| Ajay Kumar Jain on the campus of the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture |
Bhubaneswar, June 4: An entrepreneur from Guwahati in Assam, who has scripted a refreshing success story in faraway Karnataka with tender coconut water, plans to launch the packaged drink in eastern states, including Odisha, from next summer.
“Cocojal”, as the packaged product is named, has already made its mark not only in markets of the US, Dubai and in cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Madurai, but also in small towns in south India and northern states.
Ajay Kumar Jain, the brain behind the success of Cocojal who also holds an MBA degree, wanted to start a green coconut venture. He toured the entire nation to look for an idea.
“After doing some research, I found that Maddur in Karnataka is the only place that produces tender coconut throughout the year. As Assam was never a strategic place to start a business with tender coconut water, I changed base and came to Karnataka in 1997 and thus the plan for Cocojal was launched. Initially, it was started on a small-scale, but now we have reached a good production level,’’ Jain told The Telegraph.
Jain was here to attend a recent global conference on recent developments in horticulture at the Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT). Jain and 20 others were honoured at the conference for using technology to market horticulture products.
After selecting Maddur taluk as his base, Jain organised local suppliers and started a 1,000-bottles per day facility. The facility now produces 15,000 bottles per day, which Jain plans to enhance further. The venture, in which the young industrialist invested Rs 2.5 crore, has now crossed an annual turn over of Rs 5 crore. Jain earns more than 10 per cent return as a profit.
“A bottle of Cocojal can stays fresh for 12 months from the date of packaging. We are using organic preservatives so that there is no change in the taste and nutritional values of the coconut water. The organic preservatives also ensure that coconut water does not have the slightest taste of chemical in it,’’ Jain said.
“Industrial development is welcome, but we should also think about the mother earth and go for greener pastures to start new avenues so that the people at the grassroots-level can also be benefited,” he said.
Stating that no profit would come overnight, Jain said the youths should also know that there was no permanent success through any short-cut route. “One has to do a lot of market research before starting a horticultural venture so that the product could be linked to the local, regional and international market,’’ he said.