Amounting to Rs 3,475 crore, the spurious, sub-standard and counterfeit agrochemicals and pesticides constitute 25 percent share in Indian domestic market. This was revealed by a study by Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG) in New Delhi today.
India is the fourth largest producer of agrochemicals globally. The domestic agrochemicals industry stood at US$ 2.3 billion in 2014 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent over the last five years. On the other hand, the exports of agrochemicals stood at US$ 2 billion in 2014 with a CAGR of 16 percent over the last five years.
The Indian agrochemicals and pesticides industry is expected to reach US$ 4.2 billion by FY19. The overall industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12 percent to reach US$ 7.5 billion by FY19.
While the country needs more food to feed its 1.2 billion population, there are several challenges which the agriculture sector is facing today such as reduction in arable land, decreasing farm size, heavy dependence on monsoon and low awareness of farmers on crop protection product applications. Further, proliferation of non-genuine products are increasing the challenges.
The study highlights that spurious and counterfeit agrochemicals and pesticides proliferation is a lose-lose situation for all the stakeholders.
They reduce 4 percent to 25 percent crop yield which directly affect the framers’ income.
They further affect the sales of genuine products and makes loss of tax revenues of the government. As they’re not tested properly, they put challenges of health hazards, soil contamination and ground water pollution too.
There have been several efforts to address this problem by all stakeholders such as multiple raids, seizure of non- genuine materials by agriculture department officials and police force, custom authorities seizing intellectual property infringing goods and numerous awareness programmes organised by the industry. However, they are all in isolation and not synchronized.
Releasing the study, Raju Bhinge, Chief Executive Officer, TSMG said, “Our endeavour through this study is to highlight the significant impact non-genuine pesticides have on food security of India. It is a loss making proposition for all stakeholders, and it must be curbed immediately”.
The TSMG study has made some recommendations for the farmers, industry and the government.
The study recommends that farmer associations should appoint well informed farmers at block level as ‘Khet Doot’ to advice on market practices and right products. As per the recommendations, the industry should continue investing in farmer education programmes by collaborating with other stakeholders and make distributors realise the importance of use of branded genuine products.
For the government, the study recommends that it should amend and pass the Pesticides Management Bill 2008 immediately. There should be extension of soil health cards to pesticide use and recommendations. It will benefits the farmers.
If this menace is not contained immediately, share of non-genuine pesticides can go up from 25 percent to 40 percent by 2019. Besides, mandatory registration of all pesticides, a collaborative approach by key stakeholders is a must to curb the menace.
Manish Panchal, Practice Head – Chemical, TSMG said, “The study highlights systemic failure to reduce the menace of spurious pesticides. A collaborative approach by farmers, industry players, government and regulatory agency has the potential to curb it”.