Sanjay Agarwal: Revolutionizing Indias Agricultural Industry With Technology And Innovation | CEOInsights Vendor
 Sanjay Agarwal: Revolutionizing Indias Agricultural Industry With Technology And Innovation

Sanjay Agarwal: Revolutionizing Indias Agricultural Industry With Technology And Innovation

 Sanjay Agarwal,  Founder & CEO

Sanjay Agarwal

Founder & CEO

Agricultural product markets in India have been plagued with inefficiencies and a lack of transparency, resulting in farmers being paid significantly less than the market value for their produce. Sanjay Agarwal, CEO & Founder of Apna Godam, recognized this issue and founded Apna Godam, a Jaipur-based Agritech Startup providing warehousing facilities and online commodity financing to farmers all across India. In addition to this, Apna Godam facilitates an online platform that assists farmers, traders, and buyers with online trading in commodities. Thus helping in better price discovery and providing facilities for the smooth marketing of their produce. He holds a degree in CA and CS from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and possesses 20 years of experience in the banking and start-up sectors. Sanjay's vision of creating electronic trading of agricultural produce in every village has the potential to transform the agricultural landscape in India and empower millions of farmers to earn a better livelihood. Let's learn more from him in below interview snippets.

Could you briefly describe your educational background and work history? What drives you to carry out your daily tasks?
I come from a middle-class family, and my father worked as a Commission Agent at APMC Jaipur. After completing my CA & CS, I joined HDFC Bank in 2004, where I worked in various roles and locations until 2015. Eventually, I left my job and established Apna Godam.

The current agricultural marketing environment is not favorable to farmers, and they face significant challenges in marketing their agricultural products. I feel fulfilled knowing that our mobile application will address the most critical issue for millions of farmers. This sense of satisfaction motivates me every day.

You have about two decades of experience. How has your path to success been and what is your success mantra?
Over the course of twenty years, I spent eleven years working in banking and almost eight years in a startup. Throughout this journey, I experienced both ups and downs, facing a variety of challenges along the way. In my corporate life, I had to meet strict deadlines and KRAs, while my startup had its own set of difficulties. However, both experiences taught me valuable lessons that have helped me become the person I am today.

At Apna Godam, we aim to provide a hassle free experience to every farmer by taking mandi to the farmgate

How would you define Apna Godam as an organization and its position in the market? What is the unique proposition that your organization offers to clients?
Apna Godam is more than just an alternative channel for farmers to sell their produce, it is a concept. Our platform provides standard packaging, quality assessment, and electronic anonymous price discovery, creating a secure, transparent and efficient trading experience. Spot trading of commodities has become as easy as trading in shares. Our goal is to become an electronic spot exchange widely used by the masses.

In the past, electronic commodity trading was only accessible to a particular class of people because exchanges had limited delivery centers that served a small part of India's geography. This meant that only those with high trading volumes could benefit. The storage process price discovery and settlement were complex, and small traders or village-level aggregators were not the target beneficiaries. However, we are striving to bridge this gap and bring technology closer to the masses. With our mobile application, we can extend this solution to smaller traders in more remote areas.

Provide a brief description of the quality control procedures your company uses.
Indian farmers currently face an additional 30 percent cost in logistics due to an inefficient and unreliable supply chain. At Apna Godam, we aim to create a system where agricultural produce is only transported when and where it is needed. Every movement of the produce incurs a cost, so these movements must be efficient and purposeful. This principle is deeply ingrained in the DNA of every AG staff member and is reflected in
their daily work.

Tell us about your leadership approach, and the guidelines or methodologies you follow to lead your team.
During every hiring interview, we advise applicants that if they are solely seeking a paycheck, then this may not be the right place for them. Instead, we emphasize that the contentment and peace of mind that comes from customers using our AG app and finding value in it should be the primary focus. The company's mission should be the employees' mission, regardless of whether they work in the field or a corner office.

What is the future destination you are heading towards?
In India, there are 3,00,000 villages, each with a school and health facility, regardless of size. However, there is a noticeable lack of marketplaces for agricultural produce, despite approximately 80 percent of the village population depends on agriculture. Surprisingly, an organized electronic marketplace has not been a priority in each village. As a result, we aim to provide electronic trading of agricultural produce in every village.

Based on your industry experience, what advice would you offer to emerging leaders?
As a budding entrepreneur, I have learned from my mentor that the true test of startup founders occurs during challenging times, such as when facing near death moments like co-founder quits, mass resignations, competitors securing large funding, or funding dries up, sometimes all at once. During such times, founders must exhibit patience & perseverance, particularly in agriculture, where seasonality issues can prolong the process. If they can do so, they are more likely to establish a lasting company.

Sanjay Agarwal, CEO & Founder, Apna Godam
Sanjay has done CA & CS from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and has two decades of experience in the banking sector and start-ups. He is on a mission of helping farmers with better price discovery and providing facilities for the smooth marketing of their produce.

Quick Facts:
•Hobbies: Reading Newspapers and Magazines, Watching Movies
•Favorite Cuisine: Dal Bati Churma
•Favorite Book:The Founders Mentality
•Favorite Travel Destination: Villages
•Awards & Recognition: Best Agri Startup Award 2022

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