AgriFort Technologies is a start-up joint venture Agri-input company incorporated in 2016. Withina short span, the company has achieved a remarkable growth by improving productivity and quality of farm produce through innovative products. Now, AgriFort has turned to be a leading presence in the farming sector. Mr. D.K Chopra, Honorary Chairman, and Sharad Awasthi, COO AgriFort Technologies India talk about the outstanding achievements of company in Agricultural sector, new plans and expectations…
Q- Please do share your experience regarding this venture- AgriFort Technology.
Ans- AgriFort Technologies is a new young organization launched last year in collaboration with International Company - Blue Quadrant. We had run our pilot operations in states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as a humble beginning. We are happy to receive quite encouraging responses from the end user farmers and channel partners. Farmers have shown great interest and need on our uniquely designed products based on Pro-biotic, Metabolites and Kelp Technologies under the brand name of NutriFlax, Konvertor and ViKelp respectively.
As a company we clearly see the segment of Soil and Plant health where a lot of awareness and work is required to help farmers in order to get optimum productivity and quality of their produce in a sustainable manner. During our pilot operations in UP and Uttarakhand, positive feedback and further endorsement from innovative, progressive and elite class farmers have helped us to expand our channel network pretty fast. Now we are focusing on to serve pan-India farmers for promoting scientific and sustainable agriculture.
Q- Blue Quadrant, which conceived this venture, is a transnational company having operations in Middle East, African countries, East Europe and Latin America. Tell us about research works you have conducted or planning to conduct both in India as well as abroad.
Ans- This was conceived by Blue Quadrant, Dubai, which is into selling and marketing various technologies in the domain of Civil Aviation, Banking and other segments as well. But their centre focus remains the same- TECHNOLOGIES. With fast growing economy and rising per capita income, India is today one of the most favorite destination for new technologies and investments particularly in Agriculture sector. With extensive market research, Agrifort is now well poised to turn a techno leaf in helping farmers to improve their productivity and quality of farm produce through innovative products.
Ans- Our Mission is to develop, collaborate and offer value added technologies, products and services for optimum farm output. AgriFort Technologies has marketing tie ups with players like Blue Quadrant, Spanish Global Company Trade Corp International offers more than 400 products for Foliar Fertilizers etc., SRIBS Biotechniqs - Mumbai are the few names to mention as of now. Our discussions are going with some Japanese companies for Crop Protection Chemicals.
Q- Point out your goals when you started. Tell us about the problems you faced in order to achieve them so far.
Ans- Our long term vision is to become one of the most trusted companies to serve farming community in India and abroad for scientific and sustainable Agriculture. We are quite optimistic with opportunities available in Agri-input. We don’t find any problem per say but to consistently bringing products of market need and education to the farmers are the key to move forward.
Q- As we know that yours is start up and there is a number of established giants. How do you think you will compete with them?
Ans- All the companies who are giants today, they also started their operations some point of time in past; and they are able to establish themselves with their own strengths and strategies in place. In Agriculture and especially in India huge scope is there to work to bring new products of fitment, farmer education, awareness, service etc. For AgriFort Technologies, FARMER IS THE FOCUL POINT TO SERVE. We are committed to bring innovative products, solutions and services for them and wish to contribute significantly and make a mark in the marketplace. Our company’s foundation is built on our value systems which distinguish us and guide our every action.
Q- Outline some of your new plans?
Ans- There are lots of plan with products and markets but as of now we are planning to introduce our wide range of product in different vertical like Plant Health, Bio product, Crop Protection Chemicals, Seeds, Water Soluble Fertilizers and aquaculture business in select geography the country and few African Markets.
Q- About the pilot operations you have conducted in UP and Uttarakhand?
Ans- We started our operation from UP and Uttarakhand to have feedback about product performance and its need. We received outstanding results from farmers and that gave us further motivation to expand our operations with greater confidence.
Q- Elaborate the concept of MERA GAON – MERE SAPNE?
Ans- MERA GAON – MERE SAPNE is an innovative initiative which is unique of its kind where AgriFort Technologies as a company is aiming at motivating rural youth to serve farming community towards scientific and sustainable agriculture by bringing them into entrepreneurship. Under this initiative, company is enrolling rural youth who is passionate to become nucleus point for farmers of his village and adjoining villages by joining the company as a franchise and open Agrifort outlet. Company gives extensive training to enroll youth to understand the challenges being faced in Agriculture and the solutions. This outlet shall work on farmer education, knowledge sharing, seminars, rewarding and recognizing innovative farmers, making coordination with Government bodies to connect with the farmers for schemes like Micro Soil Testing, Crop Insurance etc.
In this initiative enrolled youth can contribute to his village and adjoining area by venturing into entrepreneurship. And can have his dreams by staying in his own village- MERA GAON-MERE SAPNE.
Q- You are offering a variety of products for farmers. Tell us what makes your product different?
Ans- Yes, we shall be offering a wide range of products to farmers like research based unique plant health products, biocides, safe chemical pesticides, seeds and aqua-health care products. Plant Health Products will cover new unique formula based on Plant Metabolites, Pro-biotic and Kelp. These products will contribute significantly to get better yield and quality of the produce. We shall also offer excellent range of Water Soluble Fertilizers- WSF, Micro-nutrients etc.
Q- What would be your key strategy to reach out to the customers?
Ans- We would ensure quality in every sphere of our business - products, systems, processes, and team and trade partners. We are in the process of setting up our own R&D in Maharashtra that will work on new research and technologies.
It is often said that ‘People make the difference.’ We at AgriFort are hiring best resource from the market and our galaxy of leadership shall work towards our vision and mission with great passion. Team AgriFort will make the difference
Q- Your slogan “Farmer wins, we win” is touchy. What do you think about Agriculture in India? Is it Farmer friendly? If not, give your suggestions
Ans- Thanks for your compliment. As far as agriculture in India is concerned, needless to mention that still around 60% of our populations lives in rural areas. However, contribution of Agriculture in our GDP is only about 15%. That itself tells the scope and opportunity in this segment. If we look at three basic needs of our society Health, Education and Food- food has to come from Agriculture. With growing population and shrinking farms, demand of the food and quality of produce is going to be questioning and thus Agriculture has to grow. For the Farmers, lot of initiative and awareness program has been taken by the Govt and corporate houses but lot more to do. We think, there could be collaborations with Govt and corporate to carry out knowledge sharing and bringing awareness to meet the food requirement.
Q- Government of India is supporting rural and agricultural sector through a variety of means. This is definitely a welcome step for farmers but how is it impacted? What you think?
Ans- Government tries to give leverage to the farmers for better livelihood and I feel this is really admirable and as I previously said, “Farmer wins, we win”, so any of the government project relate for farmers betterment is interlinked with our business because end of the day farmers are most important part of our business.
Q-There are planning going on here to regulate agriculture market. Do you think that by 2020 we will achieve this target?
Ans- I believe whatever planning going on to regulate agriculture market is purely for sustainability of agriculture economy and now time rapidly changing so this is the right step to maintain the agriculture market. Any such planning must ensure that farmer almost get due return on their investment. A robust marketing infrastructure without middle man in between will help farmer realize good prices for their produce.
Q- India continues to rank at low position in terms of ease of doing business. What are your personal views? Has this government provided business friendly environment?
Ans- For any new venture and set up in any country for that matter, it has its own challenges that every organization has to pass through. But we must appreciate some new initiatives by the Govt like “Make in India”, “Stand up India” and “Start-up India” etc that is great silver lining to its further support. NDA government has taken significant step in terms of “Ease of doing business” in India. GST is one such an initiative. We do believe however that a lot more needs to done to facilitate and in fact encourage young entrepreneur and foreign investor, by creating efficient system and process.