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Awarded by FAI-2012

STRATEGIC MARKETING OF BIOFERTILISERS

N.Sambasiva Rao* & Umesh Mishra**

ABSTRACT:

There is nascent but aggressively growing bio-fertilizers market in India. Among the major concerns in
today's world are the pollution and contamination of soil by excessive and injudicious use of
agrochemicals, as well as their detrimental effects to humans, in particular, by agricultural workers and
rural communities. The concerns on both health and environmental front have compelled governments to
look for environment-friendly options and switching from 'risk reduction' and 'safe use' procedures, in
sustainable agricultural production. The use of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides offers a better option to
augment the Fertilizer Use Efficiency and maintain soil health.
Bio-fertilizers are seen as an important component of INM with a supplementary role, as India continues to
be one of the largest consumers of fertilizers. This paper highlights Importance of organic agriculture, the
bio-fertilizers business perspective, strategic marketing, analysis of Kribhcos bio-fertilizer business &
strategies, the farmers success stories on Bio-fertilizer use impact and the road ahead .
________________________________________________________________________________

Agriculture used to be a way of life in India with mutual social benefits. Each farm unit used to be
organic in real sense having Trees including fruit trees, Vegetable cultivation, Animals rearing
including milking, Poultry, and the crops cultivation with villagers participation. The trees used to
attract birds, the birds excretion in the field used to create earthworms, which in turn used to make
soil healthy. The useful soil microbes were created by addition of Farm yard manure and sowing of
pulses. These healthy soils used to be transferred in other crop fields before sowing of main cereal
crop. The productivity was not an issue due to subsistence farming and less population pressure.
But after Independence, the increasing population and fragmentation of farm holdings led to
innovations in agriculture, which slowly started converting into commercial form and the green
revolution altogether changed the pattern of Indian agriculture from traditional to scientific with
improved seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides etc. Over the period the cattle population started
declining with farm mechanization and the modern agriculture compelled for heavy usage of
chemicals for enhancing farm productivity, creating a misbalance in the nature & environment and
adversely affecting the natural flora & fauna. The situation has worsened over the years with
consistent negligence and now it is alarming not only for Indian soils but also with human/ animals
health. The Governments are seriously concerned about soil health particularly for some of the
states like Punjab, Haryana, UP etc and launched an integrated approach towards nutrients
management with a focus on addition of Bio-fertilizers and Compost. Today, the organic food
production is drawing attention globally. The demand of organic foods is growing by leaps and
bounds especially in the developed countries. In the last decade, organic farming in India has also
attracted a number of farmers. Most of the farmers are cultivating organic produce successfully,
but still it has to get a momentum.

*Marketing Director-KRIBHCO, NOIDA **Sr. Manager (Marketing) - KRIBHCO, NOIDA

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Bio-fertilizers- the product & its background!

Bio-fertilizer is a large population of a specific or a group of beneficial micro-organisms, millions &


billions of them are incorporated aseptically into sterile carrier materials such as peat, lignite or
charcoal. Such material is thereafter packed and sold to the farmers as bio-fertilizers for enhancing
productivity of soil either by fixing atmospheric nitrogen or by solubilising soil phosphorous or by
stimulating plant growth through synthesis of growth promoting substances.

Biofertiliser are the low cost source of plant nutrients, eco-friendly and have supplementary role
with chemical fertilizers. The Bio-fertilizers are bacteria, algae & fungi and may broadly be
classified into two categories viz. Nitrogen fixing like Rhizobium, Azotobactor, Azospirilum,
Acetobacter, Blue Green Algae & Azola and Phosphorous solubilisers/ mobilisers like PSM &
Mycorrizae. Recently, the Potash mobilisers like Frateuria aurentia, Zinc & Sulphur solubilisers
like thiobacillus species and manganese solubiliser fungal culture like pencillium citrinum have
also been identified for commercial operations. These new strains would also address the issue of
Fertilizer Use Efficiency and would also enhance the efficacy of Bio-fertilizers.

The bio-fertilizers were initially identified by a Dutch scientist in 1888 and thereafter Nobbe &
Hiltner produced for the first time under the trade name Nitragin in 1895 in USA. There has
been a continuous effort made by various scientists, Govt. agencies & extension agencies after the
first study on legume-Rhizobium symbiosis by NV Joshi in India as well. The usage was observed in
Tamil- Nadu (1956) and among Soybean growers in Madhya Pradesh (1964). However, the
commercial organizations truly came forward during 1990s. It is a matter of concern that bio-
fertilizer could not really become popular amongst farming community despite 5 decades have
passed probably the real pulse of farmers could not be understood and issued not addressed
appropriately.

Bio-fertilizers Market trend - All India:


There are over 100 Bio-fertilizer units operational in the country. These units produced about
20040 MT bio-fertilizers against the installed capacity of over 86000 mt during 2009-10. The year
wise capacity, production and sales trend of Biofertiliser is given in the table-1.

Table-1: All India Capacity, Production & Sales trend of Bio-fertilizers


(Qty. in mt)
Year Capacity Production % Capacity Sales % sales of % Sales growth
utilization production
2000-01 16446.0 6242.6 37.95 6138.6 98.3 12.5
2001-02 15439.0 7390.0 47.86 6876.1 93.0 12.0
2002-03 18679.5 8643.0 46.27 7000.0 81.0 1.8
2003-04 18632.0 10500.0 56.35 8500.0 80.9 21.4
2004-05 N.A. 10479.0 N.A. 10428.0 99.5 22.6
2005-06 N.A. 11752.0 N.A. 11358.0 96.6 8.9
2006-07 43495.0 15871.0 36.48 15745.0 99.2 38.6
2007-08 67162.0 20111.0 29.94 20100.0 99.9 27.6
2008-09 68804.0 25065.0 36.42 25000.0 99.7 24.3
2009-10 86078.0 20040.3 23.28 20000.0 99.8 (-)20.0
Source: Specialty Fertilizer Statistics, FAI (2011), MOA and NCOF, Ghaziabad

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The trend, as appears from the above table is that there has been significant addition in the
capacity of production of bio-fertilizers in recent years and one of the reason may be Government
concern towards deteriorating soil health, backend subsidy support on installation of production
unit linked with NABARD and inclusion of private sector also for subsidy support. However, the
production remained within a specific limit with a growth rate ranging 12% to 35%, which is
basically demand driven. It is also evident that the sales used to be almost 100% of the production,
which also indicates that production used to be demand driven, however, a significant growth has
been witnessed in the sales growth during recent past, which is a positive sign.

Marketing Challenges & Options in bio-fertilizer business:


In spite of being cost effective input, the Bio-fertilizers have not been accepted by the farmers
completely till now. Some of the reasons/constraints for low acceptance of Bio-fertilizer are
narrated below. However, the product modification as Liquid form has overcome few limitations
and has provided opportunities for Marketers.

Marketing Challenges

a) Bio-fertilizers are live microorganisms which dies incase of high temperature.


b) The shelf life of bio-fertilizer is limited to 6-12 months in powder form.
c) The Bio-fertilizers are used before sowing and delay in dispatches leads to inventory carry
over and expiry of product.
d) Some of the bio-fertilizer are crop specific as well as location specific and therefore its
efficacy does not remain same at different locations due to difference in agro-climatic
conditions & soil ediphic factors.
e) Soil characteristics like high nitrate, low organic matter, less available phosphate, high soil
acidity or alkalinity, high temperature as well as presence of high agro-chemicals or low
micro-nutrients contribute to failure of inoculants or adversely affect its efficacy.
f) The change in cropping pattern by farmers also adversely affects the sales.
g) Supply of Sub-standard or spurious material by some of the manufacturers also adversely
affect the credibility of the Bio-fertilizers, being a new product.
h) Some firms are selling organic manures as Bio-fertilizers. Some organizations mention shelf
life as two years/one year despite norm of maximum 3- 6 months.
i) Naturally occurring soil micro flora and fauna also often inhibits the growth of introduced
inoculums due to competition.
j) Lack of awareness of the farmers regarding benefits of bio-fertilizer.
k) There is no magic effect of bio-fertilizer & its impact is not visible in standing crop and
therefore farmer is not convinced with the benefits of bio-fertilizer use.

Some of the issues have been taken care of after inclusion of bio-fertilizers in FCO (Fertilizer Control
Order) by the Govt. of India. Moreso, the product innovation and new product development like
Liquid bio-fertilizer has also overcome some of the limitations.

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Option- Switching over to Liquid Bio-fertilizers as they are superior than powder based

1. Longer Shelf life to the extent of 12 to 24 months


2. No Contamination
3. No effect of high temperature as tolerant up to 45 degree celcious without any property
losses
4. Greater potential to fight with native population
5. High population can be maintained more than 10 *9 Cells /ml up to 12 months to 24
months
6. Easy identification by typical fermented smell
7. Cost saving on carrier material, pulverization, neutralization, sterilization, packing and
transport.
8. Quality control protocols are easy and quick
9. Better survival on seeds and soil
10. No need of running Bio-fertilizer production units throughout the year
11. Very easy to use by the farmer
12. Dosage is 10 times less than carrier based powder based Bio-fertilizers
13. High Commercial revenues
14. High Export potential
15. Very high enzymatic activity since contamination is nil

Strategic Marketing What it is!

Strategic Marketing is a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited
resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable
competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is the strategic advantage one business
entity has over its rival entities within its competitive industry. Achieving competitive
advantage strengthens and positions a business better within the business environment.

The rational business decisions would entirely depend upon marketing research,
understanding customers & their requirements, product modifications or innovations and
defining a appropriate communication strategy with developing a connect with the
customers. The rural marketing perhaps does not allow all of them or is being expensive
and prohibits many small players to remain out of the game or restrict to a limited
geographical area.

Some of the marketing strategies as suggested below may work strongly in the marketing of bio-
fertilizers:

Field demonstration :

The farmers do what they see because Seeing is believing and therefore result as well as method
demonstration are very effective tools in promoting biofertiliser usage. The producers may
synergize their efforts on this front as bio-fertilizers are new and it is very crucial to show the
impact of bio-fertilizer usage to farmers and educate them the economics /returns. Therefore a

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demonstration farm may be developed jointly, at different locations, defining a catchment area,
which could be shown to farmers at different crop stages.

Market Segmentation & Product Positioning :

The segmentation is primarily dividing market into various groups of buyers. The bio-fertilizer
market can be segmented by specific crop grower( Fruits/ Vegetable/Oilseed/
Pulses/Sugarcane/Cereals), institutional buyers ( Cane/ Tea/ Coffee/ cotton/ oilseeds/pulses
federations & research-farms, SFCI, Agro-industries etc) & the customer size (major/minor),
geographical location (high/ low consuming area & accessibility), and product application
(supplementary / exclusive). Once the market is segmented, it is important to target the market
& concentrate on the most profitable one.

Positioning starts with a product, but positioning is not what one does to a product; rather it is
what one does to the mind of a prospective customer. Thus, the product is being positioned in the
mind of the customer, i.e. how he perceives the product. In an over communicated society, the
marketer must create distinctiveness.

The appropriate USP (Unique Selling Proposition) needs to be identified & propagated widely, For
example: (a) Save cost through reduced dosage of chemical fertilizers(b) Improves resistance
power against disease (c) Enhance sugar recovery percent in sugarcane etc.

Pricing:

As mentioned earlier, Rural Markets are quite Price sensitive & particularly Bio- fertilizers, being
technical & new to farmers with lot of constraints, does not fall under the category of Zero
elasticity of demand and needs more PUSH in view of lack of PULL. The companies generally
determine price of a product on the basis of marketing objectives. Here, it is important to
understand how bio-fertilizer is perceived in terms of value offered for money spent by customers.
The bio-fertilizers have derived demand and So far, it has not really been perceived by farmers as
giving those economic returns by reduction in quantity of chemical fertilizers used. Unless, farmers
are convinced about substantial savings in cost of production through reduced usage of chemical
fertilizers & getting similar yield, probably biofertiliser manufacturers will not be able to apply
Pricing strategies.

Sales & Usage Promotion:

There is a great need to promote the product, both from the point of view of sales as well as usage.
The channel members i.e. dealer/ distributors need to be motivated by offering them tangible
benefits/ incentives linking sales targets, such as Free family tour, Gifts etc. Similarly, consumer
also needs to be attracted by offering them coupons, premiums, contests, buying allowances etc.
based on customer characteristics/ buying behavior. The progressive farmers/ village leaders
besides dealers may also be identified for the purpose of conducting demonstrations and should be
appropriately compensated.

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Publicity & Training:

The POS (Point of Sales) material must be made available to all dealer/ distributors and also needs
to be ensured that product is displayed visibly. Wider publicity through Radio and educational films
screening also needs to be taken up vigorously. Free distribution of bio-fertilizer during farmers
meeting must be avoided.
The orientation & training programmes for field sales force and dealers/distributors also needs to
be chalked out. There is a need of exclusive team of Extension Executives for promoting bio-
fertilizers with constant visits and developing a close connect with farmers and undertaking
Demonstrations with its replication in nearby villages.

Product Modification and Introduction of Innovative Products

The basic need of the modern marketing is to regularly keep a track of the consumers behaviour
and adapt immediately to the requirements or the benefits sought by the consumers. As far as Bio-
fertilizers are concerned, it has been consistently argued for over a decade that there are
tremendous product as well as market related constraints, however the marketing organization
have not been able to adapt to the business environment needs. The Bio-fertilizers in powder form
had several constraints, as discussed above, which could be overcome to a great extent by product
modification from Powder form to Liquid form, which have tremendous superior benefits, as
discussed below. The product innovation is another step forward towards tackling farmers issues
and some of them are the potash mobilisers like Frateuria aurentia, zinc & sulphur solubilisers like
thiobacillus species and manganese solubiliser fungal culture like pencillium citrinum, which have
been identified for commercial operations and are highly useful and economical for enhancing
agricultural productivity.

Marketing Linkages

The Marketing linkages with Technology providers like Drip Irrigation producers may be initiated
as Liquid bio-fertilizers have got tremendous potential as its application through this technology.
Similarly, the Tie-up with Export oriented Fruits; Vegetables, Tea & Flowers growers could be
undertaken as the organic products are being preferred by this segment due to compulsion of
importing nations condition of permissible limits of chemical residues in the produce. There are
some states like Sikkim & Uttrakhand, which have been declared as Organic States and therefore
agreement may be signed with their Department of Agriculture, State Agriculture University for
promoting bio-fertilizers usage. There are Sugar factories who could also be a bulk buyer for
Acetobacter and PSM / Potash mobiliser or Zinc & Sulphur solubilisers.

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How Bio-fertilizers are cost effective!
Table-2: Economics of Bio-fertilizers

Quantity of bio-fertilizer Equivalent quantity of Savings in Chemical Nutrients


chemical fertilizers
1 mt- RHIZOBIUM 100-400 mt Urea 50-200 mt OF N
(Minimum fixation of 50 kg /
ha)
1mt-AZOTOBACTER/ 50-100 mt Urea 20 mt OF N (Minimum
AZOSPIRILUM fixation of 20 kg / ha)
1mt-ACETOBACTER 80-120 mt Urea 40-60 mt OF N
(Minimum fixation of 200-300
kg / ha)
1mt-PSM 100 mt DAP 40-50 mt OF P
(Minimum Solubilisation of 40
kg / ha of P2O5 )
Source: A book on Bio-fertilizer for extension workers, Bhattacharya & Mishra

The above table shows that there could be substantial savings on account of reduction in Urea
dosage by 1 mt by replacement with 10kg of Bio-fertilizer and therefore , farmer may save more
than Rs.5000=00 per hector.

Bio-fertilizer production by KRIBHCO:


Kribhco started producing and marketing Bio-fertilizers since 1995 by establishing its first plant at
Hazira in Gujarat having a yearly capacity of 100 mt, which was later enhanced to 250 mt during
1998-99. Kribhco has established two more plants of 150mt per annum capacity each in Varanasi
(UP) & Lanjha (Distt. Ratnagiri, Maharashtra) during 2003-04.Presently, the total production
capacity is 700 MT per annum of lignite based powder form of bio-fertilizers whereas the
utilization has been more than the production since beginning and sales also used to be in line with
the production. Since 2010-11, the liquid bio-fertilizer capacity of 3.6 lakh kilo liters has been
created at Hazira (Gujarat)

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KRIBHCO BIO FERTILIZER PRODUCTION
& MARKETING
KRIBHCO Performance of Bio-Fertilisers
Production & Sale of Semisolid Bio fertilizer
CAPACITY PRODUCTION SALES %Sales Of
Sr. No. YEAR (MT) (MT) (MT) Production

1 2005-06 700.00 775.17 714.40 92.16


2 2006-07 700.00 751.54 784.31 104.36
3 2007-08 700.00 961.27 956.78 99.53
4 2008-09 700.00 864.98 867.47 100.29
5 2009-10 700.00 952.65 921.60 96.74
6 2010-11 700.00 964.52 939.39 97.39
7 2011-12 700.00 943.68 1000.75 106.05

1500
Production & Sale of
Lignite Based-
Biofertilizer P
MT

1000

500
Axis Title

KRIBHCOs share in the countrys total production is approximately 5 % and Market share also has
been ranging within the same limit. In spite of constant endeavor to promote the product & its
usage, KRIBHCO could not really accomplish the desired sales growth. The feedback from the sales
team revealed that there is an immediate need for product modification and this led to launch of
Liquid Bio-fertilizer during 2010-11 with a capacity of 3.6 lakh kilo liters per annum and achieved a
production of 5000 kilo liters in the 1st very year. The strategic marketing resulted into a significant
increase in the production and sales of liquid bio-fertilizers to the extent of 28 and 27 thousand kilo
liters respectively in the 2nd year. Farmers connect was continued with demonstrations and close
supervision of their crop growth during entire season and their positive feedback has created a
demand of 1.32 lakh kilo liters of liquid Bio-fertilizers during 2012-13, which is a great success in
introducing a new concept. Some of the Kribhco farmers success stories are narrated in coming
paragraphs. The farmers are being continuously followed up for understanding their changing
needs and it is expected to introduce new bio-inoculants of potash mobiliser, zinc & sulphur
solubiliser strains in time to come. It is significant to mention that KRIBHCO bio-fertilizer plants are
ISO certified.

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Production & Sale of Liquid Bio
fertilizer by KRIBHCO
CAPACITY PRODUCTION SALES %Sales Of
Sr. No. YEAR (KL) (KL) (KL) Production

12010-11 360000.00 5000.00 4460.00 89.20

22011-12 360000.00 28050.00 27600.00 98.40

3 2012-13 Plan 360000.00 140000.00 132000.00


KL: KILO LITERS

Production & Sale of


Liquid Biofertilizer
50.00
0.00
Kilo litre

2010-11
Axis Title 2011-12

KRIBHCO does not leave anything on chance and in line with ISO requirement; the quality is
checked at every stage in the process of production, which is depicted in the following photograph.

DOUBLE BEEM UV SPECTROPHOTO METER


FLAME PHOTO METER

ENSURING
QUALITY

LAMINAR AIR FLOW BENCH


PHASE CONTRAST MICROSCOPE WITH
IMAGE CAPTURE DEVISE

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Once the product is ready, KRIBHCO believes in confirming the quality within their own complex
having green houses and demonstration plots of different crops, in order to ensure that the
ultimate consumer gets the right & quality product which would fulfill their aspirations. The
following photograph is the evidence of confirming the quality of the final product.

CONFIRMING THE QUALITY

KRIBHCOs efforts towards promotion:

Kribhco has been continuously promoting the use of bio-fertilizer by educating farmers and making
them aware about its benefits through field demonstrations, farmers meetings, crop seminars,
Kisan Mela, Exhibitions, Technology Melas and free distribution of literature on bio-fertilizer
application etc.

Wall painting of Kribhco Liquid bio-fertilizer

o Kribhcos Strategy for promoting Bio-fertilizers usage


Minimum one hour topic is included on use and importance of Bio-fertilizer in each and
every promotional programme, besides distribution of Bio-fertilizer literature in local
language to farmers in each programme.

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Small programmes like Farmers meeting are more useful for creating farmers awareness
for use of Bio-fertilizers. In many Farmers Meeting *preferably night meetings] Kribhco has
been able to generate order of 5.000 to 20.000 MT of Bio-fertilizer.
Regularly organizing crop demonstration on farmers field on different crops.
Special efforts have been in tribal area for adoption of bio-fertilizer usage by small and
tribal farmers, where use of chemical fertilizer is meager. Now small and marginal farmers
in the area also prefer to use Bio-fertilizers.
It has been endeavored to popularize ACETOBACTOR strain of Bio-fertilizer in Sugarcane
crop. Now several Sugarcane growers have become regular buyers.
Encouraging Cooperative Sugar mills to procure bio-fertilizers in bulk and distribute to their
member farmers for collective use of ACETOBATOR in sugarcane, as it enhances sugar
recovery percent and it has yielded encouraging response.
Organized few demonstrations on orchards of Mango and Chikoo [Sapota] in Navsari and
Valsad Districts. Findings have shown encouraging results, many orchard owners have now
become regular buyers of Kribhco bio-fertilizers. Farmers visits of neibhouring areas are
also arranged of such good farms for adoption and replication effect. The demand of
Kribhco bio-fertilizers by Grapes and Banana orchard owners has also got a progressive
trend due to uniform & quality produce enhancing export market value.
Regularly invites successful farmers [permanent users of Bio-fertilizers] in promotional
programmes to share their experiences/views on use of Bio-fertilizers.

Success stories of KRIBHCO bio-fertilizer users:

(a) Success Story of a Sugarcane Farmer

Shri Rameshbhai Lad (Mobile no-09825271358) from Village- Sayan, Taluka-Olpad, District-Surat
(Gujarat) has sown Sugarcane (variety - CO 99004) on 5TH October, 2011 used Kribhcos liquid bio-
fertilizer @ 4ltrs./acre along with normal usage of chemical fertilizers and got an yield of 80 mt
/acre. The increase in yield is 15 mt more than normal yield in his area.

IMPACT OF LIQUID BIOFERTILISER


RAMESHBHAI LAD IN HIS SUGARCANE RAMESHBHAI LAD SHOWING
FIELD GROWTH OF SUGARCANE

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EXPENSES AND INCOME FROM SUGARCANE CULTIVATION BY RAMESHBHAI LAD
(PER ACRE)
SR. AMOUNT Amount
NO PARTICULARS (RS.)
With Liquid Bio Without Liquid Bio fertilizer
fertilizer
A CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS
DAP 100 KGS 1060 200 Kg 2120
MOP 150 KGS 666 150 Kg 666
UREA 200 KGS 1164 200 Kg 1164
AMMONIUM SULPHATE 50KGS 397 50 Kg 397
NPK [ 20:10:10] 100 Kg 600
COMPOST 250KGS 550
LIQUID BIO-FERTILIZER 4 LTRS 400
FERTILIZER COST Total 4237 4947
B CULTIVATION EXPENSES 11000 11000
C IRRIGATION EXPENSES 3000 3000
D WEEDICIDES SPRAYING 5000 4200
E LABOUR EXPENSES 10000 11000
F SEED (SUGARCANE SETS) 7500 7500
G TOTAL 40737 41647
Yield per Acre Qtls / MT 80 65
H EARNINGS FROM YIELD 144000 117000
I NET PROFIT 103263 75353
ADDITIONAL INCOME 27910
Increase in income % 37%
increase in yield % 23%

Analysis

There has been an increase in yield by 23% recorded over control plot at the farmers field under
Kribhcos staff supervision. The fertilizer dosage were recommended on the basis of soil testing and
the INM practices, which included Compost & Bio-fertilizers, whereas there was a reduction in
dosage of DAP by 50%,and NPK [ 20:10:10] by 100% with a savings of over 30%. The better
agronomic practices and intensive cultivation also facilitated in increased yield.

The farmers view

He used KRIBHCOs Liquid Bio-fertilizer by drenching them in the field of sugarcane and noticed
that soil has lost its hardness & uptake of nutrients also got improved. There was problem of water
logging in his field but after usage of liquid bio-fertilizers, it has decreased as porosity of the soil
had improved. The pH of his soil also reduced to 7.8 from 8.5. He decreased the dose of chemical
fertilizers by 30% compared to the normal dosage, but still crop did not lose its color and growth.
He got the yield of 80 MT/acre with additional yield of 15 MT/acre over normal yield. This has
resulted in increase of his profit by an average of Rs. 28000/- per acre at the end. He further
acclaims that Kribhco liquid bio-fertilizers have proved to be boon in this era of high labour cost, as
it is easier to use in the field which further curtails cost of cultivation. So he would like to use more
and more of liquid bio-fertilizer in future.

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(b) Success Story of a Banana Farmer

A farmer, Mr Ankit Dilipbhai Agrawal (Ph no.-9925251082) Village-Amletha, Taluka- Nandod,


District- Narmada (Gujarat) has sown Banana (Variety- G-9 ) on 02-06-2011 using Liquid Bio-
Fertilizer @ 2 Ltrs/Acre along with other chemical fertilizers i.e. .DAP, Urea, Potash, ZnSo4 , 20-20-0
and obtained an increase in yield by 9.92 %.

EXPENSES AND INCOME FROM BANANA CULTIVATION BY ANKIT DILIPBHAI AGRAWAL


(PER ACRE)
SR. With Liquid Bio Without Liquid Bio Saving /
PARTICULARS Unit
No. Fertilizer fertilizer Additional Income
A CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS In Rs In Rs +/ -
DAP Kg 100 1900 125 2375 475
MOP Kg 125 1325 125 1325 -
UREA Kg 200 1164 250 1459 295
ZINC SULPHATE Kg 25 600 25 600 -
NPK [ 20:20:0] - - - 50 700 700
COMPOST Kg 1000 4000 1000 4000 -
LIQUID BIO-FERTILIZER Liter 2 200 - - -200
Fertilizer cost / Sub Total Rs Total 9189 - 10459 1270
B CULTIVATION EXPENSES Rs - 13000 - 13000 -
C IRRIGATION EXPENSES Rs - 9600 - 9600 -
D WEEDICIDES SPRAYING Rs - 1500 - 1500 -
E LABOUR EXPENSES Rs - 8800 - 8800 -
F SEED Rs - 19600 - 19600 -
SUB TOTAL Rs 52500 52500
G TOTAL Rs - 61689 - 62959 1270
Yield Qtls - 288 262 26
Rate per Qtls Rs - 750 - 750 -
H EARNINGS FROM YIELD Rs - 216000 - 196500 19500
I NET PROFIT/ Additional income Rs - 154311 - 133541 20770
Increase in income % 15.55%
increase in yield % 9.92%

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Analysis

There has been an increase in yield by 9.9 % recorded over control plot at the farmers field under
Kribhcos staff supervision. The fertilizer dosage were recommended on the basis of soil testing and
the INM practices, which included Compost & Bio-fertilizers, whereas there was a reduction in
dosage of DAP by 20%, Urea by 20% and NPK [ 20:10:10] by 100% with a savings of over 25%. The
better agronomic practices and intensive cultivation also facilitated in increased yield.

The Farmers view

After using KRIBHCOs Liquid Bio-fertilizer in his Banana field through lateral as well as tank of drip
irrigation unit, he noticed that soil had increased its porosity and became soft leading to better
uptake of nutrients. There was a problem of EC and pH of water and soil which also became neutral
after use of Liquid Bio-fertilizer. He also got micro and macro soil nutrients tested at Kribhco Krishi
Pramarsh Kendra at Noida free of cost and used Znso4 as recommended while decreased the
dosage of chemical fertilizers by 25% compared to his normal dosage. He got the yield of 288
Qtls/acre, which was more by 26 Qtls/acre compared to normal yield. This has resulted in increase
of his income by about Rs. 20770/- per acre at the end. According to him, the Kribhco liquid bio-
fertilizers are the cheapest source to make easy availability of plant nutrients to the crop &
improve soil health.

(c) Success Story of a Cotton Farmer

A farmer, Mr. Shashikant G Girase, (Mobile No 09427472210) of Village -Piplod, Taluka- Nizar,
District-Tapi in Gujarat has taken demonstration on Cotton Crop (Variety Kribhco Swapna Bt2) on
10th June, 2011by using 4 liters of Kribhco Liquid Bio-fertilizer per acre with normal Usage of other
chemical fertilizers.

The average Yield obtained was 14qtls/acre, which is 3 qtls more than the normal yield in this
pocket. The farmer had additional earnings by use of liquid bio-fertilizer and compost is RS. 10760
per acre.

Photo: Mr. Shashikant G. Girase showing balls size in the field of KRIBHCO Bt Cotton using Kribhco liquid Bio-
fertilizer & Compost

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EXPENSES & INCOME STATEMENT FOR COTTON CULTIVATION BY SHASHIKANT G GIRASE
(PER ACRE)
Saving /
With Bio & Without Bio
SR.NO. PARTICULARS Unit Additional
Compost fertilizer
Income
A CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS In Rs In Rs +/ -
DAP Kg
MOP Kg 50 233 50 233 0
UREA Kg 100 582 100 582 0
NPK [ 10:26:26] 50 487 50 487 0
COMPOST Kg 200 840 0 0 -840
LIQUID BIO-FERTILIZER Liter 4 400 0 0 -400
Fertilizer cost Rs Total 2542 1302 -1240
B CULTIVATION EXPENSES Rs
C IRRIGATION EXPENSES Rs 4000 4000 0
D PESTICIDES SPRAYING Rs 2000 2000 0
E LABOUR EXPENSES Rs 5700 4800 -900
F SEED Rs 675 gm 1395 675 gm 1395 0
G TOTAL Rs 15637 13497 -2140
Yield Qtls 14 11 3
Rate per Qtls Rs 4300 4300
H EARNINGS FROM YIELD Rs 60200 47300 12900
I NET PROFIT/ Additional income Rs 44563 33803 10760

% Increase in Income 31.8


% increase in Yield 27.2

Major Learnings:

The liquid bio-fertilizers, particularly PSB has a control effect on fungus like Pythium,
Fusarium due to secretion of an enzyme and thereby prevent soil born diseases in Banana
crop
The liquid bio-fertilizers have been tolerant to high temperature up to 46* C as against
semisolid with tolerance limit of 35* C. More so, the bacterial count remains 10 times more
than lignite based bio-fertilizers.
The logistic operations are better for liquid based with greater shelf life to the tune of over
12 to 24 months. The recommended quantity is also relatively less as compared to
semisolid with better efficacy.
The application methodology of liquid bio-fertilizers for farmers is relatively easier and dirt
free as compared to lignite based with less chances of contamination. The liquid bio-
fertilizers are applied through drenching, seed treatment, drip irrigation, root dipping or
mixed with compost for soil treatment and are customer friendly.
The logistic operations like handling, storage & transportation etc are better for liquid
based with greater shelf life to the tune of over 12 months. The recommended quantity is
also relatively less as compared to semisolid with better efficacy.
It has been observed that liquid bio fertilizer prevent early ripening of Banana.

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It also improves keeping quality of agriculture produce.
Liquid Bio-Fertilizer application through drip irrigation gives better result.

The Road Ahead:

Potash and Zn & S solublizer/ mobilizer bacteria strains are under consideration and
likely to be commercially launched.
The penetration strategy and developing strong linkages with farming community through
special field demonstrations with special seminars on liquid bio-fertilizers, educational film
Production and its screening among farmers shall benefit all stakeholders.
The market for liquid bio-fertilizers provides better opportunities, but its strong quality
monitoring at each stage of production and its confirmation in trial research fields would
strengthen confidence of seller & buyer both.
The Increasing drip irrigation technique would enhance the usage of liquid bio-fertilizers.
NPK strains mixed bio-fertilizers are under study and likely to be introduced shortly.

CONCLUSION:
Indian agriculture used to be organic oriented since historic times but the competition for food has slowly converted
Indian agriculture into inorganic. This has not only been affecting soil health but also human/animal health adversely as
well. Finding a solution towards eco friendly approaches for sustainable agriculture became priority for the governments
and Bio-fertilizers/ Bio-pesticides offered a sigh of relief to some extent.
Bio-fertilizer is a large population of a specific or a group of beneficial micro-organisms like bacteria, algae & fungi. They
are eco friendly and highly cost effective and improve soil health. They also address the issue of Fertilizer Use Efficiency
to some extent.
There has been entry of new units and significant capacity built up has taken place over the years, however, the
production is limited to actual demand. The product and market poses several challenges, therefore, it has not been
accepted by farmers by & large. The government extension agencies have been involved in transfer of technology like
Lab to Land programme and other measures, however, the Fertilizer organizations have also been playing a significant
role in educating farmers, laying demonstrations and conducting promotional programmes in arousing interest, creating
awareness & adoption of this technology.
Strategic Marketing could play a significant role in establishing Bio-fertilizers, which begins from concentrating on the
limited resources and targeting the greatest opportunities. Therefore, understanding of the nature of market, customers
aspirations and providing appropriate solution to them through well defined communication strategies is the need of the
hour.
KRIBHCO has been marketing bio-fertilizers in powder form since 1995 and promoting it aggressively among farmers. The
product modification from powder to liquid form, lowering the constraints drastically, encouraged Kribhco for switching
over. The close connect with farmers of different crops and live demonstrations on usage of liquid bio-fertilizers at their
field showed encouraging results in terms of both increase in yield and income.
Recently, the Potash mobilisers, Zinc & Sulphur solubilisers and manganese solubiliser fungal culture have also been
identified and work is going on for developing NPK mixed strains, which would be taken up after educating the farmers
and confirming their impact on crop growth. The learnings shall be used to take corrective measures and formulating
strategies. The future appears to be bright for organic Agri inputs and accomplishing a healthy, sustainable &
environment friendly agriculture.

REFERENCES:

(1) Bio-fertilizer for extension workers by Dr Bhattacharya & Dr Mishra


(2) Successful Marketing by Pauline Rowson
(3) Liquid Bio-fertilizers by Dr Krishan Chander
(4) Specialty Fertilizer Statistics, FAI (2011), MOA and NCOF, Ghaziabad
(5) Related Websites

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