Q: Why are water-soluble fertilisers (WSF) gaining in importance for Indian agriculture? What are the global trends?
Ans : Globally, especially in India, we can see that climate change is affecting agriculture. In almost every part of India, a cycle of droughts then floods is seriously impacting the ability of farmers to earn a profit from their land. Farmers are adapting to the new situation and are making the investments necessary to grow crops, especially in greenhouses and fertigation systems. India has seen a sharp growth in land area under fertigation in the past decade, leading to an increased demand for WSF. Sales of these fertilisers are growing at almost 8% CAGR, and in the coming years, we expect double-digit growth. Farmers who have made the shift are beginning to see more steady returns on their investment, as they are able to manage the unpredictable weather conditions better.
Q: How does the dependence on WSF compare against that for conventional fertilisers, like urea, DAP and MOP, which are extensively used in India?
Ans : India has almost 140 million hectares of land under tillage, of which around 26 million hectares are under horticulture crops. The commodity products are largely cereal crops, but WSF is mainly used for horticulture crops. In the coming years, we expect the dependence on WSF in horticulture to be quite high, as WSF helps to improve yields and quality and thus, returns to the farmers.
Q: Does India depend on imports for WSF??
Ans : It is estimated that India imports almost 90% of its WSF requirements. We do not have the necessary raw materials in India and hence, it is more economical to import WSF than produce it locally.
Mr Sanjiv Kanwar started his career in, 1986 as a trainee with Indo Gulf Fertilisers. He then joined SABIC India Private Limited as a Sales Manager in September 1993. Subsequently, Mr Kanwar worked for Hydro Agri International as the Sales Manager for India and held the position of a Country Manager from 1998 to 2004. From 2005 to 2010, he served as a representative for Yara International ASA in India. Mr Sanjiv Kanwar led Yara India during its formative years from 2011 to 2018 and helped to establish the company as a leading player in the specialty fertilisers segment in the country. He is now Managing Director of Yara Fertilisers India Pvt. Ltd. based at Gurugram, Haryana, India.
Q: Do you foresee any government initiatives or assistance in increasing the usage of WSF in India?
Ans : The government has been focusing on the fertigation sector for the past several years and the positive results are there: fertigation acreages have gone up manifold in the past decade, since more and more farmers are installing the latest water management technologies.
Q: What is your experience of logistics in India over the years, including handling, packaging and transportation? What are the crucial areas that we should focus our improvements on?
Ans : The logistics infrastructure has undergone a sea change over the years. The roads are better and the implementation of GST has seen delivery times come down. Packaging is now up to international standards and in some cases even better.
The areas that really need to be focused are related to Health, Environment, Safety and Quality (HESQ), as enforcing the rules will lead to safe and better operations. Mechanisation is another area that needs to be developed.
Q: What are Yara’s expansion plans in India?
Ans : Yara is currently operating in 15 states in India and we do not plan to expand further. However, we shall continue to introduce new products to meet the needs of farmers.
Q: Has your company got plans for further investment in India?
Ans : No new investments are being planned for India.
Q: Finally, do you have any advice to the port and maritime logistics fraternity as your partners in business?
Ans : We really must improve HESQ across the supply chain. The safety of working conditions at times is worrisome and there are too many near misses. Let’s all be “SAFE BY CHOICE”.