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COMPANY REPORT

IFFCO, Sikkim govt ink MoU to explore organic value chain opportunities
Tuesday, 01 August, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Indian Farmers’ Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO), the world’s largest processed fertiliser cooperative, inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Sikkim, basis which, a joint venture, Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited (Sikkim-IFFCO) will be established to explore business opportunities in organic value chain.

IFFCO will hold a majority stake of 51 per cent equity, while the government of the north-eastern state will hold 49 per cent equity in Sikkim-IFFCO. The initial investment for the project will be approximately Rs 200 crore, which will be increased to Rs 500 crore in phases.

IFFCO also announced the acquisition of 50 per cent shareholding in Aquagri Processing Private Ltd, the pioneers in seaweed cultivation and processing in India, for Rs 11 crore through its wholly-owned subsidiary, IFFCO eBazar Ltd.

Seaweed cultivation and utilisation are priority focus areas and integral parts of prime minister Narendra Modi’s vision. On the same lines, Aquagri has the potential to create employment opportunities in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing.

Sagarika, a key brand developed jointly by IFFCO and Aquagri, was formally launched on Technology Day by Dr Harsh Vardhan, minister of science and technology, environment, forests and climate change and earth sciences.

It is an organic bio-stimulant derived from red and brown seaweed, which enhances crop productivity and provides resistance against stress. It is available in both liquid and granular variants.

The ministry of science and technology has recognised Aquagri’s research and development (R&D) centre.

Its research agenda is focused on developing an organic product portfolio by leveraging humic substances, bio-actives and other alternate sources of nutrition. They have also done considerable work in the area of bio-pesticides, particularly in neem and its derivatives.

Aquagri, from the seaweed biomass, also produces hydrocolloids for the food industry, which so far has been fully dependent on imports.

Its knowledge in the area of food processing will also be leveraged to explore the potential of potato processing and creating value-added products using crop waste streams like corncob and stock.

IFFCO would soon introduce a range of organic and non-chemical based products for crop nutrition as well as protection, while targeting both the farmers as well as the home garden segment. These products will leverage seaweed, fresh waterweed and bio-actives using a bio-refinery approach to create multiple products with the use of the same biomass.
 
Industrial-level mass production and packaging of this product range will be undertaken by Sikkim-IFFCO in Sikkim and this facility will cater to the organic input requirements of the entire northeastern region, which as per the stated intention of the government, is going to be a mega organic agricultural zone.
IFFCO will also explore the sourcing of organic produce, including flowers and herbs from the region, and will make them available to various companies pan-India.

To make these products available to the north-eastern farmers, IFFCO will also be opening at least two IFFCO e-Bazar centres in each of the seven sister states.

On these developments, U S Awasthi, managing director, IFFCO, said, “We always focus on better-quality products and value addition for the farmers’ produce, and of course, better competitive prices for the consumers. We want to focus on bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides, along with the organic product range.”

“Noble ventures and good ideas, which don’t result in profitable enterprises, are quickly forgotten, as they are not sustainable. We are looking forward to exploring organic opportunities across the country,” he added.

IFFCO plans to sell about 20 lakh litre of Sagarika liquid and 20,000 metric ton (MT) of Sagarika granules in 2018-19.
 
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