As one of the pioneering agrochem companies in India, Krishi Rasayan has charted an impressive growth trajectory over 30 years.
In this insightful conversation, Mr. Atul Churiwal, Managing Director of Krishi Rasayan Group, provides assessment of the company's performance in FY2022-23, shaped by uneven rains and high global inventory. He outlines Krishi Rasayan's strategies to bolster exports, invest in R&D for patented products, and collaborate with Chinese players. Mr. Churiwal also shares his perspective on the future of the Indian agrochemical industry and Krishi Rasayan's vision to become a billion-dollar enterprise driven by biostimulants and exports.
As a key industry voice, Mr. Churiwal also provides an authoritative outlook on the sector's evolution amid rising domestic capability and global realignments.
Mr. Atul Churiwal, Managing Director of Krishi Rasayan Group
What are the sales of Krishi Rasayan in FY 2022-23? What were the main factors that affected the company's performance last year?
Sales of Krishi Rasayan in FY 2022-23 is INR 2339 cr. The main factors which affected the company were the uneven rainfall in the country, which affected the demand. Thus, there was hardly any growth in volume and the increase was only due to high prices.
Last year, the inventory in the global agrochemical industry channel was very high. What impact did this have on the company's production and sales?
The high inventory globally was due to the low demand in major consuming countries like Brazil, USA and India. Because of the same, there was a drop in volumes, impacting the company’s profitability.
With your new technical plant becoming operational, what are your plans to grow the export business? Which overseas markets are you targeting for expansion?
Our technical plant has now stabilized and we are producing more than 8 technical products. We are aggressively working on export registrations and are mainly targeting USA and Brazil.
You spoke about adding more patented products to the portfolio. What is your broader strategy around investing in R&D and innovation? What new products did the company launch in FY2022-23?
This year we have got registration for 5 combinations, which are patented by us. We are continuously working on R&D and expect to add further combinations products in the current year, which will be exclusive to us.
What did the company do in the domestic market last year?
Due to the low demand in the country, our focus was more on quality sale so that the outstanding can be controlled and there are fewer inventories in the trade. This led to decline in the volumes.
What do you think of the opportunities for Indian companies to develop domestic manufacturing and improve raw material sourcing? How is Krishi Rasayan approaching this?
The Indian Agrochemical companies are still depending on raw material from China. Our first priority was to stabilize our technical production and we are now looking to start some intermediates so that our dependency on particular molecules on China is reduced.
How do you see the competitive dynamics between Indian and Chinese players evolving in years to come?
Indian and Chinese companies will coexist as the as the world’s demand is being fulfilled by the two countries only. There are few products where Indian companies have an edge in the costing but overall Chinese companies remain the biggest exporters. However, as more and more multinationals are looking towards India, the future of Indian agrochemicals market is very bright and positive.
Are there areas where Indian and Chinese agrochemical companies can collaborate for mutual benefit? What kinds of partnerships could be envisaged?
There is a great opportunity for Indian and Chinese companies to co-work together. With Chinese Government tightening the environment norms, China companies have started looking for manufacturing in India and working together with Indian Manufacturers for the global market.
How can Indian pesticide companies work collectively, perhaps through industry associations, to address shared challenges around regulation, environment, safety etc? What role can Krishi Rasayan play here?
It is very important that the Associations work together so that the new regulations and the Pesticide Management Bill, which the Government is bringing, can be attuned to the industry’s needs. Krishi Rasayan was one of the founders of the Agro Chem Federation of India (ACFI), which is now the pioneer association. The Government has accepted a lot of suggestions given by the association. We are also playing an active role so that different associations can join together for a common cause.
Where do you see the greatest opportunities and challenges for Krishi Rasayan and the Indian agrochemical industry in the next 3-5 years? What is your vision for the company's future growth?
We believe there is a great opportunity both in the Indian market and overseas market for growth. The current challenge is the huge inventory lying at very high prices globally, which is affecting the demand and profitability. Our vision for the next 5 years is to make the company grow from the current level to USD 1 Billion in sales. We believe that the major growth will come from biostimulants and exports.
This article was initially published in AgroPages' '2023 India Focus' magazine.
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