Amit Saraogi, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Anmol Feeds Private Limited, is a qualifying civil engineer, who decided to take the unconventional route to start a livestock feed manufacturing business in the year 2000. Today it is a Rs 600 crore business, with Pankaj Tripathi as brand ambassador, and ‘Food’ as the evolved brand image. Saraogi now aims to firm up Aatmanirbhar Bharat sentiment and grow his business to Rs 1,000 crore by 2025.
Please tell us about your years of growth and the first signs of entrepreneurship. How did you think about starting a livestock feed manufacturing business after earning a civil engineering degree?
It is always difficult to penetrate into unexplored territories, by moving away from the traditional paths. It’s even more difficult to do coming from a modest background. There has always been a corporate “culture” in our family. We learned the value of money, of not being extravagant and above all, of being honest in our dealings with others. The spirit of taking risks and trying new things was ingrained in us. My goal has always been to have a business of my own. My dad was the biggest influence in my business and he always taught us to see the bigger picture. The idea of starting a livestock feed manufacturing business came to me while working with my uncle during summer vacation in a small shop we previously owned. I noticed a gap between supply and demand and a shortage of producers and suppliers in the industry. More importantly, it is an area where millions of young people in India can earn a living. After graduating from Civil Engineering, I knew I wanted to pursue a different career in life. With an investment of Rs 5 lakh from my father, I bought a manufacturing unit which had been shut down, in my home town of Muzaffarpur in Bihar. With the help of my family, I started a small business from there – Anmol Feeds. A lot of hard work, both physical and mental, went into pushing the business forward.
What is the type of R&D investment at Anmol Feeds and how do you compare in terms of quality, price and distribution?
We have strived to change the narrative of the animal feed industry by bringing modern advanced technologies, innovative practices and policies to improve breeding, feeding, livestock health care, management and trade. Nouriture is our evolved brand and an extension of our two-decade heritage. Food has been instrumental in propelling the vision of Anmol Feeds as a company into the future business of fish and shrimp feed, livestock feed and consolidating our poultry business. We have three R&D centers for poultry and aquarium feed, guided by renowned animal nutritionists. They are equipped with full equipment for disease diagnosis and surveillance laboratory for food testing. The centers evaluate the performance of various feed ingredients, test the nutritional value of ingredients, and offer innovative feed formulas and breeding techniques. We are thus able to reduce production costs and train farmers in good practices. On average, we have spent Rs 5 lakh to set up the R&D centers.
How do you envision partnering with brand ambassador Pankaj Tripathi, and how does he fit into the brand philosophy?
We wanted to create a high recall for our entire cattle feed brand, Godhenu Gold food, and our superlative product deserved a brand ambassador like Pankaj Tripathi who has a unique appeal across the country. He is our first brand ambassador for our cattle feed brand. He is an energetic and versatile actor with a rich working heritage. Being a farmer’s son himself, Pankaj understands the gap our brand is trying to fill. His everyday persona resonates with our brand values, and we believe the pairing will go a long way. not only achieving the desired brand recall, but also causing a paradigm shift in farmers’ behavior towards the right food. Our campaign with him aims to educate and inform farmers on why they need the right livestock feed for better yield. We hope the words ‘Sirf chusti nahi, pushti bhi’ are ingrained in the mind of every farmer and remain there for a long time.
What has been the response to the e-commerce portal through which farmers can buy livestock feed directly? How has it gone so far and how do you plan to further scale up the digital side of the business?
Our e-commerce portal is one of the first portals of its kind through which farmers can purchase quality feed for poultry, livestock, shrimp and fish directly from the company, avoiding the reliance on screws. -to resellers. Our main goal is to empower smallholder farmers with this portal and further our government’s vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Moreover, by digitizing agriculture, which is one of our main strengths, it is a step towards digital India. In the first two months of operation, the portal was able to help more than 2,000 farmers who purchased 300 tons of produce. Our goal is to serve over 10,000 breeders within the next three months. Currently we operate in the states where we have manufacturing/stock units – West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, North East, Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. We plan to expand it all over India so that farmers across the country have access to quality products. We have had a phenomenal response so far and farmers have recognized the convenience and benefits of the portal.
What are the challenges facing the business today, and before the livestock feed manufacturing space as a whole? What interventions are needed?
The livestock and livestock sector contributes 4.11% of GDP and 25.6% of total agricultural GDP. Yet, the sector has not been given enough attention in the 2022 Union budget. The Indian feed industry, which is currently growing at a CAGR of 8%, has also been left behind. The livestock industry needs a viable solution to control ever-fluctuating raw material prices. In addition, the import of genetically modified soybeans and maize must be authorized to fill the existing gap between supply and demand. Minimum support charges for contract farming should be set for the poultry sector. The government should consider putting in place policies to maintain a certain level of animal feed production. The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojna needs a 400% increase in its budget to properly reap the benefits of this sector. The fisheries sector has enormous potential to create jobs and restore livelihoods to reverse migrants.
After that ? What are your plans for the business in terms of revenue growth, new initiatives, expansion, diversification into other categories, or any other goals you have set…
Over the years, the development of farmers has been one of our main objectives. Training them in the use of modern technology for maximum production can benefit both farmers and the country as a whole. With the reverse migration of workers, it will be important to create livelihoods and jobs for our compatriots. Our target is to increase our revenue growth from Rs 600 crore to Rs 1000 crore by the end of 2025.We have redesigned our packaging with the QR code, so that instructions for use and other product information can be easily viewed by scanning the QR code. We are too create aquatic health products to add to our product line. The digitization of our brand is one of our priorities at the moment. We also plan to diversify into the pet food category. In addition, we aim to popularize animal husbandry, especially poultry and aquaculture, so that even young scholars can see the potential of the sector and join the business. Our goal is to create more of the “agripreneurs” the industry needs.
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Posted: Monday April 18th 2022, 08:01 IST