15 Mar 2019, 09:49 — 6 min read
Enterprise: Suma Agro India Pvt Ltd
Founder: Mr K. Karthik
Industry: Agriculture and Agri Products
Year it was founded: 2016
Based out of: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
The quality of our life depends on - the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. All of these in turn depend on the health of our soil. Chemical intensive agriculture has deteriorated the quality of our soil, resulting in polluted water and multiple nutrient deficiencies leading to serious health problems. This imposes a big challenge to farmers. In steps Mr K. Karthik, co-founder and CEO of Suma Agro India Pvt Ltd, that makes products to promote synergy between soil and plants. With an emphasis on sustainable agriculture, Suma Agro aims to rejuvenate soil with their unique Active Carbon Technology (ACT) products. They are the largest manufacturers of high quality humates in India.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) Mr K. Karthik (KK) shares his journey of establishing Suma Agro, the unique value of their products and the challenges the company faces going into the future.
GL: Tell us about your business.
KK: Suma Agro was founded in 2016 along with my co-founder Sumathy Balamurukan. We at Suma Agro feel that it is time for a new revolution in agriculture - a brown revolution, to rejuvenate our soil and feed generations to come with healthy food.
Humates and bio-silicons are the main products manufactured by our company. Humates are extracted from lignite. Since our raw materials are from natural sources, they are rich in organic carbon.
Up to 60% of yield depends on soil health. Humates are widely used in developed countries to build organic matter, increase water retention, buffer pH of the soil and increase nutrient uptake of the plant. Today humates are the single most productive input in agriculture. They are water soluble and can be used in drip irrigation or as a foliar spray. Our humates are tested and approved by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and are a certified organic input. Regular use of our humates can reduce the fertilizer input by 30% and increase the yield by up to 40%.
Our flower booster, ‘Flower Valley’ which is a bio-silicon, is a natural product to enhance flowering.
Suma Agro is committed to the concept of sustainability and innovation. We ensure that all the processes in making our products are sustainable and environment friendly. We aim to reconcile the legitimate, economic and social interests of our customers, partners and employees whilst safeguarding our natural resources for future generations.
GL: What challenges have you faced in establishing your business?
KK: We raised our initial funding from Ankur capital trust in 2016. Being the first manufacturer of humates in India, the regulations and quality control was neither available nor prescribed. Today if the same product is imported, there are no rules and regulations. But if the product is manufactured in India, the government asks for field trial reports, efficacy reports, quality reports, certifications etc. Our biggest competitors are Chinese importers who sell products which are synthetic, of sub-standard quality and are not certified.
The next challenge was selling our products. If you refer to any state government agriculture policy document, soil health is always a key focus area or thrust area. But we are still unable to sell to any government agencies except Kisan Vikas Kendras, even after Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNU) endorsed humates as essential for soil health. The Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NIC) took steps to include our products in the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). This should help us sell our products better.
GL: In your opinion, how does GlobalLinker enable SMEs to grow their business?
KK: I feel networking is essential to scale up any business. Since GlobalLinker is a networking platform for SMEs pan India and across the world, it gives a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect and expand their business. By networking with so many SMEs on a single platform, we can learn to scale up, talk to the right people and know more about product development, collaboration, compliances and regulations.
GL: What is your big business dream?
KK: Our dream and mission is to bring a brown revolution in our country. We want to be pioneers in soil health and make a prosperous impact in every farmer’s life. Our goal is to utilise our capacity and to sell over 2 million litres a year.
GL: What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
KK: My advice to entrepreneurs is that India is the only country with abundant opportunities. Choose the right bank, validate your ideas, have a business plan, connect with the right mentor and scale up. Agriculture is a growing sector in need of talented people. Agriculture is the key to address the world's biggest challenges; agriculture is full of innovation and opportunity.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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