Article Sudarshan Rao - Turmeric grower turns into trader of agricultural commodities

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    Turmeric grower turns into trader of agricultural commodities. Based at Nagpur, Maharashtra

    “Farming and subsequently selling the produced crop helps to understand all the aspects of market meticulously. It is the best platform to learn on field. My journey in agriculture started with turmeric cultivation, followed by processing and finally selling the processed turmeric under my own brand name Mahalaxmi Agro in the year 2014. I sold by farm produced turmeric in bulk quantity. In this process I realized the potential for other products as well therefore expanded the product line slowly,” says Mr. Sudarshan Rao, founder Mahalaxmi Agro.
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    Company is based at Nagpur, Maharashtra. It is engaged in trading of 22-23 agricultural products namely spices, pulses, refined oil, wheat and rice. “We are growing turmeric, split pigeon pea (tuar dal), bengal gram (channa) and wheat in our own farmlands while other products are sourced from the network of 18-20 farmers.” Prior to becoming agripreneur Mr. Rao was working with Manganese Ore India Limited (MOIL), a Government of India undertaking as personal manager. “I was not happy with the scope of my job because I wanted to do something more meaningful for tomorrow as an entrepreneur. Agriculture is challenging but is promising industry so I selected it,” describes Mr. Sudarshan the drive to get into farming.

    Speaking of taking up turmeric cultivation he says, “I studied the market and found good demand for turmeric in ayurvedic companies. Once I was assured all my farm produce shall be sold I started cultivating the crop. I grow turmeric in 10 acre area. As I was growing it for ayurvedic companies I selected Salem variety as it has maximum medicinal properties than other variants. USP of Salem turmeric is its antiseptic medicinal feature, ideal for ayurvedic medicines.”

    Turmeric crop needs hot and humid climatic conditions and soil should be saline. It is sown in May and harvested in mid January. “Hence it is almost a year crop. It must be grown technically correct as it experiences three extreme seasons. Summers when it is sown, then tremendous rainfall and finally the cold in winters. It has to withstand three intense weather conditions. Therefore it is vital it is given timely farming inputs to produce quality rich turmeric no matter if it is grown organically or inorganically,” he adds. Being a commerce graduate with a background of business management initially Mr. Rao took the technical assistance and followed their advice and guidance thoroughly. “Besides I was personally involved throughout the farming process as I wanted to be assured of the rich quality of my farm produced turmeric. The yield I get approximately is 80-100 quintal/acre.”
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    Processed turmeric fetches better monetary returns hence Mr. Rao from the beginning never sold raw crop. “Processing steps are: first and foremost we wash turmeric thoroughly to remove all the dirt and soil, then it is boiled in our own boilers, dried methodically in the shade and lastly polished. We also sell large portion of turmeric as unpolished,” he elaborates. Polished turmeric needs to be sold as soon as possible because it has low shelf life when compared with unpolished turmeric. Former is used in cosmetic and food industry while the later in ayurvedic medicines. After harvesting turmeric Mr. Rao prefers to sow wheat, “In Northern region wheat is ideal crop to cultivate after turmeric while in Southern region pulses or sugarcane crop are recommended.”

    When asked about dealing into organic products, “I have a mix of organic and inorganic products. However, to tell you the truth acceptance of inorganic products is quite high in the market. It has more buyers than the organic produce,” he highlights. All the products are sold in seven different states in the country namely Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Uttarakhand. “Based on the demand we give our product requirements of the agricultural commodities to our farmers’ network.”

    Sharing future plans he says, “We want to get into manufacturing some wheat based snacks. Secondly we want to expand our product line to dry fruits. Agriculture in no loss making business instead it is wrong practices that lead to loss opine Mr. Rao. “All the crops grown need to be marketed well and sold at the right price. Farmer must not outsource marketing/selling. He needs to be proactive and have inclination to learn the new ways of selling his farm produced products. Efforts must be made by him for selling his products. Agriculture is profitable irrespective of its challenges if marketing is given utmost priority by the producer that is farmer!”

    Contact details-
    Mahalaxmi Agro
    Farm Address: Kinhi Village, Hingna Tehsil, Dist. Nagpur
    Correspondence: House No. 7, Sangam Chawl No. 5, Sitabardi, Behind Haldiram Foods, Nagpur 440012, Maharashtra
    Phone: 9561038378, 0712 2536061
    Email: sudarshanrao8@rediffmail.com
    Web: http://mahalaxmiagro.in/
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016

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