With every new dawn, there is a new rising technology that is accelerating growth and transforming the business sectors. In these changing times, the agriculture sector is also adapting with the innovations and technology that are adding a boost to the green economy.
In this scenario, Biostadt India Limited is empowering farmers with their highly productive biological products. Established in 2003, today Biostadt India Limited is a very diversified agrochemical organization with a ground presence in biologicals, crop protection chemicals, aquaculture inputs, hybrid seeds, custom manufacturing, and international operations.
In a conversation with Mr. Juzar Khorakiwala, Chairman & Managing Director of Biostadt India Limited, we discussed the current industry scenario and how Biostadt India Limited is transforming the agriculture sector across the globe.
- Brief us about your journey, what inspired you to start Biostadt?
What inspired me to start Biostadt India Limited, is the fact that agriculture is a very critical industry in India that employs over 40% of our population. Hence, if India needs to grow, it has to focus all its efforts on this sector which is at the bottom of the pyramid. India’s per capita agricultural input use is the lowest in the world and therefore the opportunities that present themselves in the value chain are immense.
Biostadt India Limited was founded in 2003 and has flourished into a robust organization operating all over India with subsidiaries in the Philippines, Vietnam, and exports to around 15 countries worldwide. Over some time, Biostadt has diversified into a range of seaweed-based biological inputs using fermentation technology, under the flagship brand called ‘Biozyme’.
- What is the reason behind your company’s long-standing success?
There are multiple reasons why our company has been successful over the last 17 years. We have always delivered high-quality and efficacious products to our farmers. Our consistent focus on biologicals, which are ecofriendly and organic, has made us the largest organization offering biologicals in India today. Biostadt India Limited is a high-performance and professionally driven organization where people are at the center of all our strategies and executions. Most of our people have been associated with us at all levels, ever since the inception of the company which has thus, provided stability throughout our journey. The three birds of our tri-bird logo represent Speed, Growth, and Teamwork, which has inspired Biostadians to reach our goal of surpassing 1000 crore by 2021.
Our flagship brands ‘Biozyme’, ‘Nanozim’, ‘HyZyme’ and globally known as ‘Wokozim’ are novel non-chemical, non-toxic, and eco-friendly seaweed extract-based bio-stimulants.
Through our vast digital network, Biostadt has become a highly digitized organization that seamlessly connects suppliers at one end and customers at the other. Our open, transparent, and trust-based culture has been highly appreciated and accepted amongst all our employees and partners. I often hear about our ex-employees wanting to return to the company because they miss this very open and transparent culture that exists within Biostadt.
- What are the products the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
Biostadt is a pioneer in seaweed extract-based biological products which are highly effective for crop health and a quality yield. Our flagship brands ‘Biozyme’, ‘Nanozim’, ‘HyZyme’ and globally known as ‘Wokozim’ are novel non-chemical, non-toxic, and eco-friendly seaweed extract-based biostimulants. The fermentation-based biotechnological inputs are widely accepted by farmers all over the world. Leveraging our demand from the farmer community, we have also launched new formulation products such as DeLite, Nano Drip, Rejoice, Amaze XL, and Nanozim NXT. Soon we will also be coming up with Cradle and Mobilizer brands, which are Mycorrhiza-based products enriched with seaweed.
Helping farmers meet today’s agricultural demands, Biostadt products enhance soil health, makes the nutrient uptake better, provides stress-tolerance, increases root growth and the overall yield of the crop.
Biostadt also deals in crop protection chemicals, representing renowned Japanese multinationals such as Mitsui, Hokko, Sumitomo, Nippon Soda, etc., covering a range of applications in insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and weedicides. We have also ventured into a range of aquaculture products for pond management, with an alert field force to cover the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.
Biostadt entered into a 50/50 joint venture in Vietnam known as VinhThinh Joint Stock Company which focuses on the area of aquaculture. We continue to diversify our business in the area of agrochemicals covering the Indo-China region. Biostadt has also acquired a shrimp hatchery off the Nhatrang coast of Vietnam to strengthen the aquaculture business portfolio.
- According to you, how has biotechnology changed the agriculture sector in India?
Biotechnology products are the fastest-growing segment within the agricultural inputs sector in India and also the world. It has consistently shown double-digit growth whereas the chemical sector is growing at about 3-5% year on year. There is tremendous awareness for ecofriendly, non-soil damaging products which are engaging the attention not only of the farming community but also the general population at large. What started as a small initiative in this segment by Biostadt in India, has emerged into a growing agri-inputs segment in India and worldwide. Biostadt India Limited has been a pioneer in this segment.
- How do you decide to take the company a step further?
Over the years, Biostadt has grown organically through product diversification, market expansion, and adding related businesses like seeds, a separate division for horticulture crops (InGene Organics Pvt. Ltd.), and also related acquisitions in aquaculture in Vietnam, and the acquisition of Nandi Seeds Pvt. Ltd., in the last few years. This strategy has paid rich dividends and we will continue on this road map for future growth in related agricultural segments. Specifically speaking, we are working very aggressively with Japanese companies to bring to market patented molecules which will be commercialized in the next 2-3 years. This will propel the company’s growth to a different level.
- Being a successful leader in the biotechnology landscape how do you increase the quality and speed of business processes?
We are increasingly using IT processes in our areas of customer connect amongst our sales force who are digitally connected. Our manufacturing and supply chain processes are completely digitized on the SAP platform. Our HR processes are now getting implemented from a hire-to-retire model and are getting completely digitized as well. This brings transparency, quality, and speed into our whole operation.
My greatest achievement, which has given me a lot of fulfillment in my life, is the change and happiness that Biostadt has brought to our community of farmers.Juzar Khorakiwala
- What do you think are the responsibilities of an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur’s responsibility is typically to be on a prowl for opportunities, settle on ideas, convert into a business model and execute them with speed. The result of this process is the responsible welfare of its people at all levels and in the ecosystem, he operates in.
- Why is it said that the workforce plays a vital role in every business’s growth? Please tell us about your team.
It is true that people in any organization are fundamental to its success or failure. You cannot buy people with money like you do with machines, materials, technology, etc. People need to be nurtured and given the right conducive atmosphere. They need to be provided with a long-term vision and direction in which the organization is heading. Their career path needs to be aligned with the company objectives. Biostadt is extremely fortunate to have a strong leadership team at all levels. Our leadership ladder program identifies individuals, right from the lowest hierarchical levels to the very top, which serves as a tremendous direction and motivation for competent and capable individuals to rise to the top. This has been supported by novel compensation-backed schemes to drive business growth. We have very strong employee engagement programs across the organization which involves their families frequently.
- Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
I am a pharmacist by education and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines. From 1973 to 2003, I have been involved in our family’s pharmaceutical business before I decided to engage in the agrochemical business wherein I founded Biostadt India Limited in 2003. From a modest turnover of around INR 60 crores then, we have reached INR 1000 crores in 2021.
Apart from being the Chairman and Managing Director of Biostadt India Ltd., I am the President of BASAI (Biological Agri-Solutions Association of India), which is a group of like-minded individuals from within the industry, who understand the importance and need of government regulation in the biostimulants segment. I am currently the Vice President of IMC (Indian Merchants Chamber) and will become President of IMC later this year. I am also Chairman of Akbarallys Men, which was relaunched in 2015, as a high-street shopping destination designed for the modern man.
Previously, I was the President of the Rotary Club of Bombay Central (2002 – 2003), involved in various fields of social work. President of the Asian Institute of Management Alumni Association (India) since 1990 – 97, Chairman of Life Science & Biotechnology Committee (2001 – 02) of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber Managing Committee, Vice Chairman of the International Trade Committee of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Vice President of the Indo-Canadian Business Council and Vice President of Bombay Gymkhana (2007 – 2008). Additionally, I have been an Executive Committee Member of the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), an apex body of the National Pharmaceutical Industry in India. A member of the Bombay Management Association (BMA), Indian Institute of Materials Management (IIMM), and a member of the Governing Body of Allana College of Pharmacy.
- What are the key achievements of your entrepreneurial journey?
One of the key achievements has been the creation of the biological segment for which the industry has taken notice and has invited ethical competition which indeed is very welcome. Apart from that, it is truly very satisfying to facilitate the livelihoods of over 2000 Biostadians engaged in our organization in India and abroad. It has also been my privilege to be recognized in the industry and accredited with several awards and accolades. I have my family and the whole Biostadian team to thank for my success. My greatest achievement, which has given me a lot of fulfillment in my life, is the change and happiness that Biostadt has brought to our community of farmers.