DuPont Pioneer Continues to See the Promise of Ag in India
“There are countless opportunities for ag enterprises to grow in India,” said Alejandro Munoz, DuPont Pioneer Vice President – Global Commercial Business. Munoz made the remarks at USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, held Feb. 23-24 in Arlington, Virginia, where he participated in a panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in India. Munoz discussed economic and social trends driving growth in Indian agriculture, such as urbanization, increasing incomes and spending, increased food consumption and diets higher in protein, growing foreign direct investment and India’s push to create a more business-friendly environment.
Munoz said these trends are creating growth opportunities for any agricultural businesses that can help farmers to sustainably increase agriculture productivity and profitability as well as adopt improved agronomy practices. He also said companies that can assist India to meet growing demand for protein, edible oils and biofuels, in addition to ensuring rural access to information technology and sharing, can greatly prosper.
Recounting experiences in advancing farm-level agronomy practices from Pioneer’s 40 years of doing business in India, Munoz shared the story of Pioneer’s rice farm schools where Indian farmers have hands-on support to help them understand not only why to make a change in agronomic production practices, but how to make and maintain that change. This local agronomy training is a collaboration between DuPont Pioneer and the Uttar Pradesh state government.
“DuPont Pioneer’s commitment to providing helpful ag management training is as strong today as when Henry A. Wallace founded the company. He had a vision for helping farmers to feed the world,” said Munoz. “We work hard to stay true to this vision.”
Pioneer has about 3,200 of these rice schools in different villages around India. Each school teaches about 25 farmers. This means 80,000 farmers receive hands-on agronomic training each year through this effort, Munoz explained.
“Expanding collaborations and building new programs between public and private sectors, as well as between industry and farmer groups, will be necessary to make significant impact in populous India,” Munoz said.
He explained that global corporations may not only grow their businesses in India, but also work with the Indian government to help shape regulatory policy and a workable framework around intellectual property rights, plant variety protection, genetic modification, plant breeding innovations including CRISPR-Cas, biodiversity, and more.
“Working together – public and private – farmer and industry – will create a fruitful environment for businesses to invest in India,” Munoz said. “It will create jobs, increase ag production and contribute toward greater global food security.”
Following his remarks at the Ag Outlook Forum, Munoz shared similar thoughts with representatives of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C.