SeedWorks International Private Ltd: Redefining Agri-Living the Right Way

SeedWorks International Private Ltd: Redefining Agri-Living the Right Way
Venkatram, Vasantavada, MD & CEO, SeedWorks International

The third US president Thomas Jefferson once said, “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds.” This understanding of our earth’s cultivators, of our farmers, led to the inception of one such firm, the existence of which relies on our nation’s farmers.

We are talking about the firm, which singlehandedly changed the life of 10,000 farmers, and its commercial seeds influenced close to 2.3 million farmers and enabled them to increase their farm production and profits.

A firm which increased employment in diverse regions by providing technical training and employing local youth for technology transfer, generating close to 6,80,000 jobs. A firm that has served farmers by providing them with the best quality seed solutions and by using the same farming community to produce seeds.

We are talking about SeedWorks International Pvt Ltd a Portfolio company of True North ( Formerly India value fund ) which has launched five independent investment funds with a combined corpus of US $ 2Billion. It is an agri-research corporation with a history spanning more than 20 years and the market name US Agri Seeds that brings the confidence and loyalty in all stakeholders.

“We are a plant science company with a legacy of more than 20 Years.”

Years in Making

Dr. Balaji Nukal and Wand Partners, a US PE fund, formed SeedWorks in 1998. The business started with vegetable crops and acquired reasonable market share in Okra and Tomato .Hybrid seeds in Field Crops was started in 2006 with BT cotton seeds entering in 2011. With this humble yet robust introduction, SeedWorks grew to become the largest household breeding company in India.

The company had some business acquisitions and mergers within the span of five years wherein amidst June 2015, SeedWorks Vegetables seed business was acquired by Bayer. True North acquired the Field Crop business in 2016. In November 2017, under the US Agri Seeds name, the company resumed the vegetable business.

In recent years, it has been gradually rising in the market shares of Cotton and Hybrid Rice and becoming one of India’s fastest-growing companies in terms of revenue. In 2019, it bought Millet and Mustard in order to broaden its portfolio.

Offerings Agricultural Excellence

SeedWorks International Pvt Ltd is an enterprise dedicated to hybrid rice seeds, cotton, millet, mustard and vegetables seeds’ research, production, and marketing. The products are carefully tested at 1022 agricultural environment locations preceding commercial sales.

The outstanding infrastructure, including the pathology laboratory, the entomology laboratory, and the biotech center, helps plant breeders to speed up and grow the farmer’s new varieties. In addition, the state-of-the-art supply chain and QC facilities, together with 570 team members work closely with farmers to help educate and guide farm productivity, and farm income.

An Erudite Leader

Managing Director and CEO, M. Venkatram Vasantavada has more than 20 years’ of experience in leading MNCs including Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer, Advanta-UPL, Deépak Fertilizers and Petrochemical Corporation (DFUC), and is the leading manager of Seed, Crop Protection and Crop Nutrition in India, Asia, and Pacific. He has a proven expertise in developing and running corporate enterprises efficiently with sustained revenue growth, productivity, market share gains, and global expansion.

Mr. Vasantavada has been bestowed with The HMA entrepreneur of The Year 2020 and the RMAI Leadership Award – 2016 for his remarkable contributions to the leadership role in rural markets and agriculture input industries. He has also featured twice as many as 50 of India’s most popular rural marketers.

Mr. Vasantavada graduated from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management (PGDRM) and is also a Graduate in Dairy Technology.

With his proficient leadership, the company has metamorphosed from being just a 100Cr+ company with a limited sales base and a poor level of profitability, to being a renowned market leader.

Mr. Vasantavada has also been instrumental in attracting talent, build an aspiring organization, develop sustainable revenues and profitable operations processes and systems, as well as the investment in technology. The company is ranked 24th among India’s big mid-size workplaces in 2020 and Best Employers Brand in all these efforts.

Meet the Team

A large Business development team of 514 is in place, who collaborate closely with the 2.3 million farmer base to supply them with the new seed technologies from SeedWorks. The department also offers flexibility for best crop management activities in order to achieve the highest production and profits.

With such a team, the company has reached and digitally engaged with customers through SeedWork’s official social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, etc. Informative Crop & Product updates, Interesting Product Campaigns, and farmers’ User Testimonials help the customers identify, differentiate, and decide on the offers from competitors.

Unity in DNA

The core of SeedWorks is Collaboration & Teamwork, Openness & transparency, Data and evidence-based decision making in compliance with “ Right Way”. The team solves problems through inter-functional projects and empowers individuals at all levels to participate in and give input (i.e. STAC-51 projects) in projects.

“The senior leadership team demonstrates openness and transparency in every transaction thus, inculcating the same in each of their respective team members. As a result of this, all employees find everyone approachable. The way we promote inhouse talent, enable them to think out of the box, and explore new ideas has resulted in positive developments in the organization,” expresses Mr. Vasantavada.

The company motivates and inspires the workforce with various human resource policies, awards, and appreciation. SeedWorks Ratna for permanent employees and SeedWorks Star for temporary employees. The company also provides leisure trips to teams both in India and abroad that perform consistently.

For the R&D department, the organization provides the chance to collaborate on innovative projects. This guarantees that people treat themselves equally and that any case is judged correctly and with a face value.

Mr. Vasantavada cites, “This being the center of everything we do—Building trust and confidence among all employees towards each other, towards the management and their supervisors, is one of the aspects which we are conscious and practice day in and day out.”

The Road Ahead

Continuing its mission, in the coming years, SeedWorks will place itself as a technology-driven business combining biological, chemical, and digital technologies, and supplying farmers with continuous seed solutions to increase quality and profitability. It will also invest in new-age technology to help grow crops that optimize natural resources such as water and soil.

Mr Vasantavada shares, “Living up to its mission SeedWorks will strive to position itself as a Technology driven business combining Biology, Chemistry and  Digital to provide superior seed solutions to the farming community thereby optimising their cost, improving their income  and overall profitability. It will continue to invest in technologies that would help conserve natural resources like Water and Soil and help mitigate the issues of Climate Change.”

“We are collaborating with many Start up’s in solving farmer and farm issues thru Advisory, Market Linkages, Real time solutions and educating them on new technologies to grow their crop better.  Our investments in skill development and capacity building will continue both for full time employees and associated.”

To conclude SeedWorks will be looking forward to the New Year with lots of positivity, confidence and hope to help our farmers with superior seed solutions and help our employees reach their full potential in delivering our commitment to all the stakeholders.

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