With 3,000 MT of organic cumin production per annum, Rapid Organic Pvt Ltd of Sanchore, Rajasthan has been dubbed ‘King of Cumin’ in the B2B domain in India and abroad. Director, Yogesh Joshi, shares the latest developments in his company, and relates his ongoing endeavours to actuate better policies for farmers
What are the latest developments at Rapid?
Yogesh Joshi: News no. 1 is that we are launching our own home production—a farm management app developed by Rapid for its farmers and buyers.
The android app will help farmers in crop mapping and field tracking. The app will allow our buyers to monitor farming activities through their mobile phones. It will also let farmers update cropping details digitally and with ease. Additionally, it will permit our field officers to check upon farming activities remotely and the need for setting up of physical offices in every district will become redundant.
Also, having refrained from entering the retail segment earlier, we have now decided to enter the market with our offering, Mahiya multigrain breakfast cereal, which is a multigrain daliya. We are extremely excited about this product as it has been strategically developed to be delicious, as well as, mitigate risk of diabetes and cholesterol. Mahiya will be available for the retail market across India in all cities.
How can MRPs be lowered for organic foods?
Yogesh Joshi: The answer lies with many—the government who should support us more, the consumers who should purchase more, the retailers who need to lower margins, and so on. But we, as producers, can only help our actions. Therefore, the onus is also upon us to help lower prices.
We can accomplish this by not adding margins of more than 25%. It is true that retailers affix fat margins due to which the product becomes expensive. But if we resolve to offer a quality product at affordable prices, the end consumer will repeatedly buy it and even demand for that particular brand from the retailer, who in turn will be forced to lower margins. The solution has to start somewhere. And with someone.
What is Rapid’s USP?
Yogesh Joshi: Besides superior quality levels our biggest USP is our 5,000-strong farmer network. We care about our farmers and have diligently built a strong tight knit network over the years. We remain devoted to the cause of activating an organic movement in the country—a movement in which all should be included.
Our motto is, “Business with Farmers’ Happiness”, which literally means we want to move ahead, with our farmers by our side.
We also offer our farmers as much support as possible with regard to medical camps, tech and agri support, education for children, training, and the like.
You are known as an ‘activist’ for farmers. Are you speaking on their behalf to policy makers?
Yogesh Joshi: Yes, we do this routinely.
In the present scenario, farmers have to wait 3 years before being certified organic. I have appealed to the government that since many farmers are already completely organic by default, why not grant them organic certification in just 1.5 years? They are too poor to wait for 3 years even if companies like us are paying for certification. This is why many farmers do not join in. The wait is simply too protracted for them.
I have also asked the government to bear 50% of the certification fees. If urea can elicit subsidies, why not organic?
What was discussed in your meeting with Agriculture Minister, Radha Manmohan Singh, last year?
Yogesh Joshi: The new government has brought forth a renewed focus to the issue for which, we are both pleased and grateful. I met with the Agriculture Minister to request that 100,000 villages in the country be made entirely organic with government succour. He seemed to have received my request with positively and considerations are under progress.
This Interview appeared in the October 2015 issue of Pure & Eco India