1 The Indian Vegetable Project Improved yields and quality in tomatoes and gherkins
2 How it all started India, the powerhouse of fruit and vegetables, ranks second in the world with an annual production of 74.8 million metric tons (mt) of fruit and 146 million mt of vegetables. India is blessed with diverse agroclimatic regions ranging from the cool, tempe rate Himalayan region to the subtropical western and southern regions. India produces fruit and vegetables ranging from apples, bananas, and mangoes to tomatoes, chilies, eggplants (brinjal), gherkins, and many others. The productivity of some of the fruit and vegetables is on par with global standards; but that is not the case for all the crops. While the farmers face some issues at the production level, they are very much challenged and concerned when it comes to the marketing of their produce. What we aim to achieve Bayer CropScience s Food Chain Partnership aims to partner with companies in the food industry in order to support their growers by improving the productivity and the quality of produce in a safe and sustainable manner. The aim of this Food Chain Partnership project was to produce high-quality tomatoes and gherkins that would meet the requirements set by Mother Dairy. By implementing effective and sustainable crop solutions, good agricultural practices, and by following the principles of sustainable agriculture, a win-win situation for all partners involved was anticipated. The majority of fruit and vegetables still pass through the traditional value chain involving a number of middlemen, which means multiple handling and costs as well as losses that ultimately the farmers have to bear. The perishable nature of fruit and vegetables makes it even more difficult and growers are left with very limited options when it comes to the marketing of their produce.
3 Who is involved Farmers: About 361 farmers growing tomatoes on 695 acres and 533 farmers growing gherkins on about 373 acres were involved in the project. Bayer CropScience and Mother Dairy supported these farmers in the production of good-quality tomatoes and gherkins for processing. Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd, which is part of the National Dairy Development Board of India, started a fruit and vegetable business initiative, branded as Safal, for integrated marketing of horticultural produce. Safal was established with the aim of facilitating a direct link between fruit and vegetable growers and consumers, thereby achieving their vision of providing quality produce that will meet consumers requirements and improve the quality of life of the farmers involved by providing them with fair and optimum prices for their produce as well as expert guidance. Mother Dairy processes fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, gherkins, bananas, mangoes, guava, papaya, and amla. Tomatoes and gherkins are important crops grown and processed by Mother Dairy. Bayer CropScience Ltd., with more than 100 years of experience in the Indian market, provides integrated and sustainable crop solutions that deliver added value to all the partners involved in this project. Bayer meets customers needs not only through an innovative and well-balanced portfolio of crop protection products but also through comprehensive services such as training courses for farmers in the safe use of crop protection products as well as in application and spraying techniques.
4 The comprehensive solution In India tomatoes are mainly grown for the table, whereas Mother Dairy needs good-quality processing grades to make tomato paste. The varieties suitable for processing were short-listed and then seedlings were raised scientifically and provided to the farmers for further cultivation under Mother Dairy s supervision and technical know-how. Since the area identified was a new area for tomato production, it was necessary to support the farmers on all fronts. Secondly, since the yield levels for gherkins were very low (3 to 3.5 mt/ acre), new technologies were introduced to improve gherkin production under open field conditions as well as by using the polyhouse production method. The discussions between Bayer CropScience and the Mother Dairy team clearly showed the need for both companies to work together for the benefits of all the stakeholders, since for both projects the farmers needed expertise and support. To take the projects forward, the Food Chain Partnership agreement was signed between Bayer CropScience and Mother Dairy in Both the projects were initiated in the Gouribidanur and Sira area of CB Pura and Tumkur District in Karnataka State. Mother Dairy selected 361 farmers for tomatoes and 533 farmers for gherkins. To achieve the set objectives of improving the productivity and quality it was decided to implement the proven 5P process. Implementation of the 5P process: The aim in implementing the 5P process was to accompany the farmers from seed to harvest. Production: The tomato seeds used were of the HH 322 variety from Oriental Biotech, and for gherkins the Ajax and Vertina varieties from Nunhems, Bayer CropScience s vegetable seed business. For both crops a package of practices was put together to suit local requirements. Protection: Bayer CropScience and Mother Dairy experts developed a plant protection (PP) schedule that complied with good agricultural practices and respected international trade regulations. Bayer CropScience PP kits were developed and supplied to the farmers to simplify the crop management. The kit contains the crop protection products required for management of the pests and diseases in the respective crop along with an instruction manual and safety equipment. Supplying farmers with the PP kit ensures that they use the genuine products that are available at the right time. Program monitoring: Mother Dairy experts and Bayer CropScience food chain managers and project officers jointly monitored the program during the growing season. The focus was on training the farmers to identify and manage pest and disease symptoms as well as in the safe use and handling of crop protection products and spraying techniques. Passport: This tool recorded all field management data, providing adequate traceability and cost management information. Post-harvest: Mother Dairy developed best grading practices and implemented these together with Bayer CropScience field agronomists.
5 What we achieved The involvement of Mother Dairy at every step, continuous monitoring of the fields, training for farmers, and an effective Bayer CropScience PP kit: each factor helped in achieving the objective of higher yields and improved quality. The highest gherkin yield recorded was 14.1 mt/acre under polyhouse conditions, against 4 mt/acre under average field conditions. The tomato farmers got an average yield of 18 mt/acre, against the average farmer yield of 14 mt/acre. The net income of the farmers increased significantly. Mother Dairy was able to produce and procure tomatoes and gherkins of the desired quality to suit their requirements. The farmers response to the program was good and since all the farmers chose to supply their produce to Mother Dairy even though the market prices were quite attractive, the relations between Mother Dairy and their farmers were strengthened. The innovative Bayer CropScience products supplied through the PP kits protected the farmers fields from pests and diseases and contributed to higher yields and quality. Next steps Since Mother Dairy and Bayer CropScience are both convinced about the benefits the stakeholders are receiving from working together, the cooperation, which started in the state of Karnataka with two crops, will be extended to other areas and new crops. In 2012, projects have been planned for bananas in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh, and vegetables in Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, the projects in Karnataka will continue. Implementation will be further strengthened through use of the Bayer Sustainability Radar, a tool developed to measure sustainability parameters. left: Praveen H. Mallappa Manager Food Chain of Bayer CropScience India right: Raghavendra S. Reddy Progressive grower from Nayanapalli village, Kuppam, India
6 Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the need for healthy nutrition. Food Chain Partnerships help to supply consumers with high-quality fresh produce, which forms the basis of a healthy diet. But such partnerships can only succeed if they involve every player in the food chain from the farmer and processor to the exporter or importer and retailer. Bayer CropScience has the global experience and cutting-edge expertise to create a successful partnership at every level. For more information contact: Food Chain Partnership Team India Bayer CropScience Limited Bayer House, Central Avenue, Powai, Mumbai Maharashtra India Mobile: Phone: Fax: Internet: Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd Mangolpuri Industrial Area Phase I Delhi India Phone: Fax: Internet: Bayer CropScience AG Food Chain Management Alfred-Nobel-Str Monheim Germany Phone: Fax: Internet: by Bayer CropScience FCP