Indian agriculture witnessed the impressive year 2019-20. India is expected to recordthe highest ever food grain (296 million tons) and horticulture (320 million tons)production in 2019-20 which stands testimony to its resilient nature. As per theprovisional estimates released by the National Statistical Office the agriculture sectoris expected to be amongst the fastest growing segments during the year. The sector holdsimmense potential towards driving domestic economic growth ensuring food securitygenerating significant employment and export opportunities.
As India faces one of its biggest challenges caused by the COVID-19 relateddisruptions the importance of agriculture has been brought to the fore more than ever.The sector has remained relatively insular from the demand point of view with increasedsummer crop sowing timely harvesting and swift technology adoption across the supplychain.
I would like to commend the Government's proactive approach in dealing with thepandemic situation. Considering the importance of farming in India the Government ensuredits continuance along with extending the required safety measures. Initiatives in theareas of direct benefit transfers agri loan subvention direct marketing efficientprocurement and exemptions to agri input operations promoting farm mechanisation etc.were promptly introduced. Further governance and administrative reforms announced in theoutput marketing space are expected to be income accretive and hold the potential tocompletely transform the agricultural landscape.
At Coromandel we are cognizant of the emerging scenario and are preparing ourselvesaccordingly. The Annual report will indicate the various steps being taken by your Companyto make agriculture smart connected and future-ready.
These are unprecedented times for the world at large - unlike the earlier crises thathave been predominantly financial in nature the present COVID-19 induced uncertainty haseconomic social and political consequences. Globally nations have been collaborating onhealthcare aspects and I am hopeful that the current situation will throw up neweropportunities.
Your Company stands by the Government and remains firm in its commitment to serve thefarming community. Since the lockdown your Company has been following a rigorous approachthrough periodic scenario planning activities while maintaining utmost focus on thesafety and well-being of its workforce. Most of our manufacturing facilities and Retailcenters are operating at scale adhering to safety guidelines.
I thank each one of you - the Coromandel family our partners our stakeholders andinvestors - for your continued trust and belief in the Company.
"In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity"
- Albert Einstein
COVID-19 has thrown open a new "normal" as the growing health consciousnessamong the consumers is changing dietary patterns with a focus on sustainable ways offarming and improved nutrition. With India being the second-largest agricultural producerin the world these structural shifts present significant growth opportunities in domesticand export markets.
The pandemic has accelerated digital penetration and adoption of Agri technology inrural India. The Agri value chain is getting more formalised with digitisation in theareas of land records soil health input purchases Agri services and output marketing. Iexpect this trend to support farm income by driving productivity gains and ensuring betterprice realisation. Your Company is closely working on the agricultural technology frontand is collaborating globally to develop superior farm solutions.
With the changing geopolitical environment the world is largely looking atdiversifying its supply chains. India with its inherent strength in the chemicalmanufacturing space which includes capabilities in technical formulations and contractmanufacturing its state-of-the-art infrastructure low-cost operations knowledge inprocess chemistry and availability of technically trained manpower can become an alternateglobal sourcing hub.
The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in fertilisers has stabilised and presently theGovernment is piloting a project to provide nutrient recommendations by linking the soilhealth data with the individual farm records. Going forward it is expected that thesubsidy will be aligned with soil health and be directly delivered to the farmer'saccount. Once the farming community forms the core of the DBT reform it will enablefarmers to make informed purchase decisions and improve farm productivity.
I am optimistic that the 'Aatmnirbhar Bharat' initiative announced by the Governmentwill further improve the business environment in the country and attract investment inensuring self-sufficiency. As a leading agricultural solutions provider we are constantlyanalysing these opportunities in the agriculture and manufacturing space and workingtowards developing technologically superior farm solutions to meet customer expectations.
Overall I see a lot of opportunities emerging out of this crisis which holds thepotential to transform the Indian agricultural landscape. Further with the increased JAM(Jan Dhan Aadhar Mobile) penetration Smart Agriculture seems a near possibility.
Financial Year 2019-20: Driving farmer prosperity smartly
Your Company has taken significant strides during the year towards driving farmprosperity by promoting healthy agricultural practices and providing quality farmsolutions.
Your Company's initiatives were mainly focused around expanding its crop-basedapproach soil health and improving quality consciousness among the farming community. Wealso improved our brand presence and strengthened our marketing and agronomist teams. Our'GroSmart' the relaunched grade 24-24-0-8 and 'Groplus' a superior SSP product whichwas launched in the previous year were well received by the customers. Further thebenign raw material prices and comfortable raw material availability during major parts ofthe year supported business growth. Our differentiated value-added services and productscontinued to gain traction in the market ably supported by the integrated nutrientmarketing structure. During the year in line with 'Make in India' initiative yourCompany successfully commissioned its second Phosphoric Acid plant at Vizag unit makingit selfsufficient relative to the acid requirements of that unit.
The crop protection segment also made good progress during the year. This includesimproving its manufacturing capability to develop recently off patented moleculesPymetrozine Pyrozosulfuron and Mancozeb WDG plant. Further your Company is partneringwith global innovators for introducing novel and green chemistry molecules. We are alsoexpanding our presence in international markets through product portfolio expansions newregistrations and customer connect initiatives.
Speciality nutrients Organic fertilisers and Bio pesticides businesses key offeringsin our business portfolio continued to make progressive strides during the year. Withincreased consumer preference towards sustainable and balanced foods I foresee that thesebusinesses will gain significant traction especially in a post COVID-19 scenario.
The Retail business has been the conduit of our product technology and customerconnect initiatives. During the year we continued to work closely with the farmingcommunity and expanded our Agri advisory services.
On the environmental side we continued to expand our green belt coverage at the plantlocations and our commitment towards society remained firm.
Our strong R&D team including scientists and agronomists has been analysing soilweather and crop data through various new-age in order to empower the farmers withpredictive farming skills. During the year we have added 30 new Nutri Clinics to extendfarm advisory and crop and soil diagnostics services to the farmers.
Considering future growth opportunities your Company is strengthening its talentpipeline and upgrading people's competencies. Going forward your Company will continue tostrengthen its customer engagement initiatives and leverage technology for developingsustainable cost-effective solutions for the farmers.
Your Company understands the responsibilities it carries towards empowering the farmingcommunity. At Coromandel we have been at the forefront of shaping Indian agriculture formore than five decades and will continue to support and pioneer changes to embracetechnology and drive productivity to attain farmer prosperity.
As always I wish for your well-being and thank you for your undeterred trust andsupport in us. I am confident that by working together and supporting each other we canturn this unforeseen situation into a defining moment thus helping the Company emergestronger.
M. M. Murugappan Chairman