Farm equipment maker New Holland Agriculture, a brand of CNH Industrial, is bullish on the Indian market in segments such as sugarcane harvesters and crop residue balers, where it aims to double the sales this year.
Raunak Varma, Managing Director and Country Head, CNH Industrial – India and SAARC, said the Government’s mandate to increase ethanol blending will drive the mechanisation in sugarcane cultivation. Only four per cent of the sugarcane harvested in the country is through harvesters, leaving ample scope for mechanisation.
New Holland, which sells tractors and other farm equipments, is the major player in the sugarcane harvesters and baler segment. The company is competing with players like Shatkiman in these segments.
“We see the India market for sugarcane harvesters more than double this year over previous year’s 200 units. We should be doing about 60 per cent of the market,” Varma said.
Raunak Varma, MD and Country Head, CNH Industrial – India and Saarc
New Holland, which introduced sugarcane harvesters in India from Brazil, has over the years localised the platform. Major cane growing States such as Maharasthra and Karnataka are ahead of others in terms of mechanisation in sugarcane cultivation followed by Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The adoption is not as much in Uttar Pradesh, where the company is making efforts to tap the No 2 sugar producer. “UP is a big market for us to crack and it is on our radar. Hopefully in a year or so, we will start to make a difference to the bigger mills,” Varma said, adding the company was working with the State government and the mills on the benefits of mechanisation.
Verma said the mandate for increasing ethanol blending means that the demand for sugarcane is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. Farmers and mills can look at improving productivity by adopting mechanisation. “Every 1 per cent increase of mechanisation can drive upto 300-400 units of sugarcane harvesters. It is not just the machine, but there needs to be lot of change required both in terms of mills and the farming practices. Wherever we sell these machines, we tie up with mills to help educate the farmers on how to plant and right time to harvest and also provide the advisory services,” he said.
“While the harvesters are bought by individual farmers, the mills work with us to guarantee that all the payments are made to us or the financiers. The harvesters benefit the mills a lot as depending on their crushing capacity, the number of harvest days can go up and sugarcane is a labourious process,” he said.
New Holland, which manufactures balers at its unit in Pune has seen a good offtake of the machines in the country. “The market is expected to reach to 1,100 units, which is up from 400-odd units last year. Lot of this is concentrated in North India, so far. While it is also a sustainable solution, you can use the residue to generate electricity, but at the same time it provides for fodder and the demand is growing tremendously. The push from the Government to replace coal and utilise biomass to generate energy and that’s driving the lot of demand. We expect the demand can grow 3 to 4 times. We are bullish on the baler market and localise for the Indian market,” he said.
The company has also set up a global R&D competency centre in India, which has about 500 employees. “We plan to double the R&D capacity to over 1,000 by the end of next year.”
The global farm equipment major also runs a non banking financial company (NBFC) which offers finance to farmers for purchase of agri equipment. The NBFC has a portfolio of ₹2,000 crore and has over 300 employees.
New Holland has seen its India operations grow by about 60 per cent since 2018 to about $900 million in revenues. “This year we hope to cross the billion dollars,” Varma said.