Godrej Agrovet’s crop protection biz unit launches pilot to reach out to cotton growers

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March 18, 2024 Godrej Agrovet’s Crop Protection Business unit has launched a pilot project, Sankalp, to reach farmers in every nook and corner to supply its products, the unit’s Chief xecutive Officer (CEO) NK Rajavelu has said.
The company is planning to come out with a complete digital programme from cotton farmers partnering scientific communities and “like-minded” seed companies this year, and launch a farmer-friendly app by next cotton
season. “Today, when I go to the market, I can find a coke bottle in rural villages but not agro-chemicals. The need of the hour is to reach agrochemicals to every nook and corner of a village,” Rajavelu told businessline in an online interaction.

Reaching the last man With this in view, Godrej Agrovet Limited (GAVL) recently launched the Sankalp programme. “This programme is to ensure that my distribution
network is capable of reaching the last farmer in the rural village. We just started a pilot and we have operated in Vidarbha, Marathwada and Khandesh in Maharashtra from January onwards,” the crop unit CEO said. Initial feedback showed the company got an “overwhelming” response, which gave the assurance the quality products are in demand,
he said.

GAVL’s crop protection business unit, which deals with insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, plant growth regulators and plant nutrition, is trying to connect with farmers through various digital methods.
“We are connecting to provide them with the right information. Plus, we also make sure that they can call us back and seek some information. We call it the information sharing centre where farmers can call us and we provide solutions,” said Rajavelu.
To partner scientific communities The crop business unit will enable a complete digital programme from this coming kharif season. “We are partnering with several scientific communities and working out several programmes to see what the best

solutions are. So we not only will support today’s problems but work on medium to long term solutions,” he said. This could either be in terms of new pipeline products or working on new products that can help farmers through digitalisation, the CEO said.
GAVL, which has a good relationship with Japanese companies such as Nissan and plans to launch several new Japanese molecules in the country, is working on another 2-3 new solutions for cotton. These will become available over the next 3-4 years and help farmers get multiple
choices.
Stating that the crop protection unit has roped in 12.4 lakh cotton farmers
through Whatsapp and call centres, it is trying to increase it to 20 lakh in
the next one year. Integrated system to connect The GAVL’s arm, a leader in providing solutions to protect the cotton crop
particularly weeds, has made a survey and plans to work on a farmerfriendly app that will provide growers with information. Currently, the company has an integrated system where farmers are connected directly
on a daily basis to provide crop advisory.
“We will have some frequency to contact farmers and it will depend on the need. The sowing season is important. When farmers purchase seeds and the monsoon is about to set in, we look at the situation and advise them,” Rajavelu said.

Particularly after sowing, farmers will be told what precaution they need
to take and what if rain comes early. “Cotton sowing will start early from this month (in Punjab) and we will engage farmers by providing information through March on weed management. We will put out simple
explainer videos on controlling weeds with graphics and pictures which will help farmers understand better,” he said.
After Punjab, the company will reach out to Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and
Karnataka for crop advisory.

In particular, the crop protection business unit will educate farmers on how to prevent attacks such as by the pink bollworm or any other major pest. “We will be giving not only for our herbicides but also products which
we don’t have so that the information will be useful for the farmer,” the CEO said.
Model village concept Pointing out that no new cotton variety has been released since 2006, which has resulted in increasing pink bollworm attacks, he said farmers
can easily go for preventive measures at the flowering stage as soon as they detect any moth activity in or around their farms.
The company has adopted a model village concept where it takes an acre of land and sprays chemicals from first to last and shows growers how its plot is excellent in terms of yield and quality.
“And we show them the best pest management practices. We educate about Pink bollworm and how we prevented it. We promote not only
herbicides but also insecticides. We do this for other crops such as chilli and we aggressively promote this,” Rajavelu said.
The crop protection unit of GAVL collaborated with Japanese firms to provide solutions for the chilli crop. “We launched three products in chilli to take care of major pests such as black thrips, caterpillars and mites. We
have a good market share and are confident of our latest product that there will be no residue if chilli is exported,” the CEO said.
The company is also big in the grapes market with its product that is used for treating the fruit enjoying a 70 per cent market share, he said.


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