture sector. I hope the government moves ahead in right direction to provide proper regulations to boost agricultural economy.