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Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

  • The Indian pesticide industry is heavily dependent on Chinese imports for raw materials, and could be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, according to an analysis prepared by the Agriculture Ministry.
  • The Ministry estimates that domestic inventories may be sufficient for the kharif sowing season, but any further supply disruptions could hurt farmers.


  • Industry insiders and analysts say that a good rabi or winter crop season and the possibility of a locust attack could deplete inventories sooner than expected, raising prices by about 15%.
  • Out of the 15 pesticides, Acephate, Cartap, Buprofezin, Pretilachlor represent 80-90% trade from China whereas Imidacloprid, Azoxystrobinb, Imzathapyr, Acetamiprid represent 40-50% import from China.
  • Few technical insecticides, which are manufactured in India, also involve the raw material, which is sourced from China.

Impact on India

  • There is a major supply gap, as no container has come from China in the last two months. In fact, it started in early January 2020 when factories were shut for their New Year festival, and then, there was the coronavirus.
  • Functioning of domestic pesticides industries may not be affected immediately by the disruption of supplies from China since the industry in India is having inventories for at least next six months.
  • Hence, for the ongoing kharif season, there may not be any adverse effect on the availability of pesticides to the Indian farmers.
  • Inventories are lower than usual for this season because of excellent rains extending the rabi season in parts of the country.
  • The first quarter of the year accounts for 35% of revenue for Indian pesticide companies, so, if the raw material does not reach in time, there could be significant impact.

What are Karif and Rabi Crops?

  • The agricultural crop year in India is from July to June.
  • The Indian cropping season is classified into two main seasons-(i) Kharif and (ii) Rabi based on the monsoon.
  • The kharif cropping season is from July –October during the south-west monsoon and the Rabi cropping season is from October-March (winter).
  • The crops grown between March and June are summer crops. Pakistan and Bangladesh are two other countries that are using the term ‘kharif’ and ‘rabi’ to describe about their cropping patterns.
  • The terms ‘kharif’ and ‘rabi’ originate from Arabic language where Kharif means autumn and Rabi means spring.
  • The kharif crops include rice, maize, sorghum, pearl millet/bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereals), arhar (pulses), soyabean, groundnut (oilseeds), cotton etc.
  • The rabi crops include wheat, barley, oats (cereals), chickpea/gram (pulses), linseed, mustard (oilseeds) etc.

March 2024