In conversation with Dr. Sekhar Sushil Basak, Managing Director, Innovista Feeding Solutions (P) LTD.

Dr. Sekhar Sushil Basak

“There is a huge scope for marketing in our industry where in hygiene, nutrition and health should be the key parameters to bring awareness for chicken consumption.”

What are your best-known products/services/solutions?

Innovista Feeding Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is in the business of offering unique feed supplements for enriching health and bettering growth and productivity in livestock animals. We are into this business for over a decade now catering to customer’s satisfaction with novel products, knowledge and services.

Healthy and safe feed is essential for healthy and safe food! So it is important to have efficient and healthy animal feed in place to minimize the risk of pathogenic bacterial infections through feed. 

Innovista has been a pioneer innovel feeding concepts in the natural growth promoter space. We have changed the way the feed looks – with aesthetic color and texture that has created a whole new dimension in animal nutrition.

For the first time, we introduced the concept of aesthetics in modern day feeding also being important in animal nutrition. Our products add quantifiable value with tangible and intangible benefits to the masses.

We brought under one umbrella a galaxy of feed supplements in the AGPs and anticoccidials space which addresses the concepts of rotation and shuttle programs advocated by the experts in feed technology.

We have extended our services pan India and also neighboring countries to major feed milling companies & poultry producers. Our strength lies in cost-effective, reasonably priced supplements in all the segments that we deal in, which allows the feed industry to try also those products that have been historically considered to be cost-prohibitive.

Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?

Innovista works primarily in the Poultry, Dairy and Aqua segments. We have found application of our natural products also in horticulture. Poultry by far has been the fastest growing segment over the years in the sub-continent.

In the recent years, due to some man-made factors and natural calamities all segments have faced a major hit which have pulled down the markets across regions and with devastating economic impact.

The whole world is currently reeling under the attack of the catastrophic Covid 19 that has slowed down consumption and crippled the economy worldwide in all sectors, livestock being no exception. During 2020, the universal “big picture” of major corporates across businesses is to survive and stay afloat. If we happen to survive post covid, business will follow in the coming years!

What are your most recent product innovations?

Innovista has strategically launched 2-3 specialty products on an average every year during the past decade. We have realized that the product life cycle has shortened even more in the past decade than it used to be in the previous decades.

And therefore, there is a constant need for innovation to be able to bring new entities and new applications every time to up the energy levels in animal nutrition industry.

Out of many new projects that Innovista is currently working, our dream project is a novel product based out of natural essential oils that will address coccidios is in poultry which is already known to cause heavy economic losses and currently is catered by ionophores and chemicals to address this serious issue.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

Competition is the buzz word and necessity is the mother of invention! There is a paradigm shift in the nature of productivity of livestock that has become quit discernible. Performance standards hit a new benchmark every year and nutrition plays a crucial role strongly supporting performance improvement.

Poultry meat is increasingly seen as less of delicacy and more of a staple in routine. Food habits are also changing with global movements of the population, increasingly becoming fond of exotic foods and chicken invariably being a likely choice.

The growth of poultry meat consumption in India in the last 5 years is 30% approximately, which is quite significant. Though the argument whether the chicken producers are making money with such growth is million-dollar question, yet the jump in production has for sure contributed to the growth of the Indian economy, albeit both in the organized and inorganized sectors thus keeping its impact subtle.

Automation in poultry industry in areas like feeding of birds, egg collection, sanitation and cleaning of houses etc. have been a very quickly adopted owing to more revenues that have been generated in this industry over the years.

Aqua feed also holds promise. Many existing poultry feed producers have shown interests in aqua feeds owing to the export potential in shrimp production and huge scope for growth in fish culture which is growing in different parts of the country including north zone apart from the already flourishing south and east zones.

With the recent devastation of social media generated fake news on chicken linking to corona there is an important lesson for the industry.

It is high time that we should wake up to the threats of wet markets and develop our expertise for meat processing in future. Also it is pertinent to mention that there is a downside for processing industry when it comes to our eating habits because the Indian population has to go a long way to develop a palate for processed meat.

How does business in 2020 compared to previous years? What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?

As I said earlier, 2020 is the year of survival! The covid 19 has crippled the economy across the globe and the sad news is that, this pandemic will have a long standing effect, the magnitude of which is unfathomable.

The current crisis threatens the Indian Government’s National Action Plan for both the egg and poultry industry. The action plan launched by the government is intended to double farmer’s incomes by 2022, feed the growing population and help raise the socio-economic status of India’s rural economy.

The current crisis affecting the poultry sector, however, has compromised many of these plans and is expected to further undermine growth unless the government intervenes. 

Having said that, food sector that falls under essential commodities and is the basis of life is relatively lesser impacted in comparison to sectors that are non-essential.

Consumption will be effected negatively for many reasons with restaurants closed, restricted travel in both domestic and international sectors, restricted or no social gatherings, weddings, parties etc. all getting impacted

so chicken being a “happy” food will also get a major hit in consumption. My best sense is we should try and keep our production to below 50% to maintain chicken prices. Any increase in production will have a major cascading effect on the industry which will effect all of us who are involved in the supply chain system.

Can you tell us about any recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?

We get into sales contracts with our customers as a regular routine and our businesses come through making value propositions. We show tangible and intangible benefits to our customers with our product applications and services. The current trend of online meetings during covid 19 has shown new vistas and scope for customer meetings and contracts in a much wider geographical horizon.

This trend has started and very quickly grown exponentially in every sector. Such meetings have cut down heavily on travel time, costs and other related expenditures and helped us build contacts and businesses across the globe and will continue to do so in coming times. We have now invented a realistic approach to keep in touch with our clients and vendors with this internet story.

What’s the latest news from your company?

Innovista’s strategy for the past many years was our focus on the key customers in the industry in the feed milling segment. To enhance our reachability, we have recently tied up for distribution and marketing with a prestigious company Vetina based out of Pune in the west, who have been entrusted with the role of catering to customers at larger scales to improve the visibility and markets of Innovista products in the sub-continent.

I am very confident that Innovista will reach more customers and we will be better able to cater to their requirement with the proud team of Vetina.

Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances?

We have and continue to make technological advances in production and applications of our feed additive/supplements in new areas and segments. We strive to bring about new product entities every year addressing burning problems of the farming community.

Our major focus has been the gut and we engineer our products to suit not only our target consumers being the livestock but also our product design should suit the feed milling process. All our products viz. Curcumol, Allivis, Nativol, AGPs (Bacigro, Enrize 80, Flavis 40,80, Lincovis, Maxovis, etc) and Anticoccidials (Salinovis, Madumax, Neo-Power, Bancox, M-Power, Megacox etc.) are designed to ensure no hindrance in the milling process apart from the fact that the their applications and dosage systems ensure optimum bio-availability and performance as an outcome.

Could you please share your views on Poultry Sector for our magazine readers?

Poultry industry is very dynamic by its true nature. In fact, in my almost 3 decades of experience with the white and brown feathered friends, I find this industry too happening to ever get bored. It’s a roller coaster ride always and that’s what people in this industry get used to and start enjoying the joyride over time.

A very keen observation I made which may sound funny, but people in the poultry industry stay younger and live longer! One gets so used to daily grill and the risks involved that sometimes makes me think if one can master the unpredictability of this industry, he can cross every other hurdle in life. This reminds me of an incident that happened many years back. I used to visit a farmer in my early years as a company technical services guy – a small farmer with 10,000 broiler capacity in Ambala area.

He owned an old Maruti 800 car then, which is akin to owning a bike inNorth India. 6 months later when I visited him again, it surprised me to find a swanky, jet black Hyundai Verna gracing the entry point of his farm. I was naturally curious to know the secret of his fortune. The secret he revealed has been in mind now for so many years.

He said, “Doctorsaab, when I lose money in one flock it is as bad as my investment that I have made for this new car. When I am already in poultry business where I gain and lose so heavily with every batch so why not enjoy life with one batch’s profit”. That’s how the perspective builds within our poultry community.

An industry that is unregulated and unpredictable has been the reason why not many investors have tried their hands in poultry, though we are a steadily growing sector and we will continue to grow knowing that the mouths to feed can only multiply in coming decades. My sincere plea to the stakeholders of poultry industry is to maintain always a healthy competition with a common goal to increase consumption – India being the most potential consumer base in the world.

There is a huge scope for marketing in our industry where in hygiene, nutrition and health should be the key parameters to bring awareness for chicken consumption. We have a long way to go and there is a lot of excitement along this journey! I feel lucky to be an integral part of this industry and I want to thank one and all who have been associated with me in this journey!

Dr. Sekhar Sushil Basak holds a degree in Veterinary Sciences from College of Veterinary  Sciences, Anand, Gujarat, IN and a Masters in Business Management from Apeejay School of Management, New Delhi, IN. Dr. Basak has almost three decades of contribution to the livestock feed additives industry, having initially worked in Indian and Multinational companies like Cadila, Dabur, Elanco and Biomin and later as a Consultant to Big Dutchman GmbH, Phytobiotics GmbH, Doxal Italia and finally his most passionate venture Innovista which he currently manages.

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