Promoting sustainable fertilizer use

| Production & Resources |

Incorrect use of fertilizer mixes is a very frequent problem in agricultural production, and it may lead to failing to provide the essential nutrients to the soil. The key to improving the situation is supporting the idea of sustainable farming. The Indian government has decided to take action and has commissioned soil analysis on a number of farms in the country. The enterprise is aimed at improving soil quality and efficiency.

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India in need of legal regulations

| Foreign Markets |

India is experiencing a period of fast-paced economic and demographic development. The country is an important producer and consumer of fertilizers. That is why there is a burning need of introducing appropriate legal regulations, which would make it possible to improve the efficiency of domestic farms.

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New kind of watering

| Foreign Markets |

India is a vast agricultural market, both due to the size of the population, and to the need of providing them with food supply safety. The country is in dire need of new solutions which would raise the efficiency of crops.

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Global changes in agriculture

| Foreign Markets |

37% of the world’s population makes a living working in agriculture, which is defined as cultivating farmland, fishing, forestry and hunting. This proportion has fallen by 12% since 1980, when almost 50% of people on Earth found employment in agriculture, while the other half of the population worked in other sectors of the economy.

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India is looking for phosphorites

| Foreign Markets |

The 1-billion people Indian market is becoming increasingly interested in artificial fertilizers, including those which are phosphorous-rich. India is currently an importer of phosphorites in the raw as well as the processed form. The launch of a domestic phosphorites search programme might trigger a change of this situation.

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Arab fertilizers take Brazil by the storm

| Foreign Markets |

Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are currently the leading providers of artificial fertilizers for Brazil. According to data published by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, in the first three quarters of 2013 the import of fertilizers grew by 41% in comparison to the same period in 2012. In dollars, this import growth was worth USD 1.1 billion.

Leaders in fertilizer sales

Morocco took the lead in the above-mentioned period. The trade grew by 19% from Q1, Q2, Q3 2012 to Q1, Q2, Q3 2013. The value of goods exported to Brazil was 933 million USD. Qatar took the second place with a spectacular growth by 268%. The goods sold by Qatar to Brazil were worth 325 million USD. Next in the ranking were Egypt (export worth 133 million USD), Tunis (96.49 million USD), Bahrain and the UAE (35 million USD) and Kuwait (32 million USD).

A change of direction

The fact that export to Brazil is growing in leaps and bounds results from demand for food in this huge country inhabited by nearly 200 million people, but there is another reason as well. Brazil took the market over from another major consumer of fertilizers, India, which limited the purchasing of this product. Due to unfavorable rupee exchange rate, the government in Delhi was forced to limit the subsidizing of imported phosphorous-based fertilizers. Consequently, global market prices fell and fertilizer manufacturers were forced to look for new markets.

Brazil’s needs

This country proved an excellent alternative to the manufacturers of fertilizers, especially those from Arab countries. Fertilizer sales grew by almost 65% from Q1, Q2, Q3 2012 to Q1, Q2, Q3 2013. From January to September 2013, Brazil imported 24% more fertilizers than in the same period of the previous year, 20.4 million tonnes in total, including 3.9 million tonnes manufactured in Arab countries.

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India bets on educating farmers

| Foreign Markets |

The Hindu, one of Indian newspapers with the highest circulation, features “Farmers Note Book”, a column about agricultural issues. 180 texts from this section have recently been published in a book form, whose title is Impact of The Hindu’s Farmers Note Book on Technology Literacy of Farmers.

Indian people read newspapers

With 2.2 million readership, The Hindu is the third most popular English language daily published in India. Therefore, the decision to gather articles published by the paper in the last 6 years has been widely acclaimed. Two organizations working for the development of agriculture are responsible for this publication. The book is expected to have wide reach thanks to translations into Telugu (c. 70 million speakers), Tamil (c. 65 million speakers), Kannada (c. 35 million speakers), Marathi (c. 70 million speakers) and of course Hindi (c. 180 million speakers).

Knowledge in demand

“Farmers Note Book” includes articles about innovation in agriculture, with case studies and examples of good practice in farming. Another focus is on joint farm management, which proves very effective in the Indian countryside, provided that there is a strong local community leader and efficient division of tasks between particular farms.

Vast market

The population of India exceeds one billion people, and agriculture forms the foundation of the national economy. Consequently, such initiatives as the publication of Impact of The Hindu’s Farmers Note Book on Technology Literacy of Farmers benefit both the development of agriculture and the country as a whole. Nearly a half of the Indian workforce in employed in this sector, so support for farmers, including education, is a key task for the government and NGO’s.

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Problems of Indian farming

| Foreign Markets |

The United States is currently the main importer of Indian agricultural produce. However, this year export from India to USA has not reached a satisfactory level.

Poorer US imports

The main source of concern for Indian exporters is a sudden drop of guar gum sales in USA. This thickening substance is used in food production and in the mining industry. The value of exported guar gum has fallen by 63% in comparison with the previous year, although the total annual volume of sales remains the same. In 2012 guar gum prices soared due to huge demand from American mines excavating shale has (guar gum is used as a controlling agent in hydraulic fractures). Indian agricultural manufacturers were deeply affected by the sudden drop in prices from 1025 INR per kg in April-May 2012 to 200 INR per kg in October-December 2012.

Neighbors do not fare better

 

Another important destination of Indian exports is Bangladesh, a purchaser of confectionery and Asian Palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer). Fruit of this palm is used for making sweet syrup and sugar. The value of sales fell by as much as 66% in one year. In 2012 export of the palm fruit and sweets was estimated at 150 million USD. In the first quarter of 2013 its value was close to nothing.

Growth of rice

Not all looks bleak, though. India is selling more and more basmati rice to Iran. In the first quarter of this year exports of this product rose by 140%, reaching total value of 682 million USD. Teheran is currently buying up c. 40% of Indian basmati rice, putting the commodity in the top three of agricultural product sold abroad, alongside buffalo meat and guar gum.

 

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Indian farmers and insurance

| Foreign Markets |

India is one of the most dynamically developing countries in the world. Obviously, massive investment in farming is required to feed the population of over 1 billion people. Delhi authorities have recently launched a nationwide program to promote insurance for farmers, e.g. in case of natural disasters and weather anomalies.

A key issue

The primary challenge for Indian farmers is excess water appearing with the monsoon rains. Another issue are periodical shortages of water connected with seasonal droughts, and decreasing moisture of soil. Naturally, insurance policies covering water problems and poor harvest are becoming more and more popular. The terms of insurance deals for Indian farmers depend on the cultivated crop or the time of sowing.

The state helps the insured

In cooperation with private insurance companies, the government in Delhi and state authorities subsidize insurance premiums and possible compensation payments. Crops are therefore protected at each stage of development: before sowing, after harvest and in case of diseases, pests or natural disasters.

Meanwhile in Poland

Although Polish farmers are required to take out liability insurance and insure the buildings on the farm premises, the obligation is not enforced by local authorities, which are responsible for checking whether the law is observed. However, in case a natural disaster strikes, such as a drought or a flood, it is the central administration which covers most of the cost of helping the afflicted. Experience of the previous few years shows that local authorities do not have the resources necessary to cover the damages, and thus turn for help to the central government in Warsaw.

Another obligation concerns insuring crops covered by direct EU subsidies. The insurance payments are not subsidized by the state, which encourages the farmers to target production at the promoted types of crops.

Recent changes

In August 2013 the government approved a special program of aid for farmers who deal with the so-called special crops (e.g. tunnel crops), who suffered damages in natural disasters in 2013. The Agency for Restructuring and Modernization of Agriculture (ARiMR) will be able to subsidize the installments of loans taken out for a restart of activity, while the Chairman of the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (KRUS) is allowed to delay or cancel the payment of social insurance. However, it is best to prevent damages as early as possible, paying insurance premiums and choosing the type of insurance coverage wisely.

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