21 Oct 2019, 10:34 — 6 min read
A.G. Bio Systems was founded in 1997 by Praharaju Laxminarayana with an objective to promote plant protection in agriculture and to provide knowledge in the agro biotechnology sector. A G Bio Systems recently won the ‘Best Innovation Award’ at the Telangana State Industries Awards 2019, for their cutting-edge technologies in the field of agriculture.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Praharaju Laxminarayana (PL) shares his business journey.
GL: Tell us a little bit about business journey. What motivated and excited you to start it?
PL: Prior to starting my business in 1997, I worked for 17 years in the agro input industry as Head of Marketing & Business Development with Montari Industries Ltd (Ranbaxy Group) and Ecomax Agro Systems Ltd, the first organised bio agriculture company in India.
I started A G Bio Systems, realising the potential for non-genetically modified markets in agriculture biotechnology in India. We develop solutions for pest, disease and weed control.
At one point of my professional working life, I felt that my net saving potential is far less when compared to my contributions. With this thought in mind I started A G Bio Systems, realising the potential for non-GM (genetically modified) markets in agriculture biotechnology in India. While earning revenues soon we invested in our in-house research and development for developing biological solutions for pest, disease and weed control. Our company soon achieved leadership in the field of insect pheromones and achieved good response from quality conscious European markets and the farming community in India.
GL: How do you raise awareness about your cutting-edge products?
PL: We deal with concept products which are quite new to the farming community. It is challenging and costly to position our products to farmers in India who speak multiple languages. This led us to think of innovative approaches. We realised that there are nearly 5000 trained manpower in the departments of Agri and Horticulture and they could be our brand ambassadors for newer and better concepts. We started training programmes for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with agricultural universities and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutions. This decision of ours has paved the way for state governments to come forward for IPM promotion and the central government has started new schemes for IPM products such as Insect Pheromones. This way we have been able to get a large clientele of farmers and their acceptance with almost no extra marketing cost.
GL: What are challenges for your business to grow bigger, better and faster from here?
PL: The major challenges for SME growth are expansion, resource mobilisation, finance and marketing. In our case we are a knowledge-based company and we believe in knowledge management by way of protecting our innovations and looking for licensing opportunities. In today’s global markets, IP and other protections in biotechnologies are must and we are happy that we are in the process of obtaining 24 patents in 14 countries (already got USA and Australian patents). We have ownership of our microbial strains, deposited under the Budapest Protocol Treaty in Indian repository. We have developed the complete genome of all our innovative microbial strains, registered all our innovative strains as well as strains under research with the Telangana State Biodiversity Board under the Nagoya Protocol. This makes our company the first company in Agricultural Biotechnology in India to comply and protect our innovations to the core for global platforms.
GL: What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur setting up their first business?
PL: Always think of your organisation as a growing organisation. Stick to your core competencies, run a smart business and not a large business. Innovate to grow.
Also read: Shweta Khandelwal, Founder, Matru Ayurveda
GL: What is the next big thing on your business agenda?
PL: Putting up a scale up production plant in Green Industrial Park, Dandumalkapur, Bhongir District. We aim to comply the regulatory file in India in the next one year and license the protected technologies to different geographical regions and be useful to control the world’s most noxious weeds such as Water Hyacinth, Parthenium and Lantana Camara with our bio herbicides and save water, crop yields, environment, feed farm animals, protect forests to grow medicinal plants, improve fishing and water ways.
GL: We would love to know the person behind the entrepreneur.
Also read: Yosha Gupta, Founder, Memeraki
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Posted byMalavika Jaggi
Growing Business Units & Client Servicing