Mar. 3, 2017
A quick introduction of the Best Agro Group whose Managing Director and Chairman, Mr Vimal Alawadhi, is emerging as an important player in the Indian Agrochemical Industry.
Best Agro Group is a privately owned diversified agrochemicals company serving the Indian and global markets with a range of crop protection products, including insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and plant nutrients. Its business platforms use innovation and technology to address customers' demanding requirements.
| Vimal Alawadhi
Managing Director and Chairman
of Best Agro Group
The group operates four production units involved in technical manufacture and formulation.
The group successfully launched its brand ‘BEST’ in 2014 for the Indian domestic market. The company has introduced more than 50 agro chemicals in the market and promises to add more product ranges devoted to increasing crop yields and providing farmer-friendly solutions. The range includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and PGRs. The brand is now available in six Indian states and the firm has extensive expansion plans.
What is the market presence of Best Agro Group?
Best Agro Group is an emerging group enjoying good traction in most of the product segments. This business has been built on the company’s reputation for quality of its products and service. Our base is built on Technical Manufacturing, Formulations, Brand Marketing and Institutional Sales. The last four years have seen us growing at a rapid pace, year on year.
What is your vision for the Best Agro Group?
We recently acquired an agrochemicals manufacturing facility from Chemtura Chemicals India Private Limited, which is a subsidiary of Arysta Life Science (USA) owned by Platform Specialty Products Corporation. This acquisition gave us a strategic advantage in achieving our vision. This plant will enhance our technical production capacity by 5,000 TPA. This plant is located in an Industrial Development Zone, spread across 14 acres and is also capable of formulating insecticides, herbicides and seed enhancement products on six production lines in three production blocks. Our investment is in human capital and developing a strong R & D base. Best Agro Group was established to meet the needs of the farmers. With our initiatives, we intend to provide viable resources to the farmers.
Our vision is to stand shoulder to shoulder with the farmers by providing them access to the best products.
What makes Indian agriculture different?
In India, the quantity of agrochemicals used is low at 0.2 kg of pesticide being used per hectare. Farmers are mostly being reactive in the usage of agrochemicals but we are observing a paradigm shift in the agriculture sector.
In an analysis by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it was stated that since the 1980s, Indian agriculture has undergone a shift in production as farmers have planted less area for food grains and more for high-value crops. While this shift has coincided with strong economic growth and boosted agricultural incomes, yet agricultural policies continue to follow a strategy developed for self-sufficiency.
These trends are now changing with the government focussing on promoting higher value products and usage of advanced technology for increasing the agricultural income. A case in point is the push towards a digital economy. The adoption of digital economy is taking roots and will be significantly beneficial to the Indian Agriculture. It is the change in mind set which will drive the revolution.
Where is Indian agricultural market going?
Agriculture is going through a transformation right now. Even though the yield prices are getting better, the net income of the farmers is decreasing due to reduction in the size of the land holdings caused by land fragmentation. In India, the migration of people to cities is very pronounced. Decreased interest in agriculture and smaller land holdings are impacting the future of farming. There is a need to align our priorities to make farming both desirable and profitable. Access to latest farm technologies and improving education among small farmers is leading the way to a more modern approach. The farmer education is moving faster than the industry’s readiness to provide the latest in terms of farm inputs, crop analysis and precision farming.
At the same time climate change is a real and present danger. Significant amount of area under cultivation is dependent on timely weather patterns. Climate change is causing unpredictable seasons leading to either low yields or increased infestations and crop damage. Pest menace under the influence of climate is one of the factors limiting farm productivity.
Currently, we see that the agrochemical industries’ fortunes swing with the unpredictable demand and consumption caused by changing weather. Studies by UN and ICRISAT have generated the “hypothesis of hope” wherein the adoption of climate resistant crops, scientific soil and water management practices, even under climate change, will result in substantially higher and predictable yield.
But for this to happen - farmer education is critical and I believe the industry can play an important part in this endeavour. Companies need to invest more in understanding and planning to respond to the changing demands. Agile manufacturing and on-demand supply chain processes will be the future.
Predictable farm output will immensely benefit the farmers and businesses.
In all our discussions, you have been talking about the farmers so many times…
Yes, it is true that we are very focussed about the welfare of the farmers. Being from an agricultural background, our mission is to help the farmers by giving them access to quality agricultural products. My message to all farmers is to adapt modern and scientific farming. Farmer awareness will increase the crop yield, reduce the crop losses and increase incomes.
How do you view cooperation with China?
I had the opportunity to visit many plants in China and came to appreciate the size and scale of production. While India is known for its software industry, it is also a country of entrepreneurs who understand markets and can drive demand and consumption. India is emerging as a cost-effective production base. Value addition while keeping costs low is an area where India and China can partner. We are focused on creating infrastructure for economic production. Our state of the art production facility is equipped to meet the challenges of on-demand production.
Mr Vimal, in a short span, Best Agro has become a force to reckon in the Indian Agrochemical Industry, how do you view such progress?
Our roots have always been close to agriculture. Having grown up among lush Indian farms, I can relate to and understand the pain of the farmers. I wanted to do my bit for the uplift of the farmers, and this has been the guiding principle of my business. We will not rest till we can provide farmers with quality products at affordable prices. Over the years, I have seen the struggles of the farmers affected by unseasonal weather and exploitation in the hands of middlemen. It is my dream to help them overcome their problems.
How do you see the market reacting to the many mega mergers at the international level, such as between Bayer and Monsanto or ChemChina and Syngenta?
Whenever an Indian farmer plants a cotton crop, there is a 75 per cent chance that he is buying a seed from Monsanto. Whenever an African farmer uses agrochemicals, the chances are that these are from Syngenta. In Latin America, Bayer and DuPont are the dominant market players. While analysts and regulators are worried about the creation of larger monopolies, I see this as a transformation for the betterment of the farmer. I am optimistic that the mergers will help the companies remove their duplications, reduce costs and drive synergy. I am hopeful that we will see better molecules at farm friendly prices.
Businesses cannot succeed with profit as their only motive. Successful businesses focus on providing value to their customers.
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