Jun 5, 2014
Increased SOP Advisory Service in India
K+S KALI GmbH maintains an international extensive advisory and sales network globally. In South Asia the agronomic advisory activities are taken care of by K+S Fertilizers (India) Pvt. Ltd. in Gurgaon, near Delhi, India. The key objectives of the company include the marketing support for the K+S fertiliser product range available in India that is distributed by Indian Potash Limited (IPL), with a strong focus on promoting Sulphate of Potash (SOP) for use in chloride-sensitive, high value crops (fruits and vegetables). These activities include developing product brochures, leaflets, banners and posters in local languages and also supporting the distribution partner IPL when conducting farmer meetings. K+S Fertilizers (India) Pvt. Ltd. also maintains contact to universities and other research institutions engaged in research on nutrient use and fertilisation. In addition, the company is involved in the initiation and implementation of agronomic and social projects funded by K+S KALI GmbH, for example in the project “Unnat Krishi”.
Since October 2013 K+S Fertilizers (India) Pvt. Ltd. and its partner Indian Potash Limited (IPL) have joined forces concerning new activities regarding SOP. They organized several farmer meetings in various districts in India in order to train the farmers in sustainable nutrient management and balanced nutrition. Special emphasis was given to the importance of potash in general and to the use of SOP in fertigation and foliar application in particular.
Mango in India
Mango is the most important fruit of India and is known as “King of Fruits”. In August 2013 a booklet on ‘Mango in India`, was published in collaboration with SOPIB. This brochure is based on a K+S-financed, multiple year research project with focus on Sulphate of Potash (SOP) that was undertaken by renowned scientist, Prof. Dr. N. Kumar at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.
Various aspects of mango cultivation in India are explained by Prof. Dr. N. Kumar. Mango is grown almost in all the states of India. Among the various countries, India is the leader in terms of area and production. It is grown on about 2.3 Mill ha with an annual production of about 15.2 Mill t accounting for about 40% of global production. But compared to other countries like Brazil (16.4 t/ha), Indonesia (10.2 t/ha), Pakistan (11.0 t/ha) or China (9.6 t/ha) productivity in terms of yield (6.6 t/ha) is rather low in India.
The use of SOP in mango has shown significant yield and quality improvement as compared to Muriate of Potash (MOP) or farmer practice. In addition, quality parameters like colour of pulp, taste and shelf life also showed significant improvement with SOP usage. The brochure is being used to educate the extension scientists, marketing staff of the fertiliser companies and progressive dealers and farmers.
To the brochure “Mango in India”
Organisers and experts of the Mango growers meeting in Maharashtra (from left): S. K. Garg, Prof. Dr. Jóska Gerendás, Director K+S Fertilizers (India); Dr. P.S. Gahlaut, Managing Director IPL; Dr. S. G. Bhave, Director Extension Education, Dr. B.S. KKV, Dapoli, Dr. Surender Roperia, Business Development Manager K+S Fertilizers (India); Dr. Bhisham Pal, Agrononist, IPL, Mr. Basvraj Mistoli, Regional Coordinator, ATMA Project, Kolhpur. (Photo: K+S Fertilizers (India))
October 2013, Mango Growers Meeting in Maharashtra
Based on the guidelines detailed in above-mentioned brochure, K+S Fertilizers (India) takes active part to advice farmers in optimizing yield and quality through adequate cultivation and nutrient management.
A large mango growers meeting was organized by Indian Potash Limited (IPL), the largest importer of potash in India and one of the leading potash importers world-wide, during October 2013. The vent was attended by more than 400 farmers from nearby places at Vengurla, Konkan region of India. This meeting was addressed by Dr. P. S. Gahlaut, Managing Director, IPL. The farmers were also advised by local scientists with focus on SOP as source of potassium and balanced use of fertilizers in mango cultivation. Western Maharashtra is famous for growing ‘Alphonso’ mango. This variety is exported besides being sold locally, and the growers have tied up with the exporters and also formed their own cooperative to sell their produce.
Mango growers are familiar with the importance of SOP application in mango. “However, the continuous availability of the product is a challenge in this region. Considering the vast potential for SOP in mango, IPL is working out a new strategy to make sure that the product is available throughout the season and farmers have no problem in getting the product in time”, stated Prof. Dr. Jóska Gerendás, Director K+S Fertilizers (India).
October 2013, Grape Growers Meeting at Pimpalgaon Baswat
The main objective of state-of-the-art nutrient management in vine is to optimise soil fertility, yield and quality simultaneously. Vines require a well-secured nutrient supply throughout the vegetation period – especially during periods of peak demand and stress situations.
In order to point this out, the IPL staff organized a grape growers meeting at Pimpalgaon Baswat, district Nashik, Pandherpur and Nashik with together more than 700 farmers attending these meetings. Most of the grape growers are progressive and well-informed on the importance of using SOP (standard and water soluble grade) along with various other fertilizers. These growers also take advice from the local experts (university as well as progressive farmers) on various aspects of cultivation. The grape growers association also acts as facilitator of information to its members. Prof. Dr. Jóska Gerendás: “These meetings were addressed by well-respected grape growers who are known locally as “Grape Gurus” in the farming community. All farmers are using standard SOP as well as water-soluble SOP and we are lucky to have such experienced, advanced growers as supporters in practice.”
December 2013, Farmer Meetings for Fruits and Vegetables in Tamil-Nadu – Trichy and Theni
Trichy and Theni in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India are dominated by banana, grapes and vegetable growers. More than 900 farmers attended our meetings at both the places, organized by IPL local sales team. Local scientists of the TNAU University were roped in to educate the farmers on best growing practices with special focus on SOP and balanced use of fertilisers.
February 2014, Visit to Karnataka
Along with Mr. Ramakrishna, sales manager, IPL, Dr. Surender Roperia, K+S Fertilizers (India) Pvt. Ltd. visited fruit cropping areas in Karnataka, South India. “Farmers with grape and pomegranate orchards are very interested to grow fruits of high quality and are eager for knowledge on fertilisation. These farmers are using both standard and water-soluble grades of SOP in their crops”, Dr. Surender Roperia said.
Most of the grapes grown are for table and juice purpose. For table grapes, there are two harvesting seasons enabling farmers to take two crops in a year. The pomegranate acreage is also increasing in this region as a result of good crop economics as compared to other crops. Drip irrigation is installed in all the orchards of the regions visited. Some of the potato growers are also using SOP instead of MOP as source of potassium to improve the quality of their produce. A farmer training program was organized at Periyapatana, Mysore district, to explain the effect of SOP in commercial crops like turmeric and banana with more than 250 farmers attending.