Insecticides (India) Ltd, a company listed on the National and Bombay Stock Exchanges, is working on research and development (R&D) as its key focus to bring in new solutions, particularly new patented technologies, for farmers .

“Our agenda is to bring the new patented technologies either by ourselves, through our own centres or through our partners. We have been launching many new products continuously. In the past 6-7 months, we have launched a few products and achieved success in them. Our pipeline is very strong,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides (India) Limited(IIL).

Tackling thrips

Recently, IIL launched a new insecticide Shinwa, a patented product, with the Japanese collaboration. The chemical has been found to be good for thrips, bollworms and leaf miners. “It is doing very well and we expect sales of not less than ₹60-65 crore in the first year itself.  Similarly, we have launched a herbicide called Torry and it has given wonderful results. We plan to multiply its sales targeting ₹60-70 crore,” said the MD of IIL, one of India’s top 10 agrochemicals manufacturers.  

The Delhi-based company has launched a new fungicide, a mixture of Nissan and another Japanese firm’s products. IIL expects to top ₹30-40 crore in sales from this. 

Aggarwal said his company recently introduced a fungicide Stunner for grapes, tomatoes and other such fruits and vegetables. The response to this was also good. 

Foreign partners

The Shinwa insecticide can tackle thrips in the chilli crop, cauliflower and brinjal besides pulses. Last year, the chilli crop was affected in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana due to the thrips attack. “This year too the trips attack is high. It is very big on chillies. This product is yielding good results. It controls the pest in about three weeks with a single spray,” he said. 

IIL is closely working with two Japanese companies, including Nissan, and an American partner. “With Nissan, we market half a dozen products and the range will grow further as some more are lined up. We have a joint venture with OAT Agrico Ltd of Japan to market some of their products,” Aggarwal said. 

IIL has filed for a dozen patents through its joint venture with OAT Agrico. “The first product is finalised and we are developing that product not just for India but for the entire world,” he said.

Reverse engineering

The company’s own R&D wing has different teams with one of them working on reverse engineering. “By doing reverse engineering, we try to make whatever gets off patented in the world and those technologies have either not entered into the country or they have entered and enjoy a monopoly,” the IIL MD said. 

Torry is one such product to break such a monopoly, while Stunner is another, he said. “We try to make new formulations because I believe the consumer needs such solutions. We try to make a mixture of 2-3 products and present it to the market. These are actually giving results and the farmers and consumers appreciate those products,” Aggarwal said. 

IIL is into biological R&D too. It is trying to develop microbes and biological solutions for the market. The R&D centres, which employ nearly 100 personnel, are responding well to the market demand and “a lot of products are in the pipeline”, he said. 

Wheat sowing good

Stating that it is too early to say anything about the demand for insecticides during the rabi season, he said wheat sowing is expected to be good besides other crops.  

Agri-chemical firms faced a tough situation this year as some areas experienced heavy rainfall and some were dry. Despite these challenges, the demand is good for agri-chemicals, he said. 

While the industry is expected to register high single-digit growth, IIL has witnessed a 30 per cent growth in the first half of the current fiscal, Aggarwal said 

For the rabi season, the company expects to witness a maximum growth of 10 per cent if the season is good. However, if the season is poor, “then we degrow” by 15 per cent, he said. 

Optimal use of agri-chemicals

With the kharif crop being good, most farmers are expected to opt for agri-chemicals, particularly for vegetables and cash crops.  

Among the crops, insecticides are in demand for paddy as they are required to control weeds and fungus. On making farmers aware of the optimal use of agri-chemicals, he said the companies in the sector do a lot of work to educate growers on this aspect. The Centre has come up with its own initiatives, he said.  

“We are trying to bring the new technology products continuously to farmers and when we bring them, we have to educate growers that for these many days this product will give the results and they do need to spray again. … generally, the case of excessive use is very rare,” Aggarwal said. 

He, however, conceded that sometimes farmers are tempted to use more urea than desired levels. “But if we look at the situation in the world, we produce more than 13 per cent of the foodgrain and we consume less than 5 per cent of agrochemicals or insecticides,” the IIL MD said.  

GM crops impact

On the impact of Centre permitting genetically modified mustard and a couple of other crops, he said it is unlikely to impact the agri-chemicals sector. “The more advance cultivation you go, the requirement for agri-chemicals will increase as you will tend to spend more on the protection of a product you buy at a higher cost,” Aggarwal said. 

IIL also exports to 17-18 countries, including in Africa, West Asia and Europe. “We are also exporting to Asian and CIS countries. In advanced countries, we are about to get the registrations. We have got many registrations in Africa and West Asia besides other Asian countries,” he said.