Interviewer: In the era of people moving towards the tertiary sector and service sector, why did you choose to serve the agricultural sector?
Santosh Nair : According to Census 2011, India has 127.6 million cultivators for whom farming is the main occupation. They make up less than 10% of the total population.
There are nearly 15 million farmers (‘main’ cultivators) less today than there were in 1991, and over 7.7 million less since 2001, according to the latest Census data. On average, that’s about 2,035 farmers losing ‘main cultivator’ status every single day for the last 20 years.
Due to the haphazard use of chemical fertilisers, the quality of the soil degraded, the essential organisms in the soil were also destroyed. Thus, over the years, the soil lost its texture, quality thereby becoming unresponsive. The irony of this situation is that instead of taking it as a learning, we followed the same routine. The world now, is facing a grave food production problem and food security has become questionable concern. If something doesn’t change soon, then we won’t have food, at any price. The world’s population is expected to grow to nearly nine billion by 2040, and those extra two billion people will have to be fed with food which is not yet being produced. Not to forget the agro-climatic conditions and un-natural calamities which add to the damages to crops.
Agriculture has become a relatively unrewarding profession due to various factors like lower price of produce, agro climatic conditions, chemical inputs causing damages to the flora and fauna being another major issue, and others thereby causing abandoning of farming as a profession.
This caused unrest among me and after seeing the plight of the farmers across due to chemical inputs, I realised that India needs to be brought back on the world map as far as agriculture is concerned and this led to the formation of Miklens Bio along with Dr. Nisha MM in August 2016. Our personal inclination and passion towards agriculture led to our life Goal to provide “A New Hope” to our farmer brethren through our Agri-Microbial Technology (AMT) based products.
Interviewer: When people were least bothered about the farmers, you decided to stand by them. How would you motivate the young entrepreneurs to help the society?
Santosh Nair : I believe, agriculture will become one of the most thrilling professions in the next 20 years, considering many people are getting into agriculture by leaving their high paying corporate job. The nation is in the middle of an organic-food boom, and in case you haven’t noticed, a surprising number of boldface names are becoming part of it.
My only message to my fellow entrepreneur, as always will be “Meditate, Don’t Hesitate and Achieve Great”
Interviewer: With rising global warming it is important to use environment friendly products. How do you manage to do that?
Santosh Nair : Not only at our office premises, but also in our personal lives, we ensure to use products which are easily absorbed by the environment without causing any harm. Likewise, all our products are derivatives of microbes and their extracts, thus giving nature back to nature in one sense. We support Chemical Free Agriculture and are striving to develop products which helps farmers to increase their productivity and profitability. To add to the trust, our products have been certified as “Approved Input for Organic Agriculture” by Control Union; a reputed certifying agency worldwide. Also, we have filed patents for our technology backed process for 5 products and more are in pipeline.
Interviewer: Are you looking forward to expand your business in the near future?
Santosh Nair : At present, we are spread across key markets in the country with around 70 key dealers. Also, have been exporting to USA, Canada, Mauritius and other countries. Apart from retail, we have online presence as well which widens our reach to the urban farming enthusiasts. We look forward to have 1000 dealer presence in India and equally strong presence globally. We will open key markets in India on a short-term plan. In coming 10 years, we Miklenials will be on the fore front of Innovation and Research. Considering the way the government is portraying chemical free farming, we have a good head start. Also, in terms of research capabilities, we are way ahead of the competition (both chemical and non-chemical). In the long run, Microbial Agri Inputs will prove to be the perfect solution for any and every agricultural problem.
Interviewer: How did you start your business and what ways would you suggest to avoid hurdles ?
Santosh Nair : We started from a 300 sq. ft space and now have a full equipped 15000 sq. ft premise with annual capacity of 10 lakh litres. The first 6 months were purely trial oriented. We dedicated our time, expertise and resources to develop products and also test it across markets before final commercialisation. Alongside India market, we were testing across Canada markets as well. The hard work paid off and we were able to get outstanding results. The results were appreciated across markets and this also helped us to introduce new products with better efficacy and control than the competition. We had our first customer from Kerala and after which there was no looking back.