How KRBL turned out to be India’s Biggest Basmati Exporter?

‘I wish we had retained our full name, Khushi Ram and Behari Lal, instead of the acronym KRBL, since it speaks volumes about our legacy,’ reminisces Anil K Mittal. ‘After all, there’s a lot in a name.”

The famous Shakespearean phrase, ‘what’s in a name?’ has little to no importance in Anil K Mittal’s life. Anil is the chairman and managing director of India’s largest Basmati rice firm, KRBL – the manufacturers of the immensely popular India Gate Basmati Rice brand, among many others.

KRBL, since its inception in 1889, has come a long way. Currently headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, it was not the company actualized. It was founded in Lyallpur, the modern day Faisalabad situated in Pakistan. Back then, rice mills were simply a tiny chunk of their overall business plan and the company had interests in cotton spinning, textiles and banking.

Now, KRBL prides itself on being the world’s largest rice exporter and miller. It has over 30% share of domestic and 25% share of the branded basmati rice export market, with 2 functioning plants in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh with a combined milling capacity of 195 metric tons per hour.

For the financial year that ended on 31st March 2016, KRBL reported a total income of 3,594 crore, with a net profit of 334 crore. Over the last years, its capitalization has grown at a CAGR of 86%, touching 9,699 crore on March this year. Given the company’s brand value, lower cost of raw inputs and higher price realization, the statistics are not at all surprising.

The company managed it through various developments in its distribution channel, which further helped them penetrate and deepen their roots in the domestic market. They also successfully increased their presence across international markets and that helped them reduce financial vulnerabilities.

Delving back in time, Anil remembers how he formally joined the company in 1968 with the sole aim to leave an indelible mark in the family of businessmen. Once he had garnered enough experience, Anil set off on his own journey with a tender to supply barley to the army. That, he recalls, was the turning point in his life. And by the 90s, KRBL had transitioned into a fully-fledged rice business.

In 2003, after numerous successful decisions and eventful years, Anil decided to take over a sick unit in Punjab by the name of Oswal Agro Furane. The decision seems to have worked in their favour, and today, it is the largest rice plant in the world, processing about a million ton of paddy in a year. With a capacity of 140 metric tons per hour, it processes about 7% of Punjab’s paddy cultivation.

Now run by Anil, his brothers and his daughter, KRBL firmly believes that strength of a firm comes from its own people. And the employees should be given a fair chance at functioning like entrepreneurs within their realms, if a business wants to grow.

For more of such industry-specific news, keep following Nextech’s blogs.

Olam Engages Local Communities for the Rice Harvest

One of the leading agri-businesses, Olam International operates from seed to shelf in more than 60 countries, providing food and raw materials to over 23,000 customers worldwide. With their global rice supply chain and immense market strength, they have successfully linked their rice farms and smallholder farmers to clients in all the major rice consuming country.

A producer of renowned Mama’s Pride and Chef’s Choice Rice, Olam International has started harvest in its dry season rice farming season. For the process of harvesting, a total of 11 combined harvesters and a splitter harvest machine were deployed. “The high-tech machineries couldn’t, however, stop the farms from involving more than 600 seasonal farmers from the host communities from participating in the farming process”, Mr. Pieter Nel said.

According to the farm officers, the dry season farm comprises of 3,000 hectares, out of the total of 12,920 hectares. The dry season rice farm is expected to yield up to 4.5 tons of rice per hectare, which is more than 300% of the national yield, which sits between 1.3-1.8 tons per hectare. The high yield can be accredited to Olam International for involving some of the best farming practices, including but not limited to the increased soil standards to meet rice varieties. As Nel told, it was done following a series of laboratory tests on different soils. Other practices involved aircrafts for seedlings, spraying effective pesticides and applying quality fertilizers.

Mark Mclean, who’s appointed as the farm manager told that 1,400 hectares would be added to the 3,000 already being used. The additional land would be utilized for the forthcoming rain-fed season. Mclean also stated that over 100 rice varieties with high yields are being studied with a view to adopt them. Currently, only 4 high yielding varieties are planted, namely L34, C90, C20 and Faro 44.

Laying importance on safety and quality, Madan Singh, the Director of quality assurance informed how the company conducts relevant analysis to ensure the rice meets the nutritional value and is safe and does not use chemicals indiscriminately during production.

Abubakar Ogashuwa, the company’s Community Relations Manager, mentioned that the farms have created access roads that have been instrumental in linking the farms to six host communities surrounding them, provided them with solar power, introduced scholarship for the students, constructed classrooms with school compounds and built boreholes for each of the 6 communities.

He further mentioned how the Olam farm is in constant talks with the herders and nomads around to avoid complications arising out of their animals invading the farms.

Read through our other blogs to stay updated on the latest news and events in the rice industry.

Moving Towards Self Reliance: Nigeria Set To Shun Rice Imports

Just like a lot of other countries, Nigeria’s staple food item is rice. It’s one of the largest importers of rice in the African continent. Africa’s most populous country is also the largest consumer of rice. What’s troubling is the fact that it still relies on the imports to satiate its growing rice consumption needs. Over the last few years, Nigeria imported as much as 17 million tons of rice and as stated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the rice importation exceeded by 2.3 million tons in 2016. Nigeria consumes about 6.5 tons of rice annually and less than half of it is produced locally. The paucity arising from the rice importations costs Nigeria over $2 billion annually.

As import duties on goods escalated, rice prices in the country increased drastically. After the rice shortages during the grain crisis, the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari decided to channelize all his attention towards rice plantation and announced several plans to boost rice production by the end of 2017.

The dwindling scenario is changing slowly as small and commercial farmers are investmenting in rice production. The little success that this movement facilitated was visible in the variety of rice available in the marketplaces during country’s last festive season. Nigerians have started to demand locally produced rice owing to the fact that it is much more nutritious than the one that’s sourced, given that the country’s leading rice millers have started processing paddy as proficiently as their foreign counterparts. This increase in the awareness and demand has fueled the local rice production. Further, analysts claim that in the face of dwindling oil revenues, the federal and state governments; through Central Bank of Nigeria, drove certain campaigns to encourage local rice production, which was another important factor that led to a surge in the produce. To further escalate the production, the Nigerian government increased the allocated budget to $302 million, which increased the production by 500%, in comparison to 2016.

However, some analysts claim that the surge in Nigeria’s production is chiefly due to the massive investment by the agri-firm giant, Olam Nigeria Limited. Olam integrated a multi-billion dollar rice mill that had the capacity to produce 65,000 metric tons of rice annually and further increased the cultivated land to 10,000 hectares, which brings their total investment to $111 million. Combined with aircrafts to plant rice, apply fertilizers, 9 tractors and 11 combine harvesters, Olam is currently developing a 10,000 hectare, fully-mechanized paddy farm.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Nigeria has a huge potential to expand its rice production. Rice isn’t willed into existence, it needs to sown and cultivated systematically. The sector was neglected for a very long time. The government’s intervention has been remarkable but, still modest compared to the growing demand.

Beware! A New Breed Of Chinese Rice Is Here

In our previous blog, we talked about Red rice and its benefits. It may have been very informative for you considering that breed of rice is not popular. You are only aware about White rice, brown rice, parboiled rice, etc. Today, we will be discussing about another new variety of rice grain that has just hit the market and has left the consumers shell shocked when they discovered what it actually is.

Now before I proceed further, let me tell you something. This new breed or rice is no where ordinary. Its In fact not even a grain. It’s plastic! Yes. The trending commodity that has worried the buyers is the circulation of plastic rice. I know you must be wondering how come plastic is not differentiable from normal rice. You see, this is the tricky part. The hard work that has been done behind manufacturing this lookalike is genuinely commendable because the rice isn’t literally made of plastic. It’s plastic in the sense it’s fake. That’s why; it is also called as fake rice.

Manufactured in China, made from potatoes and sweet potatoes, the concoction is moulded with synthetic resin into the shape of actual rice. It is reported that this stuff has successfully made its way into numerous countries (including us obviously) where the rural population is significantly larger than the rest. And people aren’t able to differentiate it with the natural grain.

A petition has been filed in Supreme Court stating a real-time testing to be done and requisite action to be taken afterwards when verified because if this is what we are consuming everyday then sooner or later we will be doomed. Till the time something happens from the government’s side, there are methods that are figured to identify the fake rice and protect yourself from getting harmed which we will discuss in our following blog. Till then, stay tuned to Nextech Agri Solutions.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Eating Rice During Pregnancy

It gets little weird when a person is advised by a doctor to not eat rice during pregnancy. Reason being we love to eat rice. Infact there are people in abundance who prefer eating rice more often than wheat-flour chapattis not with standing the problems over dosage of the grain may arise. This staple food has been in the air since some time for the trouble it brings along with it, in particular for the pregnant women. Despite having numerous health benefits, rice is being criticized for its arsenic content. Given below are a breakdown of the pros and cons of eating rice during pregnancy: –

➢ ADVANTAGES

1) Rich in carbohydrates, rice provides ample of energy which is always beneficial for pregnant ladies.

2) Rice is a great source of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D, Riboflavin, Calcium, Fiber, etc.

3) The low amount of Sodium content keeps the blood pressure for pregnant women under control.

4) Since rice is cholesterol free, it acts as a subjugate part of a balanced diet.

5) One of the prime reason rice is considered as one of the best foods for pregnancy is because the antioxidants present in rice help multiply the level of immunity in expecting women.

6) Brown rice incorporates neurotransmitter nutrients that helps develop the minds of the newborns in a much sharper way.

7) In context to the foods that cause constipation, the existence of resistance starch promotes growth of instrumental bacteria which prevents from uneven bowl movements.

➢ DISADVANTAGES

1) Over consumption of rice during pregnancy can cause obesity.

2) According to recent studies, the presence of arsenic content in the rice can lead to premature death of the child.

3) Counting White Rice has a higher Glycemic Index; there are strong chances of getting affected with gestational diabetes.

Ultimately, if you are expecting a child and are about to make your pregnancy food list, make sure to consider the aforementioned points regarding rice and consult your doctor accordingly. Meanwhile for all sorts of news and updates regarding the grain, stay tuned to our blog.