The US-based Corteva Agriscience, a $15.56 billion pure-play agriculture company, has lined up a series of products for a bigger presence in India in the coming years. The company also intends to strengthen its existing offshore services outsourcing and contract manufacturing for global supplies from India.
The latest product from its lineup to be launched in India will be a liquid insecticide concentrate that can be coated on both conventional and hybrid paddy seeds for better pest and crop management and higher yields. The product’s regulatory registration process is in an advanced stage, Rahoul Sawani, president - South Asia, Corteva says.
The company was established as a standalone entity through a spinoff of the agriculture business of DowDuPont in 2019. All legacy crop protection and seed offerings of DowDuPont and its subsidiary Pioneer are part of Corteva’s existing product range in India.
In an exclusive interaction with Fortune India at Corteva’s R&D centre in Toopran, Telangana, Sawani said the insecticide for coating paddy seeds will be offered as a complete seed treatment technology (SAT) package as it includes special equipment for uniform absorption of the insecticide on each paddy seed.
The technology has already been introduced in the South East Asian markets and Europe, he claims. “Farmers are dealing with a growing set of challenges at the farm and field level and over the last few years, we have seen unpredictable weather further affecting the yield and profitability of farmers. Advances in seed treatments are a vital tool for effectively addressing these challenges, by helping farmers get their crops off to the best start and achieve a successful harvest. We are bringing to market one of the most sophisticated seed treatment products Indian farmers can have at their disposal as another step in our continued commitment to the Indian agriculture ecosystem. We continue to invest in launching new technologies to increase yields, improve livelihoods, and ensure sustained food security in the country,” Sawani said.
Trials conducted by the company indicate the SAT route requires only one-fiftieth of spraying and one-tenth of granules (active ingredients of the pesticide) as compared to conventional pesticide application on crops. Further, it provides protection against two major pest attacks – the leaf folder and the stem borer menace.An innovative product weed control in paddy and another for the protection of fruits and vegetables from harmful microscopic roundworms called nematodes are the next in a line awaiting regulatory clearance in India.
“We have a product called Rinskor, a weed control product, which we are planning to introduce soon. Today in many of the places weeds are controlled by flooding the fields. Rinskor products fit into the DSR (direct seeding of rice, another innovative technique offered by the company to the farmers) space. It provides control to some of the hardest and most difficult weeds to control. It does it with the smallest dose possible. Maybe a tablespoon of active ingredient instead of a bottle. It is a unique mode of action plus it provides the best environment profile. The spectrum of control it gives on weeds is tremendous. What is critical for the farmer is how quickly you long lasting the control is and how quickly you get the control. Globally we have it in multiple markets,” Sawani explains.
The other major product awaiting regulatory approval in India is Reklemel, primarily targeting the fruit and vegetable segments, especially high-value fruit and vegetable segments like capsicum. “Reklemel provides the most sophisticated nematode control and it has absolutely no impact on the health of your soil. All the nutrients are retained, it doesn’t impact any of those, but gives great control on nematodes. The yield impact can be big. Australia is one of our key markets where the product is already available,” Sawani says. According to him, India is a key market for Corteva for three major reasons.
“Growing population, a growing middle class, which is going to demand higher quality means farmers should be able to produce higher quality products, using lesser resources, in the same land and yet be able to increase their incomes. When we talk about our company as a solution provider to the farm enterprise, it covers all. It goes across crop protection, seed solutions that we bring, digital interventions and technologies that deliver this outcome. We have the best in class pipeline for the innovations that is needed.”
The second is India’s educated highly skilled workforce across multiple fields. “We have growing investments in multiple areas which provide high-quality employment for that skill set. The seed technology lab that we have expanded in Telangana is one such example. We have a centre in Hyderabad which supports many of our key competencies areas globally. Whether those competency areas are in finance, human resources or IT, it is providing global support for the company. We have also made investments in the last two years to ramp up data sciences capabilities in India,” he said.
The company also has two of its five strategic contract manufacturing partners in India. “It is important for us to have a resilient supply chain that provides adaptability and flexibility. It should also have the ability to scale up newer products that are discovered as we start launching them, and should have a workforce that is available to produce consistent quality. Cost factor is also important. India plays that balance. That’s why India is one of the highest bets for Corteva,” Sawani added.