SCMS Cochin, recently awarded as Asia’s best emerging B-school at the Asian Confederation of Businesses, is really keeping pace with the fast-changing and ever-growing market of India, as well as the world.
In the 21st century, product innovation and technological advancement have been turning the wheels of success rapidly in the manufacture sector and IT enabled services. The modernisation of social media and various other sectors like Banking & Finance has also resulted in economic dividends. However, it is the agricultural sector that has experienced a steady decline in its share in the Indian Gross Domestic Product, irrespective of the fact that it employs a huge 52% of the total workforce.
The need of the hour is a drive that can pull even the urbanised workforce to consider the prospects of agriculture. Thus SCMSians were treated to a session of Institute Industry Interaction (III) with vibrant and dynamic agronomist, Mr. Sivdas B. Menon. After working in close association with various highly reputed Agri-tech companies like Amalgamation Group, Shaw-Wallace & Co. Ltd., etc., for almost two decades, Mr. Menon started out with an idea of his own. The thought came to him and was given shape in 1987 as Sterling Farm Research and Services Pvt. Ltd. (SFRS). This was a concept that changed his life, helped him share his vision and gave a mission to more than 250 employees working with him at present.
Kerala, also often called “Land Of Coconut Trees”, faced great problems with the disposal of coconut husks and coir fibre, which were dumped, and polluted the land and water. In such a scenario, SFRS created a market for waste products and created a revolutionary product that, according to Mr. Menon, can grow “vegetables on rocks”.
Putting the coconut husks through various organic processes and reactions, they actually succeeded in creating a soil substitute – Neopeat. It is an eco-friendly organic soil conditioner and soil substitute, and the best medium for Green House Farming, with a water holding capacity of 500 – 600%. It is highly suitable for commercial floriculture and horticulture and using Neopeat, SFRS produces tomato, cucumber, egg plant, capsicum, strawberry, melon, lilies, rose, etc., under green house conditions. Irrespective of the season, rainfall, etc., they manage produce which is up to international standards and is now exported to more than 30 countries.
The company is headquartered in Kerala and is also engaged in the manufacture and marketing of blended fertilisers, plant macro & micro nutrients, high analysis organic manure, coir garden care products, geo textiles and coir logs, besides others. Neopeat has proved to be the best soil conditioner for commercial plantations, flower beds, potted plants, horticultural crops, golf courses, landscaping, etc.
With such a revelation of a complete unknown segment of agriculture, awards and certifications soon followed. SFRS won the National Award from the President of India for Best Research & Development, and too many more to name, for its contribution to advancement in agriculture.
From this session with Mr. Menon, the one message that came across clearly from the personal experiences of this visionary entrepreneur was that today’s youth should think creatively and out of the box. They should be experimentally bold enough to leap into unexplored sectors. He motivated us to look for the opportunities that prevail in our surroundings and to make the best use of them. He also offered future help for consultation to budding entrepreneurs like us.
We, the students of SCMS, are privileged to have heard such a man of substance, who glamorised the unattractive sector of agriculture. Mr. Sivdas B. Menon is a game-changer and his story will influence the unrealised dreams of the students, who will be inspired to reach for the sky.
PGDM Batch 21B