Dhanuka Agritech launches weedicide for sugar cane

Dhanuka Agritech plans to launch ‘Sempra’, a new-age weedicide for sugarcane, from the stable of its partner Japan-based Nissan Chemicals.

The first of its kind product will be launched in Lucknow on Wednesday followed by Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The product was evaluated and recommended by six universities including UP Council of Sugarcane Research, Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Faizabad (UP) and Vasantdada Sugar Institute (Maharashtra).

Speaking to BusinessLine, RG Agarwal, Group Chairman, Dhanuka Agritech, said the company has been working on this product for three years and has done 1,200 field demonstrations to prove the yield can go up by 7-12 per cent.

“The new product was developed to control Cyperus rotundus, which is world’s most difficult weed. The product has been priced competitively to help farmers who are facing difficult times after the sharp fall in sugar prices,” he said.

Pending payments

Sugar mills payment to farmers has already touched ₹11,000 crore and expected to rise further with crushing continuing till mid-April. Last season, the arrears were more than ₹13,000 crore.

In addition, sugar mills also have to clear the ₹2,900 crore dues left from the 2013-14 season.

Uttar Pradesh sugar companies top the table on the arrears list with ₹4,629 crore followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra with arrears of ₹2,679 crore and ₹1,650 crore respectively.

Farmers saving

With the average yield per hectare improving by 10 per cent, a farmer can get additional income of ₹15,000 per hectare besides saving ₹2,000 on fertiliser and much more on labour as the only way to tackle with Cyperus till today is manual weeding, he added.

Without putting a target for additional revenue for the company from the new product, Agarwal said the initial period of two years would be used to popularise the product among farmers and prove the product efficiency.

“We think Sempra would become the growth driver for the company from third year as there is virtually no competition in the market for almost two decades,” he said.

The demand for sugar, which is the primary product of sugarcane, is about 248 lakh tonnes while the current production is 260 lakh tonnes.

It is estimated that by 2030, the national consumption will be about 330 lakh tonnes.

(As published in The Hindu Business Line on Wed, 10 Feb 2016)