Tuesday, 13 November 2018


WBA is global multi-stakeholder initiative that measures and incentivise business efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the Index's first ever ranking, four Indian seed companies -- Advanta, Acsen HyVeg, Namdhari Seeds and Nuziveedu Seeds -- have made it to the top 10 seed companies in South and Southeast Asia on their efforts to support smallholder farmer productivity. The list was topped by the Thailand-based East-West Seed. "With many foreign seed companies investing in India and strong-performing companies from India itself, the country shows itself as a real powerhouse for the development and supply of quality seeds for smallholder farmers in the region," the Access to Seeds Index Executive Director Ido Verhagen said. However, majority of smallholder farmers still remain inaccessible, Verhagen added. With regard to intellectual property (IP), the Index showed that the global companies East-West Seed and Syngenta, outperformed their peers, with strong positions on IP, while considering the needs of smallholder farmers and being transparent about such positions. "Monsanto scores highly for its transparency on IP, however its positions are unfavourable to the needs of smallholder farmers," it observed. The domestic Namdhari Seeds and Nuziveedu Seeds scored high points due to breeding programs with a strong focus on the preferences and needs of smallholder farmers, as per the Index. "Acsen HyVeg sets an example with the broad choice it provides in seed types and package sizes, while Advanta stands out with its training programs for farmers that cover more countries in the region than any other company," it added. In addition, 83 percent of the companies present in India provide some form of extension service. One of many examples of capacity building in India, comes from Nuziveedu Seeds, which has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uttar Pradesh government to carry out collaborative extension work on rice and maize production with 40,000 farmers in 25 districts, the statement said. Namdhari Seeds' business arm, Namdhari Fresh, is a leading example of how a company can connect smallholder farmers to domestic and international export markets. The company formalises these relationships with contracts for the farmers to grow and sell produce at a fixed price, thereby offering them access to output markets, it added. SOURCE : https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/markets/d-street-buzz-ril-turns-green-as-oil-icici-bank-hits-new-52-week-high-hul-up-3-3167351.html (THANKS TO MONEYCONTROL FOR THE CONTENT)

Friday, 11 May 2018

Bringing Back the Farmers' Happiness: 

"My children are healthier now and I guarantee a more healthy and strong next generation" Mr.Ponmuthu says it with all pride. Mr.Ponmuthu is a palladam based farmer who does natural farming. Happiness does not only depend on the farm income, but also on the individual characteristics. The individual characteristics tended to be more important determinants of well-being that were farm structure dimensions. Farm size and income measures had minor effects on self-ratings of well-being, another research study reveals.

Well-being is a positive result that is meaningful for people and for many segments of society, which tells us that they perceive that their lives are going well. Subjective Well-Being (SWB) is characterized as „a person‟s cognitive and affective assessment of his or her life. SWB encompasses moods and emotions as well as evaluations of one's satisfaction with general and specific areas of one's life.

The Happy Farmer - Mr.Ponmuthu
Conventional farming is typically highly resource and energy intensive, but also highly productive; those Modern farming practices are referred to farming systems which include the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other continual inputs, genetically modified organisms, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, heavy irrigation, intensive tillage, or concentrated monoculture production.  Its evident from the newspaper and reports on farmer deaths from different parts of the country, that Indian Farmers are not happy.

Based on the market demand and increasing consumer awareness on health and environmental fronts, the producers are slowly changing to sustainable agricultural practices. Sustainable organic farming is farming in sustainable courses based on the understanding of ecosystem, and it is the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. There is a huge demand for Organic produces. The increasing awareness has caused caused shifts in consumer preference which have led to the domestic as well as global rise in demand for organic agricultural produces. Interview with a few farmers shifted to sustainable organic farming and/or natural way of farming are proud and contended about their profession. Mr.Ponmuthu, a natural farmer said it loud - "I am happy as I don't sell poison anymore".  

Happiness Research : There could be a rural urban difference in Subjective Well-being (SWB) as there is a marked difference in objective (socioeconomic) measures of well-being opines Gareth Davey, et al (2007). Their study has measured SWB within a sample of Chinese peasants living in a remote farming village. The results show that despite their relatively low socio-economic conditions, the rural residents‟ satisfaction levels were within the normative range for the Chinese population, and generally did not differ significantly from a previously published study in an affluent Chinese region(Hong Kong) . In-depth interviews with participants had revealed that the lower living conditions in the rural area are not adverse to drive SWB below the normative range. This cannot be the same in India as most of our farmers still relate income to happiness.  

Changes in the structure of agriculture have had significant consequences for the quality of life experienced by farm operators states, Molnar, J.J in his research article. Further he puts forward that Quality of life is a global construct and implies a sense of well-being or contentment with ones life situation or experience.

Gaining back the Happiness: I would contradict on the point that farming as a less attractive career path as it has become more difficult to get started and stay in the business.  Its only a few are farming larger farms and the rest are left with highly fragmented land. The determinants of well-being were particularly difficult to specify among large farm operators. To sum up, Welfare using subjective well-being is the best alternative non-monetary measure of welfare. Some studies support the fact that also Contract-farming has provided positive impact on farmer welfare. With cooperative type of farming picking up in India in the shape of Farmer Producer Company the availability of inputs and funds have become a reality to many of the Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs). Thanks to NABARD making farming a attractive business through Farmer Producer Companies. An important part of the positive welfare effect is an income effect, power to fix prices have started to stem up from this concept which will increase the Farmers' Well Being and raise the Happiness Index. 

Poongodi Bhupathy

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


-          Poongodi, B., KCT Business School

The Cotton Scenario in India: India is the major producer of cotton in the world that accounts for 27 % of the world cotton production. Cotton is a major cash crop and is cultivated widely in many states across India. The major cotton producing states are Gujarat followed by Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Harayana, Punjab and other peninsular states. Area under cotton cultivation constitutes almost 9 % of the total area under agriculture in our country. Despite the fact that it’s one of the major crops, covering 14-16 % of the total agricultural crops, the average cotton yield is much below the world average of 701 to 705 kgs/ha. Cotton is a 6-8 months Kharif crop and the time of sowing, harvesting differs for different parts of the country depending upon the climatic conditions. In Punjab and Haryana, it is sown in April-May and is harvested in December-January. In the southern states of India, it is sown up to October and harvested between January and May. With the introduction of Bt cotton and modern cultivation practices, the area under cultivation was increasing year on year till 2011-12 (121 lakh hectares) and shows a slight decreasing trend during the past two years. According to an International cotton research Institute there are approximately 4 million farmers (2008-09) cultivating cotton in India.  Regardless of the vagaries of climate, cotton has been a promising crop for Indian farmers and all the inputs for cotton production has a huge demand, the vital one being the ‘Seed’.
The Indian Cotton Seed Market: The growth of agricultural productivity has matched the expansion of seed industry. The organized seed industry in India is a few decades old, yet the advancement has been phenomenal. In recent years, the private sector has become an important supplier of varietal technology in agriculture. Some of the top private players in India include Rasi Seeds, Mahyco, Ankur, Nath, Ajeet, Nuziveedu,Syngenta,etc. With 14-16% of the total crop being cotton in India, the demand for cottonseeds is also huge. There are many players in the cottonseed market, which includes the private, and public sector units. The share of the private players in this market has been considerably increasing after the liberalization. Presently the competition is high with many players entering the market. Within the seed industry, the size of the proprietary seed market as well as a company’s turnover is calculated in terms of number of the packets sold. A packet is supposed to be sufficient to seed an acre of land. The seeding rate per acre in the Francis Kanoi survey (2007) has varied from 450g per acre to 570 g per acre over different years. The estimated size of the proprietary seed market was 45 million packets as per Business Line in July 2014. The total volume and value of cotton seed market has been increasing year on year.
Market Size of the Cotton Seed : Area & Volume
Area (m hectares)
Cotton Hybrid seeds
(In million tonnes)

 Source: State of Indian Agriculture 2012-13.
There are companies with pan India operations dealing with the production and sale of commercial seeds. The commercial seed business firm produces and market seeds that include Rice, Wheat, Sugarcane, Soybean, pulses, Cotton, other Field Crops and Vegetables. The transgenic Bt hybrids control serious pests of cotton, the bollworms which is one of the principal predators of cotton. The transferring cry 1AC (c) gene of the bacterium Bacillus thuruingiensis accomplished this through backcross breeding methods. Realising the excellent performance of the Bt cotton technology, the GEAC, Government of India has approved RCH 2 Bt cotton hybrid for Central and South Zones during 2004. Subsequently with an impressive line up to 20 products under Bt and BG II.
Emergent, Mahyco, Namdhari, Nuziveedu, Rasi seeds, Mahyco, Proagro, Ganga Kaveri, Syngenta have its own band of cotton hybrid seeds. For example, brands under cottonseed product from Rasi seed include more than 9 items as given below.  
RCH 134 Bt,            RCH 314 Bt,           RCH 20 Bt,
RCH 118 Bt,            RCH 377 Bt,            RCH 138 Bt,
RCH 2 BG II,           RCH 515 BG II,        RCH 530 BG II etc.
All these have created a wave in the market. The company has also released RCHB 708 Bt, which is being rated as high yielding hybrid in that segment. Thus, with the development and commercialization of cotton hybrids, Mahyco, Ankur, Rasi Seeds have the major share of the market in transgenic Bt cotton hybrid seeds distribution in India. Generally the market for cottonseeds is divided into Southern Zone, Western Zone, Central Zone and Northern Zone.

The Challenge: Agricultural activities are seasonal and are dependent on the showers received during the Kharif season. Cultivation of cotton is rain fed in 70% of the area and irrigated cotton area is less (30 % of the area).  The farmers usually buy seeds during the season and sowing takes place only after the showers are received. Normally the market window is opened for around 15 days at village level during the season. The sowing activity will be very high only during this short period. Hence, the peak sales period is skewed only to 10 – 15 days for a given cropping year for cottonseeds. The companies have to make the right quantity of seeds at the right place on right time with the retailers in all the villages. There are many players in the cottonseed market and competition is very high. Sufficient availability of sales stock at the right time is very crucial to have the major market share.
Also the purchase decision of the farmers on the product and specific hybrid every season is influenced by many factors. The review of the past literature and expert opinion, reveals that some of the factors include
Ø  The previous year crop yield
Ø  Price fetched during the last season
Ø  Monsoon
Ø  Credit period
Ø  Retailer’s suggestion
Ø  Fellow farmer’s opinion
Ø  Price expectation in the present year
Ø  Disposable Farm Income at the time of sowing, etc.
The intention of purchase is dependent on these factors and not limited to these alone. The uncertainty in duration of the market window, unpredictable monsoon calls for developing effective marketing strategies. It’s crucial for the seed companies to know the farmers’ future intention of purchase in the interest of safeguarding their market share. Identifying suitable marketing programmes to address these issues is essential for the seed business firms to sustain in the cotton seed market.