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About VNR > CMD Interview
 CMD's Interview
 

Mr. Vimal Chawda

Chairman and Managing Director Vimal Chawda is the brain behind VNR’s steadily soaring success. The dynamic agri-entrepreneur answers questions about the company, its current status, growth prospects and the future plans.

 
Q: Where does VNR stand logistically in terms of land, seed varieties and presence?
A: VNR is present all across the country except Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The company has nearly 2,000 acres of land for seed production and it has so far developed 120 seed varieties and 3,000 breeding lines.

The company boasts of four research and development stations two each at Gomchi and Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) and two at Hyderabad - more than 90 acres of R&D land
Q: What would you say are the strengths of your R&D team?
A: Our research and development team lead by Mr K.C. Upadhyaya and Mr. Parag Agrawal thrives on intense dedication, excellent breeding skills and strong decision-making abilities. Both Mr Upadhaya and Mr Parag Agrawal, who breed paddy and vegetables respectively, have a rich work experience of 11 years. Both of them have Masters degrees in agriculture. Our Founder, Krishi Pandit Narayanbhai Chawda, has been awarded Doctorate (D.Sc.) by Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur for his dedicated contribution to agriculture research & innovation.Dr. Narayan Chawda himself acts as the research breeder, coordinator and supervising authority.
Q: What kind of work is being done by the R&D team currently?
A: Currently, our research team is dealing with quality paddy seeds. Work began on this almost eight years ago and is now almost complete. We hope to test market some of our hybrid paddy in 2007 monsoon. Simultaneously, work is also on with maize and pearl millet, tomato, capsicum and chilly.
Q: Has the company collaborated with agricultural institutes for research or training?
A: As a matter of fact, we have. VNR has adopted research technologies from institutes like the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) and even the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre (AVRDC) and International Crop Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

VNR is also constantly in contact with different agriculture universities all over India which help them in conducting trials for breeding. The company also receives germplasm from these institutes.

Besides, VNR submits its seeds to AICRPVC (All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Vegetable Crops) for multi-location trials all over India thus overcoming the constraint of limited research stations. This also helps VNR to seek recognition of its new seed varieties from AVRDC

VNR also facilitates R&D staff training at IIVR and IIHR. The senior scientists in the team have been sent abroad for conventions organized by the Asia Pacific Seed Association of which VNR is a member.
Q: What kind of marketing network does VNR have?
A: Four years ago, our marketing team covered only Chattisgarh. Now, our network has expanded to all states except certain southern states and few northern states like Himachal Pradesh and J&K.
We are hopeful that Himachal Pradesh market is likely to be covered next year, also our marketing team is materializing plans to penetrate southern markets.
Interestingly, during my visits abroad organizations have shown deep interest in partnering with us for exploring overseas business opportunities. I personally am working along with our strategic advisors to actualize VNR's overseas business intrests.
Q: What kind of quality checks does VNR do? Are its processes certified?
A: At VNR the greatest care is taken to maintain production standards for best hybridisation levels and to avoid contamination.

A thoroughly trained production team ensures the most stringent quality control measures. In May 2006, our R&D unit was certified by the department of scientific and industrial research.
Q: As a company that prides itself as for the farmers by a farmer, what kind of involvement in social welfare does VNR have?
A: As part of its commitment to giving only the best to fellow-farmers, the management of VNR ensures that its commitment goes beyond just its products and adds value to the life of fellow-farmers. The company, however, refrains from propagating business by using the VNR banner in any of these activities.

Along with experts in my staff, I hold meetings every Tuesday with farmers from surrounding areas at the company farm in Gomchi where we discuss various aspects of their work. We try to answer their queries and resolve their problems and also give them tips to improve their methods and enhance their yield. These meetings also serve as a good opportunity to update them about the latest technologies in farming. VNR also donates seed samples to them and various NGOs working for farmers.

In 2001, we formed the Sabji Utpadak Sangh - a forum to bring together all vegetable farmers to minimize the middlemen problem and adopt steps to maximize profits. Through the association, all member farmers are sent the daily rates of vegetables by fax so that the market can be regulated by supplying surplus to other states.

Apart from all this, we recognize the need to encourage education in order to empower young blood in agriculture and create a more informed breed of farmer-businessmen. In a step towards this purpose, we provide scholarships to children of farmers in Gomchi village for academic excellence.
Q: What is VNR looking forward to in terms of growth in the future?
A: We have phase-wise plans for the future to take the company ahead and give it an even more competitive edge. Among them are plans to expand and stabilize operations across India. Our overseas business intrests are shaping up very well. On an immediate note, we are making a foray into the Bangladesh market.

As far as our products are concerned, we have at least 20 new varieties of seeds in vegetables and crops like paddy, cucurbits, chillies and egg plant in the wings. We also intend to automate our various business processes.

Furthermore, in future we will work on identifying locations or area specific problems for various crops and develop resistance breeding so that we can offer products which can save farmers time and money and give them good quality harvest and great profits.
Q: What role you visualize for VNR in terms of Farm-to-Retail scenerio?
A: We are looking forward to play an important role in value chain where the new-age corporate farmers are doing the backward integration and redefining supply chain dynamics so as to implement farm-to-retail strategy. We aim to partner as agri-input and know-how providers to these strong corporate retailers wherein we provide the best quality seeds to their contract farmers who in turn supply the high yielding quality products to forthcoming green retail outlets all across the nation and extend the price advantage benefit to end consumer. Most of our varities have been researched to enhance the keeping quality of our products, this eventually will increase transportability of products giving flexibility in managing cold chain as back-end to forthcoming retail outlets.
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