It is my great privilege and honour to write to you as the Chairman of the Board ofDhanuka Agritech Limited. I would like to share my views on the Indian agricultural sectorand the critical role played by Dhanuka to enhance livelihood of farmers.
Reflecting on 2019 it was a year of hits and misses for India's agrarian economy.Gross value added by the agriculture and allied sectors stood at approximately Rs.18.55lac crores in 2019-20 a growth of 2.7% over the previous year. Despite the sectoralslowdown in 2019 after a brief period of improvement Indian agriculture is on the cusp ofmajor growth.Total food grain production was higher in 2019-20 estimated at 291.95million tonnes. Food Corporation of India reported the highest food grain stock in 2019compared to the previous four years. It is anticipated that next year's food stock willeven exceed the previous year's record. Indian cotton prices were competitive globally in2019-20 and the global consumption of cotton is projected to recover going forward.
The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic came at a time when Indian agriculture was showingsigns of revival after a long streak of monsoon deficit and crop failures. The crisiscaused by COVID-19 led to the imposing of a nationwide lockdown by the Government ofIndia. This temporarily impacted consumer demand and supply chain across the country. Toprovide relief against the economic impact of COVID-19 the Prime Minister of Indiaannounced a stimulus package "Atmanirbhar Bharat" worth approximately Rs. 20 laccrores to ensure the upkeep of the Indian economy.
Micro Small and Medium Enterprises which employs over 11 crore people and form thebackbone of our economy were the first to receive relief measures. The lockdown resultedin a reverse migration of labourers from big cities to rural areas. To ensure theirlivelihood Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana was announced to offer them employment with a majorfocus on districts which recorded the highest migration. The third set of relief measureswas announced towards agriculture and allied sectors to strengthen the rural economy.Proactive measures taken by the government will ensure sustained development ofagriculture and allied sectors and other small and medium businesses.
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 to economic activities in India I am verypleased to inform you that the agrochemical industry has witnessed record sales in recentmonths in anticipation of good monsoon season and higher crop cultivation. Agriculture isone of the brighter spots in the Indian Economy with the potential to deliver stronggrowth despite obstacles posed by the nationwide lockdown.
It is very encouraging to see that there has been a renewed focus on development goalsin agriculture. There is a big thrust towards driving digital innovations to improve farmyields and bring more efficiencies in the sector. Improvement in overall infrastructuresupply chain logistics and distribution through digital initiatives will reap significantbenefits to the entire farm ecosystem in the long run. Also initiatives by the governmentto encourage direct selling and the industry's efforts to look at online retailing as apart of broader digital initiatives are key triggers for long term sustainable developmentof the agriculture sector.
It is equally important for us to prioritize our natural resources while we drivegrowth initiatives. The industry has consciously taken efforts towards optimum utilizationof water and using advanced techniques such as drip irrigation to encourage sustainablefarming practices. To summarise the favourable monsoon season should result in a strongharvest season for the Kharif crop and it will certainly be a huge boost for the IndianEconomy.
I wish to reassure you that we at Dhanuka are fully committed towards serving theIndian farmer. Being India's leading Agrochemical Company we are at the forefront ofintroducing digital solutions and innovations streamlining policies and collaboratingwith ingenious entities to boost integration of technology across business segments.
On 22nd March 2020 we continued with our annual tradition of celebrating World WaterDay which we started a decade ago through our successful digital media campaign "harboond keemti hai". We continue to walk the same path with the government to achieveIndia's aspiration of doubling farmers' income by 2022-23. We consider ourselvesresponsible towards securing the farmer's welfare and preserving the food security of thenation. We continue to strengthen our association with the farmer producer organisations(FPOs) Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and other critical institutions to increase ourbusiness expertise and boost our market presence. With well-designed strategies programsresources crop solutions and the introduction of the latest molecules and technologieswe are well poised to achieve the objective of "Transforming India throughAgriculture".
Inspired by this vision our long-term value and delight creation strategy remainsintact.
With our constant endeavor towards achieving excellence we continue to demonstrate ourability to overcome challenges and emerge stronger despite challenges and uncertainbusiness environment.
Your Company continues its strong legacy of providing world-class crop solutions bestin class digital innovations and superior supply chain management. We have a strong beliefin our efforts towards achieving long term goals for the Company and express deepgratitude to all our stakeholders while we improve the lives of farmers.