Advancement of agriculture sector benefits the small & marginalized farmers the most who are directly engaged with the sector. Proficient way of production, stabilized prices, higher income from agriculture would create more conducive environment in the country for the development of the economy.  

India is the 2nd largest producer of food in the world. Despite of strong dependence on agriculture sector, India has inefficient warehousing practices that lead to heavy losses in perishable & non-perishable commodities. India annually looses 10% of grain being produced (in dry goods alone) which in value amounts to ~Rs 1,00,000 Cr.

The data shows that losses during warehousing period are said to result in 7% loss of food grains and 30% loss of fruits and vegetable while 10% of valuable spices are lost during the storage period. But, the actual figures are much higher. In India, where post harvest losses are pegged at an average of 10% of the entire produce, SLCM has devised technology to cut these losses to 0.5% which translates into savings of 9.5% to the country. The Group has tested & proven the model in two distinct geographies like India & Myanmar. In India, SLCM has managed a technology enabled network of more than 1880 warehouses and 19 cold storages pan India with a total capacity of over 3.88 Million MT spread over 34.61 Million sq ft. and throughput of more than 491 Million MT. With the view to offer scientific support to agricultural economies of developing nations, the Group forayed into Myanmar market in April 2014 & has expanded its footprints to 34 Industrial Zones by managing an area of 8.60 Million Sqft, handling 157 commodities with a throughput of 1.87 Million MT.

The Group has been the trendsetter in the infrastructure-heavy domain & shifted the focus from infrastructure to services & made it a services-driven sector. SLCM is challenging the sector with process driven scientific warehousing practices irrespective of the condition of the warehouse while the other companies have been focused on creating world-class warehouses. There have been several warehousing companies in the sector but the entire peer group has been focusing on creating world-class infrastructure of warehouses. While SLCM has devised SOPs amalgamated with technology & agriculture domain expertise to store any kind of agricultural crop agnostic to infrastructure, location & weather pattern. The Group stresses upon the importance of scientific warehousing practices wherein commodities can be stored irrespective of the warehouse & its condition & thus SLCM is changed the paradigm.

SLCM has devised Standard Operating Procedures which amalgamates technology with Agri domain expertise & allows SLCM to operate any warehouse agnostic to infrastructure, location, weather pattern across any kind of agriculture crop christened as AGRI REACH (Patent Pending).

Agri Reach can be defined as an algorithm which combines series of processes, audits and SLCMreal time tracking of the facilities to give error free results and deplete the risks of crop damage. It uses techniques like geo-fencing to real-time tracking, bar-coded storage receipts, 79 internal audits along with a ‘Maker & Checker Policy’ at each level. In short, we can say, it is culmination of defined processes, its execution without any deviation & finally the monitoring for overall control.   

After solving the major problem of agri sector i.e. post harvest losses, the Group initiated efforts to address another challenge of farm credit in the sector. With the vision to solve the credit availability problem, SLCM set-up  ‘Kissandhan’ in March 2014 to offer agriculture financing to the small & marginal farmers, kaccha & pucca artiyas & other stakeholders involved in the agri value chain. It helps all the stakeholders of the value chain to store the harvest safely and get finance against their collateral. Now, the farmer gets funding on their collateral while SLCM ensures the quantity & quality of the commodity & the collateral can be sold at best available price at the discretion of the farmer which eventually reduces the risk of distress selling.

Kissandhan processes agri loans agnostic to the balance sheet of the borrower and the disbursement of finance is done in hours instead of weeks thus making the adequate capital available to the borrower in the real time of need. Kissandhan has set examples by sanctioning & disbursement of loans within 24 hours of approval. After solving the major problem of agri sector i.e. post harvest losses, the Group initiated efforts to address another challenge of farm credit in the sector. With the vision to solve the credit availability problem, SLCM set-up  ‘Kissandhan’ in March 2014 to offer agriculture financing to the small & marginal farmers, kaccha & pucca artiyas & other stakeholders involved in the agri value chain. It helps all the stakeholders of the value chain to store the harvest safely and get finance against their collateral. Now, the farmer gets funding on their collateral while SLCM ensures the quantity & quality of the commodity & the collateral can be sold at best available price at the discretion of the farmer which eventually reduces the risk of distress selling.

SLCM has been at the forefront of not only the services offering & innovation but by introducing our NBFC vertical, we have added the missing link of financial inclusion and empowerment to the supply chain.

As SLCM has already developed processes that are not only time tested but have been scaled to diverse geographies like India & Myanmar and have successfully implemented on different climate zones, the same will become the DNA of our existence in ASEAN regions too. The future plans are to provide agri warehousing, crop assaying, post harvest crop maintenance systems, procurement solutions and finally financing facilities to the ASEAN markets.

About Author

Mr. Sandeep Sabharwal

Group CEO – Sohan Lal Commodity Management Pvt Ltd (SLCM)

CEOHe is a veteran with diversified and rich experience of more than three decades in the areas like commodity storage, procurement, commodities market, processing, warehousing & financial services in the agriculture sector. He has been at the forefront for advocating policy change in this archaic sector with the Government & relevant Industry Chambers. Mr. Sabharwal has a strong presence in top-line business publications & channels that often look for his comments/ thoughts on issues pertaining to the industry. He has been an eminent speaker in several National & International Seminars & other Recognized Industry Associations for more than two decade.

Recently, Mr. Sabharwal was conferred with Entrepreneur of the Year in Services Business by Entrepreneur Magazine; Asia HRD Awards for outstanding contribution in the field of Human Resource Development; The Bharat Excellence Award by Friendship Forum of India; Mahatma Gandhi Ekta Samman & Bharat Jyoti Award for redefining the agriculture sector of India. He was also listed amongst 35 Most Innovative CEOs by Inc India recognizing his innovations in the sector. He has also been awarded with Certification on US Warehouse Receipt System from The Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and The Texas A & M University. He is a member of Executive Committee of Warehouse Development and Regulatory Act (WDRA). He is also a member of FICCI Committee which was appointed by the Government of India to study the warehousing model of United States of America.

Sandeep is an MBA from FSM, Delhi & prior to SLCM; he has managed businesses across the agriculture value chain.

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