Speaking at GlobOil Agri Conference 2017 being held in Mumbai, Satendra Aggarwal, COO, Ruchi Soya Industries Limited shared a positive future vision for the Indian agricultural industry.
While he expressed some concern on the declining contribution of agriculture to India's GDP, he was positive on how a "3D" approach of Development, Disruption, and Dilemma can bring about massive change in the farm sector through much needed reforms. He also shared his view on the major developments which have bought Indian agriculture to an inflection point.
The "disruption" caused by demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax ( GST) will transform the agriculture sector into an organized and unified national market with global access. The "development" steps such as the promotion of palm plantations, increase in the scope and coverage of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), enhanced fund limits from NABARD for crop loan credit and the establishment of eNAM (National Agriculture Market), all have the potential to create a revolutionary new ecosystem to ensure structural growth and progress in the sector.
Lately the "dilemma" of ensuring 'Make in India' has seen progress with the welcome increase in import duty on edible oils which will boost the domestic processing industry.
Aggarwal emphasised how the above had set India on the road to self-sufficiency in edible oil, the only basic commodity that is majorly imported further leading to loss of foreign exchange and puts risks on India's nutritional security. Quoting the Greek philosopher Epicurus, Aggarwal said 'Freedom is the greatest fruit of self-sufficiency'.
Connected to over 10 million farmers, Ruchi Soya is continually working to strengthen and protect the agricultural economy. From working closely with farmers to increase the use of drip irrigation techniques to achieve 'more crop per drop', to organising camps to educate farmers on the latest developments in agri-technology for yield improvement, the company has also developed various farm inputs for the palm plantation sector and provides technical assistance to achieve better productivity and income growth. Ruchi Soya is making all efforts to ensure that farmers' income doubles by 2022 in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Ruchi Soya is working on bringing the company out from the issues that developed over a period of time largely due to macro-economic conditions much beyond its control. Backed by favorable monsoon in the current year, the business is showing rapid signs of recovery on all fronts specially the flagship FMCG business. The arrangement with Patanjali for refining and packaging is progressing as per plans and leading to better capacity utilization. The recent corporate restructuring exercise to evaluate subsidiarisation and unlock value of the diverse businesses will enable a faster and efficient resolution allowing the company to come back on track at the earliest," said Aggarwal.