The agro products division specializes in hybrid seeds, tissue culture, bio-formulations, essential oils and extracts as well as herbs and dietary supplements.
Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited (CPL) is headquartered in Ahmedabad. When asked about the motivation behind starting the Agro Division, Ms. Geetaben Patel, V.P. & SBU Head of Agro Division, Cadila says, “Our Chairman has special emotions for farmers, so we started agro business in 1992.”
The agro products division specializes in hybrid seeds, tissue culture, bio-formulations, essential oils and extracts as well as herbs and dietary supplements. Cadila produces banana, pointed gourd, teak, bamboo, potato for domestic market and ornamentals such as cordyline, calathea, ficus, yucca, anthurium, orchids, chrysanthemum, syngonium, spathiphyllum, caladium, fern, lily and callalily for export market.
The pharma company’s tissue culture division produces high-yield products such as bananas, teak, sugarcane, bamboo and eucalyptus. The Hirapur tissue culture unit near Ahmedabad has carved out a niche in Asiatic lily bulbs, zantedeschia tubers, gerberas and about half a dozen foliages for markets in Europe, with Holland being the most popular destination.
[hidepost] Speaking about the advantages of tissue culture plants, Ms. Patel says, “The TC products have advantages like, true to type, are disease free, availability through out the year, high yield, good quality etc.”
Regarding the price of tissue culture plants, Ms. Patel says, “Prices are decided on the basis of cost benefit ratio of farmer. Price factor again depends on the type of farmer and crop. For example for TC banana plants, no price revision has taken place since the last 4 years.”
When asked about the steps taken to increase the market share in agri sector, Ms. Patel says, “For tissue culture plants, Cadila is creating awareness among the farmers by conducting farmer meetings and technical seminars.”
Further speaking about obstacles faced by the company in market share expansion, Ms. Patel says, “For expanding market share, we are facing major obstacles like lack of product knowledge amongst our target customers.”
Cadilla has two bio products:
· Josh is A VAM fungi based product. The technology is sourced from TERI New Delhi, which has been further fine tuned and commercialized. The product finds application in varieties of crops in supplementing P2O5- phosphate solubilization. The application of Josh helps farmers in reducing their fertilizer input cost besides P2O5 solubilization, the product provides plant growth promoting complex molecules to the plants which results into higher production.
· Kalisena is another biofetilizer, wherein the technology was sourced from IARI, New Delhi. The technology for commercial production has been upgraded in house. The product is available in two formulations: Kalisena FS for seed treatment and Kalisena SA for soil application. The bio products are most effective on cotton, tomato, chilly, capsicum, potato, sugarcane, cereals, forest and horticultural crops.
Cadila has a 600-km stretch in the Wayanad hills bordering Kerala and southern Karnataka to grow vanilla beans for export through contract farming. The company has contract farming arrangements with farmers spread across Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, with average cultivable holdings of five acres each, and supplying most of their products to CPL. The testing ground is a 20-acre farmland owned by the company in Bangalore, which decides on aspects such as agronomical techniques and cropping patterns. There is another 20-acre plot in Hirapur, near Ahmedabad, which takes care of CPL’s tissue culture project at the seminal stage.
Other Product Segment
The other agro product segment CPL is concentrating on is essential oils and extracts. The company has engaged farmers in Anand, Gujarat, to take up the cultivation of artemesia annua, the herb with anti-malarial properties. The other essential oils produced by Cadila are palmarosa, citronella and davana oil.
Meanwhile, in the dry flower and potpourri segments, the company has introduced products targeted at Gujarat’s corporate clientele.
Commenting on the new developments in Cadila agri business abroad, Ms. Patel says, “Abroad TC activities are mainly for ornamental crops except in few countries where it is being used for banana, sugarcane, datepalm, oilpalm and orchids. In India, we lack in product range, general awareness, financial limitations of farmers etc.” The company produces plants in laboratory and sells them to farmers. “We do not have any contract farming arrangements. Our land is in village Hirapur, 15 kms away from Ahmedabad city. Total area of land is 60 acres.
Annual Business Turnover
The annual business turnover of Cadila Pharma is Rs. 750 crores, while the Agro division clocks Rs. 6 crores. In terms of sale the company is mainly active in the western region of the country, and also some part of southern India.
The main marketing channels used by the company are dealers, direct marketing and government departments. Cadilla has 70 permanent employees and 300 skilled and semiskilled employees.
Speaking about the features that distinguish the products from competition, Ms. Patel says, “Our products are superior because of our product quality, after sales service, market information for final produce and product range.” In terms of quality certification, the company is accredited by DBT.
The established capacity of the manufacturing plants is 10 million plants per annum. “We have 2059 sq. mt total built up area having 43% operational area with class 10000 air quality, 382 sq. mt inoculation room area with 83 sittings and growth room having capacity of 6.25 million capacity at a time.
We also have 1800 sq. mt greenhouse, fully automated having 14000 sq.mt net house for secondary hardening at TCL campus in addition to 14 acres of hardening spaces at different locations in India. We have well equipped R & D lab for new products and process development in addition to in house troubleshooting,” says Ms. Patel.
It has alliances with leading research institutes like: Tata Energy Research Institute, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, National Botanical Research Institute, National Chemical Laboratory and the Central Institute for Medicinal Aromatic Plants for R & D. The company has also entered into strategic tie-ups with two offshore companies to take care of its marketing requirements: Tezier, France and VCI, Holland.
Ms. Patel is a Ph.D from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Post Doctoral from Finland in tissue culture and molecular biology. “I was with Godrej Agrovet Limited for 19 years before joining Cadila Pharma Ltd,” she says.
V.P. & SBU Head of Agro Division
Cadila Corporate Campus
Bhat, Ahmedabad-382 210, India.
Phone : +91-2718-225001