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Agro group sets sights on growth

Guwahati, Dec. 23: The Kharupetia-based Rangali Group has lined up a slew of projects to establish its edible oil brands in the Northeast market and spread its wings to eastern India as well.

Set up as Rangali Rice Mill in 1994, the company has already carved out a niche for its raw and partly boiled rice brands in the region.

The group, which has a turnover of Rs 100 crore, also comprises Rangali Agrotech Pvt Ltd, formed in 2004, and Rangali Agro India Pvt Ltd, incorporated in 2010.

As of now, the group plans to start rice bran oil (Mahara-ni Gold) production from its upcoming refinery by mid-2013. In February this year, the company started commercial production of mustard oil — Rangali Kacchi Ghani — which, company sources said, is of the organic variety.

The company will also be foraying into packaged drinking water production next month. “A state-of-the-art mineral water plant has been set up in Kharupetia, and by January, we will start manufacture and marketing packaged drinking water. The plant, which meets specifications set by World Health Organisation, will produce 2 lakh litres of water every day. Machinery for the plant has been procu-red from Indian Ion Exchange, an Ahmedabad-based firm,” Gautam Saha, founder and managing director of the company, told The Telegraph.

The projects currently under way are a modern solvent extraction plant (200 TPD), multipurpose edible oil refinery (200 TPD), 2.5MW captive power unit, modern rice mill (400 TPD) and an animal feed plant (200 TPD).

“We have invested close to Rs 100 crore in the new projects, which are coming up on a 100-bigha plot. The projects will absorb more people as well. Currently, we have about 300 employees working in our manufacturing units at Khar-upetia,” Saha said.

The company plans to expand outside the Northeast as well. “We plan to expand and spread to Bengal during the first quarter of 2013 and thereafter, cover Odisha and Bihar. We will market packaged drinking water, rice bran oil and mustard oil in these states to start with,” he said.

Given the scale of investment and the expansion mode, Rangali is eyeing a much bigger turnover by 2015. “We are eyeing a turnover of Rs 500 crore in three years’ time. This we plan to achieve once the projects are completed and the process is streamlined. We expect the plants to get operational by December 2013. Our first challenge, however, will be to make people aware about rice bran oil as a healthy edible oil and get them accustomed to it. Bran is the hard outer layer of cereals and not many know its health benefits,” Saha said.

The company is planning to promote bran oil in a big way. “We started the campaign about three months back. During Puja, we set up stalls at five pandals in the city. The dealers, too, have been given promotional material,” he said.

For the past six months, the company has been selling bran oil produced by a Bardhaman-based firm. “But we will soon produce bran oil on our own once the solvent extraction plant is ready by June,” he added.

Rangali Agro India and Rangali Agrotech are certified by ISO 9001:2008 and currently in the process of obtaining ISO 22000 certification.

Rangali Agro India has already acquired certification from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. All three companies are based at Kharupetia in Darrang district of central Assam, around 92km from Guwahati.

Rangali plans to save on input cost by using rice husk, the outermost layer of grains, as fuel in the captive power unit. “Fuel is a vital input and since the husk, extracted from grain — the basic raw material for producing bran oil — will be at our disposal as fuel, the cost of production will be much less. The viability of businesses like ours in the long run depends on power, which will not be a cost once we start using husk as a means to generate power,” Saha said.

Rangali is also gearing up its marketing operations from its registered office in Guwahati.

“The company caters to 400 dealers across central and lower Assam. We do not have any distributors as we sell our products directly to the dealers. A showroom has been recently opened near Bharalumukh and we have a marketing team of 20 with four vans to carry our products to the dealers,” the entrepreneur added.