Agriculture Policy Briefing

Lots of Innovation Happening in Agriculture, Farmers Need to Profit from Them: Shilpa Divekar Nirula

Shilpa Divekar Nirula is India region CEO of Monsanto. She has been associated with the food and agriculture businesses for the past 18 years. Here is her short address to industry chamber, Ficci’s seminar on doubling farmers’ incomes through “smart” agricultural solutions.

  • I see challenges on the demand and supply side, but also tremendous potential for India to be a food exporting country, since it has the second largest share of arable land in the world (after the United States).
  • There is a lot of innovation happening on the supply side; farmers are embracing technology.
  • There is scope to improve productivity across crops. We need to extend irrigation and crop insurance to protect farmers against weather risks.
  • But what happens when output increases? How do we ensure that a greater share of income generated by agriculture reaches farmers?  For instance, tomatoes are selling for Rs 100 a kg now but tomato acreages are under pressure this kharif.
  • Seventy percent of Indian agriculture is in the kharif season.
  • We need to work together; we need partnerships and collaboration between producers and buyers.

(Top photo of Shilpa Divekar Nirula at the Ficci seminar by Vivian Fernandes).

Leave a Comment

Hit Counter provided by technology news
Web Design MymensinghPremium WordPress ThemesWeb Development

I Do Not Understand Bt Cotton technology; I Know It Works

Y Kallanagouda Patil, 46, of Uppinbetegeri village in Dharwad taluk  owns 52 acres jointly with his three brothers. He holds a diploma in agriculture from a school in Raichur. Patil grows cotton on ten acres, apart from sugarcane, potato, Bengal gram, jowar, tur,moong and vegetables. He uses groundwater to irrigate his fields. The water is drawn from a depth of 280 feet. Electricity is free so he flood irrigates the fields, except the one under banana  where he uses drip irrigation. He does not micro-irrigate cotton because it is closely planted and has to make way for another crop after eight months. This farmer has his cost all worked out. Making quick mental calculations, he estimates the cost of cotton crop at Rs 22,500 an acre and the realization from 17 quintals an acre at Rs 68,000. He had planted Bayer seed. ‘I do not understand technology, he says, all I know is if I use Bt seed there will be no

Pests Snack on Chilly But Not Cotton

F Basavaraj Rudagi, 48, did not grow cotton before 2008. This farmer from Saundhi village in Dharwad district’s Kundogol taluk made a partial switch to Bt cotton as chilly was susceptible to pest attack and yield was declining. From five acres in 2009, Rudagi had fifteen of a forty acre joint farm under cotton this year, when smartindianagriculture  caught up with him in February. He tried out Bayer in a change from Mahyco and Raasi seed. Rudagi says he got 11.5 quintals (100 kg) an acre from his rain-fed crop and at Rs 4,050 a quintal, his realization was a little over Rs 46,000. The cost, he says, is Rs 26,000 an acre, excluding rental earnings had he leased out the land. This does not mesh with the profit he claims he makes, but then he admits to not keeping crop-wise accounts. Rudagi also grows peanuts, coriander, gram, safflower and jowar. There is safety in diversity. And yes he plants pigeon pea or tur around the cotton crop for bollworms to feed on so they are not forced by the survival instinct to develop resistance to Bt protein.  In this sense he is quite a cut apart. Low cotton prices are worrying but what is the alternative?