Vinod K Chaturvedi, Founder & MD, Usher Agro Ltd, Mumbai

Monday September 15, 2008,

3 min Read

Usher Eco Power, a wholly-owned subsidiary of agro-food processing company Usher Agro Ltd, plans to raise Rs50 crore through an IPO by December 2008. The money will be used to install a 16MW captive power plant in Mathura, which will meet 75% of the company's power requirement.

Company is also planning to enhance its milling capacity of rice by 2 lakh tonne and will add another 3 lakh tonne milling capacity in wheat by December 2008.

"By the end of financial year 2009, we have plans to increase our market share from 1% to 5% of the total wheat and rice processing in India and become country's biggest agro-food processor," says Vinod Chaturvedi, Managing Director, Usher Agro Ltd.

The company recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Satake Corporation, Japan to expand its rice milling capacity to 1 million tonne by September 09. The company will also get exclusive technology for better use and production of by- products of rice for a specific period.

In conversation with YourStory, Vinod K Chaturvedi recounts his entrepreneurial journey and growth of Usher Agro Ltd.

The Idea

I am a CA by qualification and worked for a project construction company for 8 years. Finance and project execution were my core competency. I was looking for opportunities to start my own business; an industry with scalability factor, zero risk, and simple technology. I zeroed on food processing business and set-up a paddy mill (capacity-10,800 tonne) in 1996 at my hometown Mathura.

Starting years

I faced problems like any other entrepreneur. Food processing ecosystem in India is still at very nascent stage and highly disorganised. It took some time for me to set-up procurement, logistics, and distribution channel.

Turning point

In 2003, we added 46,800 tonne of rice milling capacity by opening a new plant in Buxar. IPO in 2006 was another major turning point. It helped us raise money to open a new wheat processing plant with 75,000 tonne capacity at Mathura. By December 2008, we will increase our milling capacity by 2 lakh tonne in rice and 3 lakh tonne in wheat.

Growth drivers

The fact that there is so much to be done in food processing business in India! India has the largest irrigable land in the world but produces one-third of total China's agricultural output. Now look at the statistics: By December 2008, we will have a wheat milling capacity of 3 lakh 75 thousand tonne but that is still just 0.5% of the total wheat production- 75 lakh tonne-in India. In rice processing too, we will increase our capacity to 1million tonne by 2012, but it will merely cover 1% of the total paddy production of 97million tonne in India. The food processing sector is highly disorganised and neglected in India unlike western countries and much needs to be done.

Business differentiators

We will become the largest food processor of wheat and rice in India by Dec 2008. And that is our business differentiator- an organised player in food processing.

Key requirements

We are looking for procurement agents, distributors, and dealers for our business.

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