2019 Asia/Pacific Winner

Sri Srinidhi Agro Chemicals - Karnataka, India

“For the past 25 years I have been working relentlessly with a goal to serve the agriculture community,” says Sri Srinidhi Agro Chemicals’ Salur Sreedhar, who hails from the remote village of Malnad in India’s southwestern state of Karnataka. “I have seen the gap between the need and application of available technology in our country.”

Serving 450 retailers throughout Karnataka, the company focuses heavily on rice. As such, water conservation is especially important. It has organized training and education programs from agriculture consultants on developing technologies for the farming community, including drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting. It has also sponsored construction of artificial rainwater storage tanks in three villages and plans to sponsor two more by 2020. “As it’s a sustainable approach that rural communities start building the water storage structures themselves for the community, we can lead by example,” Sreedhar says.

Operating advanced irrigation equipment in remote villages also presents a challenge in terms of energy. The company has installed solar energy systems for 500 households, totaling 15 KW each, in the village of Arasikere in Karnataka’s Davangere district. “The unavailability of 24-hour-a-day electricity is a concern in my village, which impacts the everyday life of the farming community … This is the beginning of the change of mindset. Now the children of these farmers can have a better quality of life.”

Sri Srinidhi Agro Chemicals provides training on the importance of soil health and nutrition and works with fertilizer company Yara to create awareness, providing free soil sampling services to farmers.

The company conducts regular farmer and retailer training programs in identification of counterfeit and illegal pesticides, which are problematic in India.

“The consumer of today has become more aware regarding farm-to-fork stages and is keen on gaining knowledge regarding residues, pesticide application, hybrids, and biotech produce. They are more focused on quality than on price; people are ready to pay more for healthier and safe produce,” Sreedhar says. “But that will result in a gap if modern consumers’ preferences evolve, yet farmers’ status remains the same and low in terms of awareness. Then we cannot bridge the gap between demand from consumers and supply from producers.”

To that end, Sreedhar adds, “Our company is dedicated to improving the qualitative yield of farmers so it can directly improve the socioeconomic condition of farmers.”