Guest Discussion: Mr. Vivek Kapadnis

10 Jul 2018

Brief Introduction :-

Mr. Vivek Kapadnis is first generation entrepreneur. After  finishing his engineering & Master in Business Administration, he did work for some time for different organizations. And then decided to work for himself .  He started with a proprietor firm in 1997 trading in chemicals .In the last 21 years the company has grown into a manufacturing firm of unique innovative Agro chemicals and Animal feed products.

What kind of business you are in?

Currently we are into Manufacture of genuine certified Organic inputs for agriculture and feed supplements for Animal feed. We do this on a B2B platform through out India and also exports.

How long you are in this Business?

We have completed 20 years in this business.

What made you to do business in Agriculture?

I started the business as a general chemical trader for industries. But as I was based in Nashik ,Maharashtra state , which is a hub of agricultural activities,

most of the product enquiries were from Agricultural companies like manufacturers. Initially the awareness of quality of the raw material in the agricultural 

consumer companies was low ,which used to result in our products prices being higher than their expectations . Now with increased quality awareness 

and testing procedures ,we are the preferred supplier for most of them.

Now a days there is lot of awareness about Organic farming. What is organic farming?

Please understand that Organic farming and healthy food intake is necessary for the better future of entire mankind and ecology. But there is lot of ambiguity in the rules and implementation. There is no argument that everyone will wish to have or grow organic food. But how to get it done is the biggest challenge. We try to bridge the gap by providing certified organic products that will help the farmer grow the products and prevent the attack of pests and diseases.

Are organic products healthier than others. If so, are fertilizer based products  harmful to humans?

Yes, no doubt that organic products are healthier than others . Using conventional pesticides and fertilizers is harmful for not only human health but the entire ecosystem. The path to healthy organic food may differ slightly from location or ideology , but we are all unanimous in the ill effects of conventional pesticides and fertilizers.

Generally farming is not a preferred option in India, many people do regular job than doing farming. You are doing business with farmers. What do you see in terms of farmers troubles, Govt apathy and so on.

You have touched the very right point by raising this questions. Who is a normal farmer nowadays ?? Majority of the young farmers are those who failed or did not shine in our education system. Or those who could not get even a basic job in government or private sector. So government expects this person who could not clear the education system to follow all the government schemes and plant physiology ,the technicalities of the chemicals being used etc. No doubt that this person is extremely hard working , but due to lack of proper guidance , he falls short of providing the right productivity.

We see farmers unrest all over India. Is it a factor for you doing the business? How?

Farmers are in tremendous distress. He see's developments of malls and multiplexes all around him . The cost of all his inputs ,may it be seeds ,fertilizers or pesticides ,labour  have gone up many fold in last 20 years ,while the price of farm produce has nudgeed very marginally. Personally my company can address only part of the problem , but even then we are committed to do our bit for the society.

Can farming or agriculture based business  be a viable employment option?

Farming and Agri based business are two completely different aspects at least in India. Having a sugar factory ,or a cotton mill is a agri based business done by businessman who may not have a single acre of farm. Farming on the other hand is quite dependent on other external factors like climate /rains ,irrigation available,government policies ( suddenly the government stops onion export and the prices drop down drastically ) . Regulations of market committees etc . 

Farming can surely become a viable employment option if government can provide a strong mechanism for farmer guidance from the basics. It has surely done good work by setting up KVK's . But they are yet not enough.

Should farming subsidy be removed altogether? Can that help farmers and make it as a business?

Farming subsidy can be abolished if we consider farming as a business. But it is always very easy to say so. How are we to develop a mechanism to take credit of the GST tax paid by farmers on pesticides ( 18 % ) , other growth promoters ( 18 % , micro-nutrients 12 % , fertilizers 5 % etc. Can government open up the export policies for sugar ,onion and other farm produce ? Setting up Industry development corporations like MIDC can we do Farm development corporations ,which will promote value addition to the farm produce and more importantly reduce the losses due to perishability of the products.

Do you have ups & down in your line of business? It is recession free or always in recession?

Fluctuations in turnover ,change in policy and plans are part of business . It depends on your mind set ,how you take it. In the worst of the times we have recorded a rise of 50 %. Couple of years ago , When the rains failed in central India ,we concentrated our marketing activities in southern India and covered up the shortfall. This opened up a new avenue and spread out our risk for future activities.

All your product combinations and new process drugs, do they need approvals or certifications from Govt. authorities?

Majority of our research is in certified organic fertilizers and disease control products. Though the government has come up with a NPOP policy to support organic , at the field level and practically there is lot of harassment and confusion from the implementing authorities.

Where do you see business going? Any plans to do listing in near future?

Business is growing at a steady phase. If government comes up with some good regulation that will clarify some doubts on the organic inputs and  to support and promote  recognition of  organic  output ,it will go a long way in developing Indian manufacturers internationally.

You have mentioned multiple times about your better half Dr Smita and how she was helpful in your business ventures. So do you need to maintain work life balance or there is no separation between work & rest of life?

I was married when the firm was a proprietor firm & only me as its employee for 4 years. She has been a part of this journey and seen all the developments. She assists in maintaining the accounts on daily basis. She is a practicing Dentist and equally busy in her profession as well as her hobbies of sitar ,painting etc. As we reside in a small city of nashik we do not loose time in daily commutation between house and workplace. So mutually our work and family life is very balanced.

Thank you very much for sharing your views for our readers and all the best to you in your ventures.

Thank you.