Priyanka Singh - Founder of TAJ AGRO
Great Companies: Please tell me something about the business and how did you come up with such an idea?
Priyanka Singh: The Core idea of establishment of Taj Agro has been to connect our rural Indian farmers in our supply chain reducing the exploitation of middle men in the food industry. Taj Agro was started with the specific reason of direct supply and purchase from Indian farmers to begin, but yes our existing set of pharma and healthcare customers wanted to buy something in food industry like Basmati Rice, Protein powder, Egg powder and other such daily commodities, under a trusted brand name with guaranteed quality; that’s how, We came up with a separate Food Manufacturing and processing company in our existing Group companies portfolio. Further, this would give benefit to farmers and better price for their gains via supply to our processing units.
Taj Agro has been established with a concept to avail quality products of all agro Based Products’ requirements from non-farming countries, under one roof for Importers from various parts of the world and make them aware about wide range of unique products of our nation, which are yet to be shown to the world. Taj Agro Products is Agriculture based company in our country and "heart of this nation lies in a farmer’s field, aroma of fresh cultivated fruits, vegetables, milk, curd, lassi, Chai, and such day to day items". We are a self-sufficient nation; when it comes to “Food”!
Therefore, We Taj Group established this venture Taj Agro to promote our country’s long cherished agro products which is best known to the world and just a proper channel is required to facilitate it. This is what I am trying to do via our organization.
Great Companies: What are the various services and products provided by your company?
Priyanka Singh: Taj Agro major products which are exported are Basmati & Non-Basmati Rice, Sugar, Wheat, Soya Bean Meal, Pulses, Spices, Tea, HPS (Ground Nut), Sesame Seeds, Yellow Corn Maize, Dry Fruits etc. In health protein segment, we have Egg powder, Soya Protein Powder, Hydrolyzed Nutra products, Vitamins, health supplements, and mother care products. We also have innovative products like Essential Oil, Fruit Powder, Honey, seeds, Real Spices of India, Ground Spices, Blends, cereals and pulses, fertilizers etc.
Great Companies: Why should one choose you over others in this field?
Priyanka Singh: Taj Agro manufacturing facilities are based in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Our headquarters is located in Mumbai, and branch locations are at — Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Jharkhand etc. Taj Agro's wide network in India for outsourcing of right Agricultural commodities combined with years of expertise keeps us many steps ahead of all other Agro traders in our country. Over the years Taj Agro has developed an excellent Agro Product basket for manufacturing, processing and trading and simultaneously developing sophisticated infrastructure facilities for Sourcing, Milling/Processing and Shipping. Apart from our strong sourcing networks directly via farmers; our other major facilities include large warehousing; on schedule time delivery of Products; Credit Facilities to importers, Buyers, and always making innovative changes in our system which can keep us ahead among our competitors. We as Taj Agro is always looking to improve ourselves and connect more farmers. Every day is a new day and there is always some scope to learn and form your own strategy and consumer trends accordingly. Further; we are listed on major online shopping portals like: Amazon, Flipkart etc for customer ease to order and access to small quantity users.
Further, we are gradually looking to expand our sales on other such platforms as we are getting good response of customers.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Priyanka Singh: The most challenging has been to obtain sustainable supply from farmers due to usage of pesticides in the farming and agro based products to increase yields. Taj Agro has been actively involved in implementation of pesticides testing procedures under standard operating procedure (SOPs) of the supply chain. Further, as a Women Entrepreneur; I also faced some limitations to personally going on large farming villages; where "Female" is not seen as an authoritative figure to make a change; However, by educating the farmers with involvement of local village/districts rural cooperatives such as NABARD etc. So gradually we have started to see some changes.
The other challenging part has been to manage various States’ Licensing norms, new label norms by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) and thus following the regulatory part was bit challenging.
Further, learning and adaption is constant. We have hired good consultants and market experts; but yet we constantly remain updated about various food safety regulations, law amendments, implementations, documentation filing etc.
Currently our governments has made and implemented good reforms and most of the Govt. Licensing portals are online now; which have brought more transparency in our system resulting in overall increase in the Standard Operating Procedures. These steps would definitely bring positive changes in the long run.
Great Companies: What do you think are the few main things which are most important for a successful business?
Priyanka Singh: I am a content person; yet not satisfied with what has been done so far. I don’t consider myself successful yet. There is still long way to go.
There are different parameters of success for us as a team Taj Agro, but yes; if our employees are well paid, their children are getting quality education, good health and if Taj Agro customers are satisfied, and if new people are looking forward to associate with us; We as Taj Agro family consider such things as success and point of satisfaction. “As a generation next entrepreneur, I Priyanka Singh urge women entrepreneurs both to be courageous in what they do best and improve themselves further in every possible way to become more competitive and self-confident in business life.”
Businesses are built on trust and familiarity, with personal relationships playing a vital role in securing business deals. You will not only be judged based on your business proposal, but also on your personal characteristics. Few quick tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
1. Don’t make product only for elite.
2. Always maintain high quality and cutting edge technology and right price offer.
3. Always consider world as your market place.
4. Keep your vocation to be no. 1.
5. Always be on time for business meetings/ appointments.
6. Direct phone call always helps to judge your customer.
7. Do your research on your client business model, culture, infrastructure etc.
These days everyone does not have all the luxury to start things on their own not only because of funds but also because of the family as well as social constraints.
However, if an individual is able to make a right balance and pursue the venture by choice then he/she should start it with full-fledged positive thinking. Having said that; maintaining right balance is necessary, choosing like-minded people, venture capitalist, initial Licensing hurdles, and funding, right location, proper infrastructure, associating with vendors / suppliers and right channel of communication, if the industry is product based like us, and above all that should be “Passion to perform”.