Siri Seeds: Walking Hand-In-Hand With Farmers, From Sowing To Harvest

The agriculture industry in India is booming, due to the increasing demand from the country's growing population. As a result, demand for agricultural inputs such as hybrid seeds and fertilizers, as well as ancillary services such as warehousing and cold storage is rapidly expanding in India. Furthermore, players in the industry are extensively investing in technologies in response to the growing demand for sophisticated modified varieties that are adaptable to varied climatic situations, have high yield potential, are disease resistant, and drought tolerant.

Established in the year 2001 Siri Seeds is a competent seed producing, distribution, and R& D company that focuses on farm and farmer sustainability in the face of changing climate and other environmental issues. Operating across India, Siri Seeds (India) has been effectively serving the Indian farming community for the past 20 years. The company believes in profitable growth through word of mouth, service, and high-quality products at an affordable price. Siri Seeds employs almost 300 permanent employees, including 165 frontline sales and production personnel and 80 field helpers. Rest of the employees work across various departments such as R& D, the processing plant, and the office. Also, temporary employees are also hired based on seasonal needs.

“Siri Seeds follows strict guidelines to measure the quality of seed at each stage, & collect market reports on product performance & genetic purity on a regular basis"

"We have strict guidelines in place to measure the quality of seed at each stage, and we collect market reports on product performance and genetic purity on a regular basis. Also, the sample lots are kept and checked on a regular basis. Strong Distribution Network, Strong Research Team, Excellent Sales Team for smooth handling of business are our key strengths which have helped us to get ourselves established well across geographies", says Rakesh Reddy, Sales and Marketing Director, Siri Seeds.

Murali Krishna, MD insists on supporting farmers from seed to yield both in production and sales are the company's key strengths for success. “Our Advance Payments to all Suppliers will help us to get Good Quality Seed from Production Farmers which inturn reflect positive image in the market place”, shares Vivekanand Arimilli, Finance Director.

Siri's product profile includes Field Crops (Paddy, Maize, Sunflower, Pearl Millet, Sorghum, and Mustard), and Vegetables (Chilly, Okra, Tomato, Bottle Gourd, Bitter Gourd, Sponge Gourd, Cucumber and Watermelon). As there are numerous advantages of hybrid seeds, Siri Seeds has been focusing on developing the same to offer farmers with products which are easier and faster to grow, adapt better to stress, produce plants with larger fruit, higher yields, disease resistance, and have longer lifespan. Siri has been continually carrying out awareness programs for High Yield Hybrids through sampling and free demo kits. For instance, Siri 4366 ­ Maize Hybrid are suitable for both seasons. The grain is orange in color and gives consistent yield, and high shelling percentage.

Siri Seeds has been supplying to different Agro Climatic Zones. In the Middle Gangetic Plain, it caters to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with Paddy, Corn, Pearl Millet and Vegetables. In the Trans Gangetic plain, it caters to Punjab and Haryana with Rice, Sunflower, Corn and Vegetables. In most of the Upper Gangetic plain (UP), the company focuses on Rice, and Vegetables. In the Eastern plateau, it focuses on Rice and Corn and are at an infant stage. In the Central Plateau, the company focuses in Rice and Corn. In the Southern Plateau, Siri is dominant with crops like Sunflower, Corn, Hybrid Paddy and Vegetables. In the East Coast plain, the company offers Corn to the areas of AP, Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. And lastly, Siri offers Corn, Pearl Millet, and Rice apart from Vegetables across Gujarat plains.

Siri Seeds has always been on the forefront when it comes to leveraging latest technologies. At present, the company has tied up with US Agri Genetics for marketing mustard.

Siri Vikas is a referral program with key objectives of strengthening farmer relations and Siri Vikas farmer acting as spokesperson for the brand

Spearheading Company's Growth Bandwagon
The company's success has greatly been influenced by few of the individuals who bring decades of experience in the field of agriculture. Murali Krishna, an APAU (Andhra Pradesh Agriculture University) alumni with a postgraduate degree in genetics and breeding, is the Founder and Managing Director of Siri Seeds. For six years, he has worked as a Production Manager for Pro agro (now Bayer) and was crucial in establishing a hybrid rice production and breeding programme. Dr. Surendra Kumar, the Director of Research, brings 28 years of expertise in crop breeding and research management. Rakesh Reddy is the Sales and Marketing Director for Siri Seeds, an Alumni from XLRI (Jamshedpur) with 25 years of experience in Monsanto India and PHI Seeds, A Du Pont Company at various levels in Sales and Marketing. Vivekanand is the Director Finance for Siri Seeds. An Alumni from APAU with varied experience in handling businesses of IRCTC, and exports apart from Agriculture. He also looks after the financial and admin activities of Siri Seeds. Siva Prasad is the Director for Siri Seeds with vast knowledge in handling varied businesses. He is one of the leading Contractors for IRCTC (Indian Railways).

Spreading Needed Information
Siri Vikas is a referral program with key objectives of strengthening farmer relations and Siri Vikas farmer acting as spokesperson for the brand. They act as the ambassadors for New Product Trials ­ Strip Tests, Evaluation of Siri Hybrids - New Product Demo, Quality Check persons in the marketplace, Complaint Handling, Spokes Man for the Product, and Feedback to the Company.

Robust Infrastructure in Place
Siri Seeds has a packaging unit in Nacharam, Wargal Mandal of Andhra Pradesh's Medak District. The plant is located in a 30-acre plot about 54 kilometers from Hyderabad on the Toopran Gajwel road. The processing plant has a running capacity of 50 MT per hour, which can be increased with minimal modifications. Furthermore, Siri also has a gas cob drying facility with 6 drying bins, each with a capacity of around 7 MT. Maize cobs are typically dried just for parent seed. Gas drying not only aids in uniform drying but also protects seed quality and shelf life. Last year, the company constructed a new 400 MT Cob Dryer.

In terms of warehousing, Siri Seeds has four 16000 Sq. ft. (64000 Sq. ft) warehouses on the plant grounds that can store around 4000-5000 MT of Seed. A separate area has been set aside for the processing, packing, testing, and storage of vegetable seeds.

Research & Development
Siri Seeds has a full-fledged R&D facility at Danthanpally with two satellite substations and other necessary equipment is fully operational to handle maize, rice, and pearl millet breeding programmes, test novel products, preserve germplasm purity, and multiply breeder seed. Crop breeding professionals are working hard to characterize and evaluate elite germplasm for use in crop breeding programmes.

Siri's Seed Bank consists of CYMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center­ Maize Germplasm Bank), IRRI Philippines for hybrid paddy, and ICRISAT - Pearl Millet Germplasm. The company has customized and specified germplasm cold stores for long term and short term cold storage facilities at two sites.

Sales & Distribution Network
Siri Seeds has two-tier network systems in a few markets, and in a few, it has C& F who cater to the market. The material in the two-tier system travels from the plant to the Distributors, who serve as the primary channel for feeding the market through retailers located throughout. The essential person from whom the client (Farmer) obtains the material is the retailer(dealer). Each Distributor/ Dealer has been assigned a geographic location. The company has over 3000 distributors scattered across India, with over 6000 retailers.

Main revenue contributing crops for Siri Seeds are Hybrid Rice, Maize and Sunflower. The company is now focusing on markets with a wide range of Vegetables to suit different markets and different segments. Siri has been robustly positioned across various states which includes Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra. Further, Siri would be focusing on increasing its presence across Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.

"At present, we have a database of more than 2,05,000 farmers to whom we have catered to by way of interaction or through sale. Our focus is emphasized on method demonstration by way of conducting field meetings at the preseason level and showcasing the product to customers through field days", highlights Murali.

Robust Roadmap Ahead
Going forward, Siri Seeds would be focusing on developing more productive hybrids for drought tolerance with better nutritive value and disease/pest tolerance. The company has been developing rice hybrids for saline soils and submerged conditions. Siri Seeds wishes to be the top 5 Companies in India and spread its wings across PAN India. Siri is now looking out for tie up with a few companies which will help to cater to different markets with highest quality vegetables. Currently, the company's prime markets for vegetables are Gujarat, AP, UP, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

"At Siri, our vision is to be one of the best Agriculture Companies in India, in the eyes of our customers (Farmers) Business partners and in the Seed Industry. As an ethical company, we thrive to offer the best, always keeping moral values top of mind", concludes Murali.