Home Articles India – The Global Agrochemicals Manufacturing Powerhouse Championing the International Safety & Quality Standards

India – The Global Agrochemicals Manufacturing Powerhouse Championing the International Safety & Quality Standards

by Harish Mehta (Senior Advisor, Crop Care Federation of India)
Dec 15, 2023
India – The Global Agrochemicals Manufacturing Powerhouse Championing the International Safety & Quality Standards, Article, KonexioNetwork.com

India emerged as the second-largest exporter of agrochemicals globally in 2022, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) data. WTO is an intergovernmental organisation that regulates and facilitates international trade. India has been a member of WTO since 1995. The country’s exports, valued at $5.5 billion, have surpassed the USA, which stands at $5.4 billion. The growth in India’s agrochemical industry has resulted in a worthwhile trade surplus of ₹28,908 crore in FY 2022-23.  

India’s outlook remains strong to be a global manufacturing hub because of the growth levers, supported by the Indian Government, across policy reforms, demand and innovation, prioritizing R&D, capacity building on several products manufactured under the Make in India Mission or Atmanirbhar Abhiyan initiatives.

The Indian agrochemical industry has established advanced world-class manufacturing facilities to cater to the domestic and global demands, thus ensuring further reduction in the import of agrochemicals in the long term. The industry has acquired world-wide renowned for its production efficiencies, product efficacy, quality and competitive pricing.
Agrochemical products from India are widely exported to the developed countries with the USA and Brazil occupying more than 50% share of the $5.3 billion agrochemical basket based on figures available for 2022-23. Agrochemicals from India are now used in over 140 countries worldwide. 

Indian companies are also exporting to the EU, given that the food supplies in the EU have been disrupted by the war in Ukraine and countries are importing food from India and other places to meet their pressing needs. 

Notably, the regulatory requirements for agrochemicals approval in India are far more stringent than the countries with high regulatory standards. Before a product is approved for use in India, the industry needs to submit voluminous data and scientific studies for bio efficacy and safety consisting of toxicology, environment, residues, packaging and its disposal.

The Insecticides act, 1968 was introduced to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, transportation and distribution of insecticides to prevent harm to human life, environment and animals alike. Pesticide Management Bill 2020 which is yet to be passed by the parliament would ensure stringent checks on quality parameters. Our government takes adequate measure to ensure quality and safe agrochemicals be always available. Like, in October 2023, the government issued a notification to prohibit 3 pesticides based on an expert committee’s recommendations. 

As per reports, India uses only 400 g/hectare of agrochemicals as compared to the global average of 2.6 kg/hectare. With the Indian government easing the Drone policies & regulations and advancements in Mechanisation and Technology have enabled efficient use of agrochemicals in the domestic market, thus reducing import and boosting export. It has also resulted in further reducing dermal exposure associated with the end use of agrochemicals.

In addition to educating farmers about the protective measures that need to be taken while spraying, special attention is being paid to educate farmers on the quantity and variety of crop protection solution to be used for a particular crop. Pesticide spraying by drone is increasing world over, including India, and it offers a safe and cost-effective solution for precision spraying reducing the load of chemicals on crop canopy and soil.  

Even the environment clearance norms in India are one of the most stringent norms globally. In India, the agrochemical industry is categorized as Category A in Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), as part of which the agrochemical companies need to do detailed EIA and must prove that there is no harmful impact on the environment, only then does the Government provide clearance to set up manufacturing plants. Majority of the agrochemical companies in India meet the waste-water discharge norm. Several of them are also meeting Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) norm as well. Every year, the Indian agrochemical industry is reducing environment footprint and increasing the share of renewable energy consumption. In the light of increasing ESG disclosure, most of the agrochemical companies in India publish their sustainability reports in the public domain.

Given the potential and opportunity ahead, India is well-positioned to be the global leader for agrochemicals manufacturing and exports