The master of new venture – Rajesh Aggarwal

Leaving a legacy behind, our Mentor builds Insecticides India as a success story

For this entrepreneur, the two-decade-old business journey has been about learning and unlearning. He has made a virtue of artfully blending science and technology with an unrivalled commitment to record a unique success story in Indian agriculture.

"We started our journey in 2001 and since then our mantra of a better earth with sustainable resources and healthy ecosystems is incorporated in our products using modern Science and Technology," happily recalled Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides India. 

For Aggarwal, the business strategy stems from his core value of imagining a new life for farmers in the country. “To bring synergetic benefits to farmers by providing a comprehensive range of agrochemical product mix is our core value."

Tracing the history of the company, Rajesh Aggarwal said: “My father Hari Chand Aggarwal and I founded the company after moving away from the three-generations old business of pulverising mills, with an aim to uplift the farmers by bringing in world-class technology and provide the agricultural sector with the quality agrochemicals." 

Demonstrating the capability to reinvent by embracing technology, Insecticides India MD mounted an array of new-age products to benefit the farmer. "Our mission is to bring the latest technology products within the reach of even small and marginal farmers of the country. Insecticides India has a team of more than 500 crop advisors who are touching upon the lives of 10 lakh farmers every year."  

Insecticides India seeks to play the role of a catalyst in the transformational journey of the agriculture sector, which stood out as the silver lining in the aftermath of the pandemic-induced pain on the economy. This learning is of immense value to companies across sectors. 
 
For Aggarwal, the biggest drive is farmer welfare. The company wants to ensure Indian farmers don’t get left behind in a rapidly changing world. Its offerings include a varied range of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and PGRs (Plant Growth Regulators).  

Growth Story  

Aggarwal started its first formulation plant in Rajasthan in 2002 with a paid-up capital of only Rs 2 crore. The company has now emerged as one of the leading agrochemical companies in India, with over 100 products and is clocking a turnover of Rs 1,420 crore in FY21.  

Insecticides India has formulation facilities in Chopanki (Rajasthan), Samba, Udhampur (Jammu & Kashmir) and Dahej (Gujarat). It also has technical synthesis plants at Chopanki and Dahej to manufacture technical grade chemicals.  

Insecticides India MD launched Green Label, a paddy herbicide in 2016 which was being imported in India. IIL manufactured it is technical and formulation for the first time in India. And this product was available to the Indian farmers at a reasonably lesser price.  

Dwelling on his business strategy, Aggarwal said, "Together, we believe that the future will depend on being lean, agile and competitive in a resource-challenged world."  

The agrochemicals sector has played a pivotal role in the growth of agriculture activities in the country over the years. But like every sector, it is essential for stakeholders to keep abreast with the technological upgrades taking place.  

Fortunately, Indian companies have acknowledged this rapid shift and are making investments in this space to ensure the growth engine does not stutter.  

Insecticides India, also a midcap player which has managed to give robust returns to investors, is driving positive change. A dominant player in the segment, its focus now is to build a product portfolio that will help farmers meet their cultivation goals.  

"We have set up a product invention R&D Centre in JV with OAT Agrio, Japan which aims at new product invention, and this type of R&D centre is one of its kind in India, as most of the agrochemicals are being invented outside India and are brought to India for marketing them here. At this R&D Centre, we aim to bring out new agrochemical molecules that will be available to the Indian farmers and also internationally,” said MD, Insecticides India. 

 
As more countries begin to adopt stringent environmental regulations to follow green and clean products, there will be an increasing need for new products in this segment.  

Aggarwal is conscious of his responsibility to the ecosystem led by company shareholders. 
From a share price of Rs 72 (in BSE on June 1, 2007), the stock has created wealth for its shareholders over the last 14 years. The stock has given over 10x return to investors since its listing.  

Inclusive Approach  

Business needs to have a heart. Aggarwal's vision for a give back is evident in II's philanthropic outreach. The CSR arm of the company, IIL Foundation, works continuously to uplift the farmers with the right scientific knowledge and takes care of their children’s education.  
Over the years, IIL Foundation has conducted regular farmer education programmes in association with ICAR and IARI and has adopted many schools and villages.  

Sector Mentor  

India is now the fourth-largest producer of agrochemicals in the world. After the pandemic caused global supply disruptions, the government has now included the sector among 12 champion sectors where India can play an important role in the global supply chain.  

A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted that food energy requirements for South Asia will be about 2,700 calories per capita per day by 2025. In India, the current food grain availability is over 500 grams per capita per day.  
This presents an enormous opportunity for agrochemical companies' expansion and growth.  

Aggarwal is well aware of the opportunity since it is intrinsically linked to his vision of transforming the agricultural landscape in the country.  

For him and Insecticides India, the mission is to "make agriculture sustainable and profitable for the farmer ensuring food security for all living beings on earth making use of simple and effective technologies."  

Apply now for the Mentors of Global Bharat Program and you could be lucky one to get mentored by Rajesh Aggarwal.