Getting to know our Indian farmers
In developing the FertiGlobal crop management approach for sustainable agriculture, we always strive to put the farmer first. Only by understanding their needs can we achieve our own objectives. What are farmers’ requirements for innovation? What solutions will help them to improve agricultural yields and quality while, reducing the environmental impact of crop production?
Key to this approach is our ‘boots on the ground’ philosophy. We’re in regular contact with the end-user. Face-to-face, out in the field, seeing first-hand the challenges they face. Every business needs a reality check. This is ours.
So it was that Claus Brakemeier, our Global Business Development Manager, paid a recent visa to India. For anyone involved in agriculture, it’s a fascinating country. It has the second-largest cropped area of any country after the United States and is among the top-three global producers for crops such as wheat, rice and cotton. But that ranking also hides its agricultural diversity: the country’s farmers turn out grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea and sugar cane, not to mention dairy products, in ever-increasing quantities.
For FertiGlobal, it’s an important market. India’s farmers are keen to adopt new, more modern agricultural practices. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has highlighted the importance of chemical-free agriculture and its benefits for the environment. Many in India recognise that agriculture needs to be more climate-resilient and less water-intensive – India has the world’s largest area of irrigated cropland – and that there should be a greater focus on soil health.
“Our crop management strategy considers the entire crop lifecycle,” Claus explains. “This remains a rare approach in crop production. Many other ‘solution providers’ seek to focus only on individual issues or problems.
“By concentrating on crop health and nutrition, we take a more holistic approach,” he continues. “Our bioactive technologies, such as EnNuVi and FOLISTIM, support plant defence systems and allow farmers to reduce the use of chemicals such as fungicides.
“We need to encourage crop resilience, if we’re to help farmers adapt to the challenges of a changing climate and societal pressure to farm more responsibly. That’s particularly important in a country like India, where nearly 50% of the workforce is involved in agriculture.
“Yet the country’s overall productivity has yet to be realised. Encouraging the adoption of new practices is vital if we’re to shift farmers towards a more modern, more sustainable and more efficient farming system.”
SCL Commercial India provides in-country representation for FertiGlobal. Country Manager Tanveer Alam was appointed to the FertiGlobal team in 2018 and has been responsible for giving the company its Indian foothold.
“I’m delighted to have helped build our presence throughout India,” he says, noting that FertiGlobal now has a presence in more than half of India’s 28 states.
“FertiGlobal technologies are now benefiting farmers across the country and the business is growing in line with our expectations.”
Among the farmers Claus Brakemeier met during his August visit were grape growers in Pune, and apple growers in the Kashmir Valley.
“It was particularly valuable to have time to listen to the challenges of apple-growing, and to be able to take those concerns back to our R&D team in Italy,” he said.
“Together, we’ll find ways to link our research-based technologies to the support that farmers need not just in India, but in all the countries where we’re present.”