Photo by Lisa Murray, taken for IFDC
IFDC Hub is a repository platform that enables the organisation to:
- easily ingest documents, audio, video, datasets and their corresponding metadata
- open up this content to local and global audiences.
Innovation and Research by Private Agribusiness in India
Agricultural research and innovation has been a major source of agricultural growth in developing countries. Unlike most research on agricultural research and innovation which concentrated on the role of government research institutes and the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, this paper focuses on private sector research and innovation. It measures private research and innovation in India where agribusiness is making major investments in research and producing innovations that are extremely important to farmers. It also reviews Indian policies that influence research and innovation. This new data and policy analysis can provide India policy makers with a basis for policies that can strengthen the direction and impact of agricultural research and innovation in the future. Agricultural innovations in India have rapidly increased since the 1980s. Government data and surveys of seed firms show that from about 1990 to 2010 the number of new seed cultivars available to farmers in maize, wheat, and rice roughly doubled, while the number of cotton cultivars at least tripled. Biotechnology innovations went from zero in the 1990s to 5 genetically modified (GM) traits in hundreds of GM cotton cultivars by 2008. Pesticide registrations went from 104 in the period 1980–1989 to 228 during the period 2000–2010. Similar growth in innovations also occurred in the agricultural machinery, veterinary medicine, and agricultural processing industries. These innovations have come from foreign technology transferred into India as well as from incountry public and—increasingly—private research. Based on interviews with firms and data from annual reports, we find that private investment in agricultural research grew from US$54 million in 1994/95 to US$250 million in 2008/09 (in 2005 dollars). Growth in private research and development (R&D) expenditure was particularly rapid in the seed and plant biotechnology industry, which grew by more than 10 times between the mid-1990s and 2009. Private innovations have contributed to agricultural productivity and incomes. Research and innovation by private industry led to the boom in cotton exports and to rapid increases in exports of generic pesticides and agricultural machinery. Private hybrids of cotton, rice, maize, pearl millet, and sorghum increased yields over public hybrids, varieties, and landraces. Small farmers in some of the poorest regions of India—the semiarid tropics of central India and the rainfed rice regions of eastern India—get higher productivity with private hybrids. The increases in innovation and R&D were led by expanding demand for agricultural products, which increased demand for land-, labor-, and water-saving inputs. A second major factor was the economic liberalization that allowed large Indian corporations, business houses, and foreign firms to invest in agriculture and agribusiness. Firms’ decisions to conduct research in India were also encouraged by strong public-sector research, which provided firms with increased opportunities to develop new products with scientists, such as hybrid cultivars. Finally, research was stimulated by the availability of new tools of science, such as biotechnology, and by the recent strengthening of intellectual property rights.
Nutrient Management in Conservation Agriculture-based Production Systems
Conservation agriculture (CA) based crop management practices enhance soil health that ultimately improves crop production with low environmental foot prints. Developments of the better nutrient management practices are important to successful implementation of CA On average, efficiency of fertilizer N in India is only 30-40% in rice and 50-60% in other cereals. Higher nutrient use efficiency (NUE) under CA can be achieved through fine-tuning of nutrient management practices based on local site-specific conditions developed for conventional till- based agriculture. In South Asia systematic research on nutrient dynamics in soils and crop nutrient management requirements in CA systems is limited. Opportunities exist to enhance the yield, profitability. and NUE through site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) in CA Various tools, techniques and decision support systems (nutrient expert, optical sensors and leaf colour chart) are available for soil- and plant- based precision nutrient management, which offer the potential to enhance NUE in cereals and to mitigate environmental quality risk by avoiding N losses via volatilization, leaching and denitrification. GreenSeeker (GS)-based SSNM saved-20-30 kg N ha without affecting the grain yield under CA-based cereal systems compared to general recommended dose of fertilizers Nutrient expert and GS-based nutrient management reduced GHG intensity of rice, wheat and maize production by 5-35 and 0-13%, respectively over farmers' fertilizer practice. There is a need to develop nutrient prescriptions and application strategies in line with the 4R-principles to increase the NUE under CA- based management practices Future studies should be focused on layering of CA with different novel nutrient management tools and subsurface fertigation for increasing both water and nutrient use efficiency In CA-based production systems, innovations in machinery are needed for precise band placement at seeding and during crop growth.
Improving Modeling of Nutrient Cycles in Crop Cultivation
Agricultural productivity depends on crops receiving adequate amounts of essential nutrients from the atmosphere, soils, and/or supplied fertilizers and manures. Through the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, fertile soils supply the following essential nutrients to plants: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni). Deficiency of any of these nutrients results in lower productivity. In Europe, North America, and many parts of Asia, the agricultural practice of depleting soil nutrient reserves (nutrient mining) for farming ceased several decades ago. Unfortunately, nutrient mining continues in many developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The DSSAT Crop Modeling Ecosystem
Traditionally, research for agricultural development and improvement is based on small plot experiments that are conducted for multiple years on a research station and, on occasion, in multiple locations. The outcomes of these experiments are then transmitted in the form of recommendations to farmers through state-wide and county-based extension services. Although this approach works well for the United States and Europe where farms are normally well managed with respect to fertilizer, irrigation inputs, and pests and diseases, in some countries funding and resource challenges make this approach less practical. In the early 1980s, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) made a bold step to support a project that was based on systems analysis of agricultural production to address food security in developing countries.
FlashInfo-N° 0035 / Nov 23
La 35e édition de Dundël Suuf met en lumière la collaboration continue entre le projet Dundël Suuf et l'Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) dans le cadre des essais de nouvelles formules d'engrais au cours de la campagne agricole 2022-2023. En utilisant les cartes de fertilité des sols du Sénégal, les essais visent à adapter les formules d'engrais aux besoins spécifiques des cultures ciblées, telles que le riz, le mil et l'arachide, à travers diverses zones agroécologiques du pays. Suite aux résultats réussis de la campagne précédente, des tests de confirmation ont été réalisés pour la saison 2023-2024 afin de valider les conclusions antérieures et d'évaluer l'efficacité des nouvelles formules d'engrais sur les rendements des cultures et les niveaux de fertilité des sols. Des visites d'échanges organisées par l'ISRA et le projet Dundël Suuf ont rassemblé des acteurs du secteur agricole, dont les Industries Chimiques du Sénégal (ICS), fournisseurs d'engrais pour les tests, des agences de vulgarisation et des organisations de producteurs, en mettant l'accent sur les régions de l'est et de la Casamance. Les participants ont observé l'impact potentiellement positif des nouvelles formules sur les rendements escomptés pour l'arachide et le riz grâce au comptage des graines et des panicules.