Zuari expanding network of farmer-centric stores

TV Jayan | | Updated on: Jul 25, 2018

Zuari Agro Chemicals Limited (ZACL), which has a 10 per cent share of the Indian fertiliser market, has chalked out plans to work more closely with farmers by opening more agri-input service centres, a top company official has said.

ZACL, which currently has 300 own-operated Jai Kisaan Junctions, will increase the number of such centres to 500 by the financial year end and to 1,000 over the next two years, said Suresh Krishnan, Managing Director, Zuari Global Limited, the holding company of ZACL.

While almost 90 per cent Jai Kisaan Junctions are in Karnataka and Maharashtra, where ZACL has a strong presence, the company recently set up 30-odd centres in Uttar Pradesh. The next stop will be Odisha and West Bengal, he said. A typical Jai Kisaan Junction, named after the company’s famous brand of close to half a century, is a 1,000-sq ft-space where farmers can avail of farm-related information, buy inputs and get several farm services including soil testing. Whenever needed, these stores — which follow a hub-spoke model — remotely connect farmers with experts from diverse fields for proper guidance.

“Considering that we mainly deal with wholesalers of fertiliser products, we have largely been a B2B company. In the last two years, we have been making an attempt to understand the needs of farmers better through Jai Kisaan Junctions,” Krishnan told BusinessLine recently.

“We believe that the serious reach to the farmer and the last mile connectivity — both to provide him knowledge and service and the inputs along with that — will go a long way in serving our farmers,” he said. These stores are manned mainly by locally-sourced agronomists together with store managers.

He also admitted that knowing the farmers, who are their ultimate customers, will help the company to develop more suitable products for them.

Naveen Kapoor, President-Agribusiness, at Zuari Global, said that there has been a 4 per cent increase in the offtake of phosphatic and 6 per cent of potassic fertilisers last year, while the urea sales were slightly down.

“The sale of urea in 45-kg bags will have a positive impact as it may help improve skewed nutrient management of soils in the country,” he said.

Published on July 25, 2018

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