Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, May 10, 2002
Agri-Biz & Commodities
New Products & Services
M&M arm plans 50 `Krishi Vihars'
BANGALORE, May 9
MAHINDRA Shubh Labh Services Ltd (MSLS), a subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra, plans to set up a total of 50 Mahindra Krishi Vihars across the country this year.
"Our vision is to help farmers increase yields and profits,'' said Mr Kamlesh Tripathi, Head Business Development, announcing the launch of Krishi Vihars in Sindhanur, Gangavathi, and Davangere in Karnataka.
These will be followed by centers in Mysore, Mandya, Kolar, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Shimoga, Belgaum, Dharwad, Haveri, Bijapur, and Bagalkot in the State.
Mahindra Krishi Vihars are a kind of one-stop shops ranging from retailing various agriculture inputs, offering package of practices and consultancy, and weather and price related information to helping farmers in their post harvest processes and forward linkages to processing units.
The concept, first launched two years ago, is the company's first foray into services. Leveraging on Mahindra's strength in the tractors, jeeps and farm equipment market, the centres are aimed at supporting the brand.
By 2005, the company hopes to have 16 per cent of the retail share, service 3 lakh farmers, increase yields by 25-30 per cent, and take care of 3-5 per cent of agri marketable surpluses.
Farmers' profitability can increase by 35-50 per cent, Mr Tripathi said. Two hundred hubs (with 10 "spokes'' each) would be set up by 2005, he said.
The yield increase is expected from implementing the package of practices, the information on crop prices, the availability of the right inputs at the "right time and the right price,'' Mr Tripathi said. The reduction in prices could also help in situations of unexpected price crashes, he said. So far, a package of practice has been developed for paddy, to be followed with packages for maize, cotton, sugarcane, and vegetables.
The Krishi Vihars will be run by franchisees, which will also make investments in it. Mahindra's investment will be in the form of support and information.
The centres are fairly large, the largest one being in Madurai over 8,000 sq ft. Modelled on the lines of supermarkets, they allow farmers to enter, touch and feel the products before making a buying decision, he said.
Mr Tripathi said that the company was open to collaboration with Governments.
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