IFFCO inks pact with Sikkim Govt.to explore business opportunities in organic value chain

| Updated: Jul 24, 2017 19:57 IST

New Delhi [India], July 24 (ANI): The world's largest processed fertilizer cooperative, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO), today announced signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Sikkim. The basis the MoU, a joint venture - "Sikkim IFFCO Organics Limited" (Sikkim-IFFCO) will be established to explore business opportunities in organic value chain. IFFCO will hold majority stake of 51 percent equity and the Government of Sikkim will hold 49 percent equity in SIKKIM-IFFCO. The initial investment for the project will be around INR 200 crore, which will be increased to INR 500 crore in phases. IFFCO also announced acquisition of 50 percent shareholding in Aquagri Processing Private Ltd., who are the pioneers in seaweed cultivation and processing in India, for INR 11 crores through its wholly owned subsidiary IFFCO eBazar Ltd. Seaweed cultivation and utilization is a priority focus area and an integral part of the vision of the Centre. On the same lines, Aquagri has the potential of creating employment opportunities in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing. "SAGARIKA", a key brand developed jointly by IFFCO and Aquagri, was formally launched on Technology Day by Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology. Sagarika is an organic bio-stimulant derived from red and brown seaweeds, which enhances crop productivity and provides resistance against stress. It is available in both liquid and granular variants. The initial response of the farmers for these products is very positive and encouraging. The Ministry of Science and Technology has recognized Aquagri's research and development Centre. It's research agenda is focused on developing organic product portfolio by leveraging humic substances, bio-actives and other alternate sources of nutrition. They have also done considerable work in the area of bio-pesticides, particularly in neem and its derivatives. Aquagri from the seaweeds biomass also produces hydrocolloids for the food industry, which so far has been fully dependent on imports. It's knowledge in the area of food processing sector will also be leveraged to explore the potential of potato processing and creating value added products using crop waste streams like corncob and stock. IFFCO would soon be introducing a range of organic and non-chemical based products for crop nutrition as well as protection while targeting both the farmers as well as the enthusiastic home garden segment. These products will leverage seaweeds, fresh waterweeds, bio actives using bio-refinery approach to create multiple products by use of the same biomass. Industrial level mass production and packaging of this product range will be undertaken by Sikkim-IFFCO in Sikkim and this facility will cater to the organic input requirements of the entire northeastern region, which as per the stated intention of the government, is going to be the mega organic agricultural zone. IFFCO will also explore sourcing of organic produce including flowers and herbs from the region and will make them available to various companies Pan-India. To make these products available to the north eastern farmers, IFFCO will also be opening at least two IFFCO e-Bazar centers in each of the seven-sister states. On the developments, Dr. U.S. Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO said "We always focus on better quality products and value addition for the farmers produce and off course better competitive prices for the consumers. We want to focus on Bio-Fertilizers and Bio-Pesticides along with organic product range." Dr. Awasthi further added "Noble ventures and good ideas, which don't result in profitable enterprises, are quickly forgotten, as they are not sustainable. We are looking forward to exploring the organic opportunities across the country." IFFCO plans to sell around 20 lakh litres of Sagarika Liquid and 20,000 MT of Sagarika granules in 2018-19. (ANI)