Article SanLak Agro-Industries

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    editorialteam Active Member Staff Member

    Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu based organization empowering farmers with millets cultivation in organic way


    “Millets are an environment friendly crop. It is resistant to disease and drought. It can withstand high temperatures easily. Besides it takes care of public health as it is power pack of the nutrients as required by human body considering the change in our lifestyle. We do not need carbohydrates like wheat and rice. And above all millets are financially sustainable crops for the farmers if grown naturally without any chemicals,” says Mr. Vikram Sankaranarayanan, founder, SanLak Agro Industries.
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    Mr. Vikram Sankaranarayanan

    Company was set up in November 2015 at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. It provides technical assistance to farmers in growing different varieties of millets, purchases their farm produce in bulk, processes it and sells it in domestic market along with exports to South and Middle East Asia. All the products are sold under the brand name Smilyfe. “We primarily work with small and marginal farmers having landholding of less than 5 acres in drought prone regions. We are working largely with tribes too. And our entire attention is on growing millets strictly without any chemicals using indigenous seeds,” he adds. Millets grown are Finger (ragi), Pearl (bajra), Barnyard, Kodo, Sorghum (jowar), Foxtail, Proso and Little millet. Presently Mr. Vikram and his team are working with 20 thousand farmers across the villages in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and some parts of Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh.
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    Mr. Vikram graduated from London School of Economics, in the program specializing in labour economics, industrial relations and public policies. “I came back to India and wanted to do something in empowering others. In our country knowledge sector does have the opportunities but limited while in agriculture although 60% of our population belongs to this industry merely 2% of it contributes to the overall GDP. Thus I decided to empower farmers. Then I started understanding the entire system and found many problems. These problems were informed to policy makers through email. Out of 50 plus emails it was only Mrs. Shantha Sheela Nair, a retired IAS officer and the former Vice Chairman of Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission who replied to my email and met me to know my plans on empowering the farmers,” he adds. She introduced millet crop to Mr. Vikram and shared its’ salient and unique features. “She is my mentor and guide. She convinced me to motivate farmers on growing millets, the super food of tomorrow.”
    Vikram with his mentor Ms Shantha Sheela Nair.jpg
    Mr.Vikram with his mentor Ms Shantha Sheela Nair

    Millet processing is a vital aspect end product sale. So far millets have been processed in rice processing mill that not only removes the husk but also the bran thereby losing all the nutrients in the millet. “Millets are processed in-house in using best food processing machinery. We have set up a sister-concern ‘Borne Technology’. Through this company we have invented Millet processing machine. It is a customized machine for millets because the seeds are very small. It will be a complete processing unit de-huller, de-stoner, grading and all other operations. The unique feature of the machine is that it is made up of premium stainless-steel primary grain processing machine, the SS304. This guarantees that processed millets are of the highest quality with no rust contamination,” he shares. The machine shall remove the husk of the millet but retain the bran layer as it secures the many nutrients present in the millet seeds. “Mostly Karnataka state government will be our first client. They are helping us publicizing the machine and connecting us with National Food Security Mission so that the machine can reach in every part of the country. Through this company we want to have global production of millet processing machine.”


    Sharing the challenges he says, “First it is very difficult to win the trust and confidence of farmers. They accept the outsiders (specially the educated English speaking person) after a long time. Secondly farmers know about the merits of growing millets but they do not grow it because in India market for millets is still not developed. Consumers would also be aware of numerous health benefits but it is extremely difficult for them to replace their years’ long staple wheat and rice with millets. Even farmers want rice in his meals and not millets. So our business development team is working round the clock to develop the market for millets in India, pushing the demand.”


    In time to come SanLak Agro Industries aspires to expand its operations to Uttarakhand and Maharashtra, the state with huge problem of water scarcity. “Cultivating millets is the need of hour in this particular state,” he states.


    “By and large youth always sees opportunity for growth and prosperity in west but for me it is our country. I strongly feel there is huge untapped potential in India. Of course there are many challenges too and roadblock at every step yet the future is here! Farmer grows we all grow!!” he signs off.


    Contact details:
    SanLak Agro-Industries
    No.43, Madhusudhan Layout, Padmanaba Nagar, Civil Aerodrome Post, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641014
    Phone: +91-9629567371 , +91-9600596566
    Email: vikram.sanlak@gmail.com
     

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