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Pesticides, also known as agrochemicals, are essentially chemical compounds used for crop protection and public health. With growing cropping intensity, the current production capacity of the Indian pesticide industry is about 124,000 tonnes. However, this demand is seasonal, the maximum being consumed in the months from July to November. Therefore there falls a wide gap in between, as a result of which most manufacturers cannot optimize their production and the average utilization is about 65%. Nearly 67% of pesticides manufactured in India are used for two crops- Rice and Cotton. Almost 67% of the total pesticide consumed, falls in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, which also manufacture nearly 47% of the net production.

Pesticides can be broadly classified into six categories:
1.
Insecticides: used against insects
2.
Fungicides: used for preventing fungus
3.
Herbicides: used for removing weeds
4.
Rodenticides: used against rodents
5.
Nemanticides: used for killing pests in the plant root
6.
Regulants: used for nourishing plants

Pesticides can be manufactured and sold mainly in two forms- Technical and Formulations. Technicals is the first stage of manufacture where the chemical is concentrated and unsuitable for direct use. This is then processed with other materials to create formulations. The conversion from technical grade to formulations adds substantial value to the product. India loses Rs 100 bn annually due to crop losses. Pest control is thus an urgent necessity. The current demand for technical grade pesticides stands at about 85,000 tonnes per annum and has been growing at 5-10% annually.

Processed foods and agricultural product exports are being given a thrust in India. For this purpose quality and quantity have to be taken care of. In order to increase production and improve the quality of agricultural products, the country’s dependence on better quality seeds and irrigation will have to increase. This in turn rises the the demand for pesticides.

 
 
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