Technology Can Transform Indian Agriculture: Dr. Malini Saba

Malini Saba

26 November, 2019 12:00 AM IST

A successful businesswoman and philanthropist, Dr. Malini Saba has been at the forefront of women’s rights and positively impacting the lives of low income and at-risk women and children worldwide. Growing up in South East Asia, her biggest interest was in the empowerment of women struggling for human rights, health and economic stability. Dr. Saba runs a nonprofit organization, SABA Family Foundations. As the Chairman of ‘SFF’ she started multiple initiatives on changing the way women in poverty viewed themselves and their role in society. Saba Family Foundation was involved in several critical projects over a period of few years. Krishi Jagran interacted with Dr. Saba, Founder & Chairman, Saba Industries & Saba Family Foundations.

What are the major working areas, product range & focus of Saba Industries?

Saba Industries has an affinity towards the agriculture and trades in the business of rice and natural resources, exporting 9, 000,000 tons of rice worldwide. The Group is a manufacturer and distributor of Basmati 1121, White rice, Jasmine and fragrant rice throughout the regions of Southeast Asia, parts of Africa and the Middle East. Saba Industries has a strong foothold in palm land in Malaysia and Indonesia. Oil is utilized for preparing cooking oil, soap and other consumer items.

The agriculture arm of the group enthusiastically employs internationally approved environmental guidelines in all their ventures for a principled growth.

Saba Industries is a lucrative and sustaining group of companies and organizations, Moreover, the multifaceted nature of this group of industries helps their respective sectors at the ground-level by employing almost 3,750 local workers as well as acts as a funding agency for the endeavors undertaken by Saba Family Foundation. The aim of the foundation is to help at least one billion people around the world to gain access to basic healthcare, provide education and opportunities that allow them to break the cycle of poverty, and eradicate illiteracy about human right issues.

What is  Your Agriculture Business Model?

Agriculture is a very important sector as far as the food is concerned. This sector is very much dependent on Mother Nature, but it is that era where we can master the skills and perform well. As per our model, we work with the farmers and the distributors. We strongly believe that it is very important to empower the farmers we work with because they are the ones, who feed the world. We provide infrastructure and technology to the farm ers to enable them to increase their production. The less time they spend on the field harvesting, the quicker they can sell their product; and therefore, they can reinvest their time and money in the next crop. This also helps to improve crop production as well as crop yield.

What are the Impacts of Globalization on Indian farmer?

Indian Society is drastically changing after globalization has brought a lot of changes in the Indian culture. Economic policies have a direct impact in shaping the structural framework of economy. Economic policies formulated and executed by the government, have also played an important role in determination of levels of income, savings, investments and employment in the society. It will be a mistake to assume that India can evaluate an effective mechanism for economic reforms and it will be difficult for India to adopt with global changes without dealing with domestic problems like control of terrorism, providing employment to rural educated people, and work for the rural poor, empowering women and marginalized people and providing reasonable price and market facilities for the farmers. Global changes are operating on many new areas of conflict and cooperation for India and we can achieve a new level of integration of Indian economy with world markets on the basis of protection of our own national interest.

How Do You  Suggest Indian Farmers to cope up with International Market?

India has made immense progress towards achieving food security. Its population has tripled, but food-grain production has more than quadrupled; there has thus been a substantial increase in available food-grain per capital.

The public-private partnership model could be just the game-changer of the India’s agricultural sector needs. By drawing on the collective power of all agricultural stakeholders, PPPs can transform the sector by Investing in smarter value chains, improving access to credit, technology and markets, Building farmer resilience to environmental shocks etc.

Where Indian Agriculture is Lacking on Global Standard & How to Address the Same?

Agriculture has been the backbone of human existence since time immemorial. It has also seen much advancement over the years. However, the agricultural practices carried out in India are still largely traditional. Indian agriculture technology have many limitations as compared to modern agricultural technologies around the world. Farmers are here the sole risk bearers of all the challenges that arise in the farming cycle. Be it lack of quality tools, erratic monsoons or pest outbreaks, farmers have to face it all without any risk mitigation among other stakeholders.

We live in a world where technology is at the heart of our everyday lives. Similar to the transformations in other sectors, I believe technology is sure to shape farming practices. Technology can transform Indian agriculture by addressing challenges related to quality, quantity, distribution and storage.

For more details, you can visit the following links:

The Belize International Film Market is Launched


The Belize Film Commission is officially launching the Belize International Film Market and Belize-based Studio Complex with Saba Industries. The announcement was made today, via a press release where the commission says that along with Global Commerce, Digital Entertainment and Media Divisions for the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Saba Industries, they are looking to develop content and networking as well as professional development and training workshops. But for the Belize International Market to function, it needs exhibitors, producers, writers and other key persons in the visual arts industry.  Earlier today, News Five spoke with Film Commissioner Nigel Miguel.

Nigel Miguel, Film Commissioner

“The main objective of the market is to provide access to those writers to those producers if you are talking about the local individuals that they get to interact with producers, writers from abroad. The main objective is to give them access and give new products or projects that haven’t been done a way so that they can go through the process of a pitch meeting. What does it actually take to sell your idea? And once you sell your idea, we go into production. And once you produce it, you have a finished project, how do you get it to the international market? The Film Market will allow local producers, local film makers to have that experience. It’s Belize centric content; the markets that we will be selling to and exporting to yes. It is basically anything outside of the U.S.; that ninety percent of the underserved market so that is basically where we will be different from most of the other film markets from around the world. More than anything it is just the next step if we are truly going to be players on the international market which I believe that we have the talent here to do. But it is raw talent and we need to refine. So one of the major things that we are going to do with the studio is the exchange of knowledge, teaching. We want to have all of the folks involved in the local media houses, send their people to get trained. This will be a studio for international projects of course, but part of the thing is for us to build the local film industry so that when these projects come in from outside, major productions, we will be able to use locals to work behind the scenes, to be in front of the camera.”

Sample video below.

World Environment Day: 10 upcoming careers in agriculture

As the agriculture sector is big business, there are different upcoming and promising career options for young aspirants. Here is a look at some of the lucrative, upcoming careers in agriculture.

Malini Saba

environment day, world environment day, world environment day 2019, courses in environment, career in agriculture, offbeat courses, agriculture admission, farming courses, top courses, college admissions, education news
A Field of HDCSW 18 Wheat Crop at Village Taraori in Haryana. (Express Photo By Praveen Khanna) 

India is an agriculture-based country and is considered as an important sector of Indian Economy as it accounts for 18 per cent of the nation’s GDP. Being the first employer and a primary source of livelihood of 58 per cent of the population, the gross value of a combination of agriculture, fishing and forestry is of about US$ 271 billion for the financial year 2018.

With a share of 32 per cent of the country’s total food market, the Indian food processing industry ranks fifth in production, consumption, export and expected growth, as per an India Brand Equity Foundation report. Also, its contribution of 8.80 and 8.39 per cent of gross value added in manufacturing and agriculture respectively made it one of the promising sectors for employment.

As the sector is big business, there are different upcoming and promising career options for young aspirants. Here is a look at some of the lucrative, upcoming careers in agriculture:

Agri-business management: The field covers the management study of all the agriculture business aspects. Handling manufacturing and distribution of farm equipment and supplies, processing, storage and promotion of food and fibre related to agricultural products, et al.

Agricultural biotechnology: It is a study of understanding and application of scientific techniques such as genetic engineering, molecular diagnostics, vaccines and tissue culture to modify plants, micro-organisms and animals. Breeders contribute to improvements in crops and livestock after identifying certain genes.

Agricultural economics: The application of economics principles (tools of micro and macroeconomics) to resolve problems in agriculture is all about agricultural economics. Professionals monitor trade (import and export) patterns, predict market trends, consumer preferences and analysing production methods for agricultural products.

Agricultural engineering: It concentrates on designing, developing and improvements of farming equipment, machines and the processes to increase the farming efficiency. The focus is on farm equipment, soil conservation, rural structures, rural electricity and drainage and irrigation.

Agronomy: It is a branch of agricultural science that deals with the study of crops and soil where they grow. Agronomists help in developing methods and improve the usage of soil. Agronomists conduct research in several areas such as preparation of seedbeds, soil fertility and time for sowing, conservation methods and management of soil moisture.

Horticulture: This field of science deals in growing and cultivating vegetables, fruits, herbs, decorative flowers and ornamental trees. The individuals work on improving the quality, nutritional value, growth and yield of the farm produce. They help in maintaining nurseries, orchards, greenhouses, plantations, etc. This sector is pacing up because of high demand for organic food.

Dairy technology: The field is mainly confined to the production and processing of milk. The experts of this stream work on managing the milk production along with collection, storage and supervise the process to ensure milk is fit for consumption. Also, packaging, storage and distribution of milk as well as its by-products are other core areas of the sector.

Poultry farming: Raising and fostering domestic birds such as ducks and chickens to procure their meat and eggs is poultry farming. Professionals in this sector manage diverse activities such as feed supply, shed management, nutritional standards of production, transportation etc.

Fisheries science: The fisheries science is about understanding cultivation principles and harvesting fish on a commercial basis in freshwater, saline water or in any marine environment. It also concentrates to study the life, breeding of several fish species and habits along with rearing of fish via non-nocturnal means.

Food sciences: Growing and cultivation of crops and livestock are entirely different from turning the resources into food which is placed ready on the table in homes. Food Sciences professionals work on safety, research and product development before the food hit the kitchen shelves.

If you are an aspirant and want to pursue a career in agriculture then consider the above options as they are some upcoming and flourishing fields with a bright scope in future.

— The author is founder, Saba Industries & Saba Family Foundations

Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express The Indian Express is an English-language Indian daily newspaper. It is published in Mumbai by Indian Express Group. In 1999, eight years after the group’s founder Ramnath Goenka’s death in 1991, the group was split between the family members. The southern editions took the name The New Indian Express, while the northern editions, based in Mumbai, 


Ms. Malini Saba


Headline:              World Environment Day: 10 upcoming careers in agriculture

Language:              English

Edition:                   National

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Avoid work stress, adopt positive thinking and follow these expert tips

This article originally written in Hindi and can be found here.

दिन भर के काम के बाद रात के खाने में मनपसंद चीजें नहीं दिखीं तो क्या आप झुंझला उठते हैं? क्या आसपास लोगों को देर तक फोन पर बात करते देख आपको गुस्सा आता है? मुमकिन है किसी ने आप से कहा हो कि आप गुस्सैल स्वभाव के हो गए हैं और शायद आप ने खुद भी अपने व्यक्तित्व में फर्क महसूस किया हो।

यदि आपके घर पर सब सही चला रहा है (हालांकि दिमाग अपसेट हो, तो यह तय करना भी कठिन होगा) तो यह समस्या शायद आपके काम की जगह पैदा हुई हो। महीनों या सालों तक एक-सा काम (जो क्रिएटिव कतई नहीं पर कठिन और नीरस दोनों हो सकता है) करते हुए आपको मानसिक तनाव जकड़ लेते हैं। शायद इसी तनाव से बचने के लिए सप्ताह के अंत में छुट्टियां आती हैं ताकि आप अपना मनोरंजन करें, जिसका महत्व आज हम में से अधिकांश लोग समझने की कोशिश नहीं करते हैं। सबा इंडस्ट्रीज एवं सबा फैमिली फाउंडेशंस की फाउंडर मालिनी सबा बता रही हैं, कैसे पॉजिटिव होकर ऑफिस स्ट्रेस को करें दूर और खुद के अंदर करें पॉजिटिव सोच का विकास।

खाना खाते ही ऑफिस में आने लगती है सुस्ती और नींद, तो इन बातों को करें फॉलो

पेशे में तनाव बढ़ाता है घबराहट

कई पेशे ऐसे हैं, जिनमें तनाव की वजह से घबराहट की समस्या पैदा हो सकती है। इसके कई कारण हो सकते हैं जैसे उम्मीद से कम पैसे मिलना, काम में बड़ी जिम्मेदारी जैसे पायलट का काम और फिर बड़ी रकम संभालने का काम, जिसमें खतरा भी ज्यादा हो जैसा कि ब्रोकरेज फर्म में होता है। एक अन्य ऐसा काम काॅल सेंटर का है, जहां लोगों को अक्सर गुस्साए ग्राहकों से बात करना होता है। ऐसे में, हमें यह समझना होगा कि हमें ऐसे माहौल में काम करना है जो सबके लिए बराबर है। यदि आप इतने प्रतिभावन हैं कि बहुत कम उम्र में लाखों-करोड़ों जमा कर लें तो ही शायद इससे बच पाएं! पर बाकी बचे अधिकांश लोगों के लिए हमें यह देखना होगा कि वे कैसे अनावश्यक झुंझलाहट और तनाव को ऑफिस की खिड़की से बाहर फेंक कर छुटकारा पाने की कोशिश करते हैं। साथ ही, इस बात पर भी गौर करने की कोशिश करें कि कैसे आपकी जिंदगी खूबसूरत हो सकती है और कितनी हसीन और बेहतर है यह जिंदगी।

कठिनाइयों को हटाएं परे

– बार-बार समस्याओं की बात करने के बदले समाधान पर ध्यान दें। समस्याओं के घेरे से बाहर निकलें। दिमाग पर जोर डालें और आज से समाधान शुरू कर दें। बारी-बारी से समस्या उठाएं और धैर्य से सब का समाधान करें।

ऑफिस में रहना है दिन भर एनर्जेटिक, तो घर से लाएं ये 5 हेल्दी स्नैक्स

– काम की जगह तू-तू, मैं-मैं करने से तनाव और बढ़ता है। इससे आपका ही काम प्रभावित होगा। हालांकि, यदि बुनियादी सुविधा के अभाव में आप सही से काम नहीं कर पाते हैं तो मैनेजर को जरूर बताएं।

आपके वश से बाहर की चीजों पर काबू करना सीखें

हमें तनाव देने वाली अधिकांश चीजों पर हमारा वश नहीं चलता है। हालांकि, यदि आप नामुमकिन को मुमकिन करने और इससे उबर कर निकलने की कला सीख लें तो आपका व्यक्तित्व और मजबूत होगा और आप भविष्य में अधिक सफल रहेंगे।

ब्रेक लें

छुट्टियां हम सभी के लिए जरूरी है ताकि आप फ्रेश मूड से दोबारा काम पर वापस लौट सकें। सिर्फ काम से मतलब रखना भी सेहत के लिए अच्छी बात नहीं है। चार-पांच महीने के अंतराल में कहीं घूमने के लिए जाएं। इससे मानसिक तनाव दूर होगा। मन शांत और मूड फ्रेश होगा।

ऑफिस स्ट्रेस से पाना है छुटकारा, तो रूटीन में यूं करें बदलाव

Published: April 22, 2019 3:01 pm

English machine language translation text below –


After the day’s work, when there is nothing good for dinner, do you get upset? Do you get angry to see people talk on the phone for a long time? It is possible that someone has told you that you have become angry and you have also felt the difference in your personality.

If all is going well at your house (although the brain is upset then it will also be difficult to determine), then this problem may have arisen from your work place. Taking the mental stress while working for months or years (which can be both hard and dull on the creative but not quite). Perhaps to avoid this tension, there are vacations at the end of the week so that you entertain yourself, whose importance today most of us do not try to understand. The founder of Saba Industries and Saba Family Foundations, Malini Saba, is telling how to become positive, to make office stress far and away, in the development of positive thinking.

The food comes into the office, lethargy and sleep, then follow these things.

Tension in the office raises stress

There are many occupations where stress can cause nervous problems. There are many reasons for this, such as getting less money than expected, big responsibility in the work such as pilot work and the task of handling large amounts, in which the risk is high as it is in the brokerage firm. Another such work is that of a call center, where people often have to talk to angry customers. In this case, we have to understand that we have to work in an environment that is equal to everyone. If you are so talented that you can save money at a very young age, then you will probably survive! But for most of the remaining people, we have to see how they try to get rid of unnecessary annoyance and throwing stress out of the office window. Also, try to look at how your life can be beautiful and how much better and better is this life.

Help remove difficulties

– Keep in mind the solution instead of talking about problems again and again. Exit the circle of problems. Tell the brain to start the solution today. Turn up the problem alternatively and resolve all with patience.

Living in the office is anergic throughout the day, then bring home these 5 healthy snacks

-To work, you and I do  have to deal with stress to grow. This will affect your work. However, if you are unable to work properly in the absence of basic amenities, then definitely tell the manager.

Learn how to control things outside your control

Most of the things that give us stress do not tame us. However, if you learn the art of reducing the impossible and overcome it, your personality will be stronger and you will be more successful in the future.

Take a break

Holidays are important for all of us so that you can return to work again with a fresh mood. To keep stressing from work is not healthy. Go for a stroll somewhere between four to five months. This will remove mental tension. The mind will be calm and the mood will be fresh.

Getting rid of office stress is a change in routine
Published: April 22, 2019, 3:01 pm

Malini Saba – A Psychologist and Businesswoman

Business is just not an understanding of numbers but actually an understanding of people and their motivation.

– By Chandran Iyer

Malini Saba is a self–made businesswoman, an ardent philanthropist and a force to be reckoned with. Ms. Saba embodies the concept of using business to serve humanity. Her eminent group of Commodities Company deals in rice, iron ore mining, wheat, palm oil, cashew nuts, and gold. Saba Industries exports 500,000 tons of rice worldwide. The company’s iron ore is used to make steel and its gold is used for jewelry and technology products. In 2017, Saba Industries had revenues of more than $500 million and employed 2,000 local workers. Saba Industries is a prime example of her stratagem of using business to serve humanity. Functioning in the agriculture and mining industry, the group hires local talents and helps them achieve economic stability. The CSR arm of the group, Saba Family Foundation, has given access to life-saving medical and educational services to millions of disadvantaged people across South and Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa, India, and the Middle East. The foundation is an extension of Ms. Saba’s philanthropy and aims to help at least one billion people to gain access to basic health care, education, and opportunities which allow them to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy.
Excerpts from the interview:
Give us an overview of yourself.
I have a lovely family and a very supportive family. I am a psychologist and business is my passion. Business is just not an understanding of numbers but actually an understanding of people and their motivation. Life is not about degrees, life is about believing in your dream and taking opportunities that come your way and moving aggressively in the direction to make your dream a reality.

I started in business at a young age of 20. I have been working my whole life as I worked and put myself through school and college. I don’t come from a privileged life. I worked hard for everything and am still working hard.

Gosh, my typical day starts at 4 am. I wake up and light the lamps for prayer in the home with mantras. Then I tend to my business calls, make my daughter’s fresh hot lunch for school and her breakfast. Get myself dressed, drop her off and off to work. Management of time is critical to make your day productive. I manage my time well. Because it is critical for me I have most time with my child whenever I am not traveling for work. I believe the hardest and most rewarding job in the world is being a parent.

How did Saba Industries and Saba Family Foundation happen?
Saba Industries came about 26 years ago. I wanted to work for myself. It has evolved into this large group. It began with investments and later in Commodities. I believe we should all do what we love. Never focus on money. If you focus on money it will never come into your hands.

Woman Entrepreneur Separator

I love the commodity space. The Saba Foundation came about 18 years ago (about 2001) when I felt it was time to set it up. I wanted to be able to create a space where we could give back to the communities we worked in and also help women and children. This is my focus, I believe women are the future. We must give them opportunity to excel and the rest will follow.

Saba Industries is going to invest $100 million in the rice sector of India and Thailand. Why have you chosen India for this and what do you think would be the major challenges in this sector?
I think there are challenges in any field. I never see things as challenges. I see them as experiences. I think challenge is a negative word. India is a huge bread basket. We picked India because it was the next move for us as a company. I don’t see challenges in this sector. We have been doing it for over 20 years and understand the space and are ready for all the necessary work that has to go in when we go into a new country.

What were the challenges you faced as a Woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome those?

Gosh, where do I start? Being an entrepreneur is one thing, but being a woman in this space is another. I started at a time when there were not many women in business. That too young women. I had to raise funds, people never believing I was able to do what I said I could do. Through the years I faced failure three times. The third time was the hardest. The markets fell and it was a disaster. But we pulled ourselves out of it. The only way to overcome hurdles and failure is to pull yourself back up and find another way to make it work. You cannot give up and let fear ever take over. I am not afraid of failure and I do believe that is the first thing any entrepreneur should learn. Through failure, you can have success. Anyone who says they have never failed in life, I feel is not being honest.

Not just farming: 10 upcoming and promising careers in agriculture

Organic food is the next big thing and this sector foresees a huge trend.


Indian economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and the demand for a professionally trained workforce is strident. The days of thinking of agriculture as toiling in the hot sun with returns at subsistence level are over as technology and scientific inputs have made the process less dependent on manual labour.

1. Agricultural engineering is a field that helps in designing and building farm equipment. Farming activities are bettered by using efficient machining and manufacturing processes.

2. Horticulturists are much in demand to maintain nurseries, greenhouses, plantations and orchards. Organic food is the next big thing and this sector foresees a huge trend.

3. Dairy technology includes production of milk and milk products and packaging, storing and distributing the same.

4. Poultry farming is a lucrative career choice. It involves raising poultry, managing sheds, feed supply, and quality control.

5. Pisciculture or the science of fisheries is also a growing field. The candidate focuses on the methods of breeding, rearing and maintain marine health in non-natural environment. Transportation and distribution is also a part of the career aspects.

6. Agronomists or soil scientists are responsible for maintaining and improving soil quality, fertility, preparing seedbeds, improving sowing methodology and management of soil moisture. Judicious use of insecticide and pesticides is also a part of the job.

7. Agricultural economics is the application of the broad principles of economics in the industry as a whole. Professionals are expected to monitor price and market trends, export and import, consumer preferences and returns on investment opportunities.

8. Agri-business management involves handling activities related to bridging farming and non-farming sectors to create seamless trade environment. Manufacture, storage, distribution and marketing agro products in non-agro channels is the challenge.

9. Agricultural Bio-technology is a nascent field where genetic engineering is married to molecular diagnostics, vaccines and tissue culture to modify plants to make them better adapted and high yielding. It may help in preventing disease and improving food processing capability.

10. Agricultural analysts are in demand for their capability to provide technical advice on economic trends, plan and design reinsurance accounts and help in developing new products.

The scope is endless as the agriculture industry is still in a maturing phase and new technological advancements will open new vistas for the youth to build careers on.

Read more: Make your career in agriculture: Here’s how to be a farmer

Authored article by Malini Saba, Founder, Saba Industries and Saba Family Foundations

Original article may be found here Home


Make your career in agriculture: Here’s how to be a farmer

Start a career in agriculture!



Food security is the prime focus of any nation. The issues faced by farmers are multi-faceted and extensive. It’s all about arming the farmers with skills and resources to empower them to create a new era in food production.

Technology is the medium that will help farmers improve their production and create better and cost effective avenues to financial freedom.

The crux of the solution is that there needs to be a provision for infrastructure and technology to enhance farm production.

The cycle becomes less arduous and time consuming, enabling the farmer to improve profitability by reducing turnaround time.
The way forward is to partner directly with the farmers themselves. This will require an understanding of regional differences and the spectrum of needs that the individual farming community of a state may have.

The aim is to support the farmer with free farm equipment, seeds and fertilizer. The entire production of the crop grown by the farmer should be processed locally. The processed food should then be exported world-wide. The elimination of multiple middle men will improve the earnings of the farmer. There will be major challenges in the diverse Indian market.

The basic issue the agriculture behemoth will face is gaining the trust of the farmer. Once the farmer trusts the process the roadmap to a financially secure agricultural business will be ready for implementation. The infrastructural requirements like logistics and warehousing will also pose a big challenge.

The government along with companies that have a demonstrated history of creating millions of success stories in the domain of farming should work together to change the Indian agricultural realm. The rich cultural and agricultural heritage of the country will be strengthened by this initiative.

Authored article by Malini Saba, Founder, Saba Industries and Saba Family Foundations.

Original article from India Today is seen on Homehere.

Business of Agriculture Magazine: Saba Industries

Business of Agriculture Magazine (India) interviews Saba Corporation Founder and Chairman Malini Saba.


Ms. Malini Saba


Publication:           Business of Agriculture Magazine


Headline:                Saba Industries


Language:              English


Edition:                   National


Page No:                 20, 21 & 22nd


About the Publication:

A Magazine on Business and Management of Agriculture. From a business standpoint, an agri-magazine dedicated at innovations and technology; the ‘business of agriculture’ – inputs, produce and post-harvest – will form the core of the magazine.

The Business of Agriculture
magazine interacted with
Asia’s emerging philanthropist,
Ms Malini Saba, a self-made
businesswoman, who has
helped millions of underserved
women, farmers and children in
South and Southeast Asia, South
America, Africa and the US. In
this interview, she provided us
with the insights of her company
and she is planning to expand her
business in India.

By Mandeep Kaur *

Please tell us about your journey of becoming a $1.5 billion company.
Our journey started 26 years ago. We started as an investor, and then we entered into a commodity business. Initially, we started this business with iron ore only and then slowly, we expanded our business into other metals and agriculture. During this journey, we endured failures, but with a sheer determination, we pulled ourselves out of it.

How did you conceive the idea of starting this company?
I wanted to work for myself. I had the vision to make enough to be comfortable and not to be dependent on anyone for income. Also, I have a passion for agricultural commodities, such as rice, and natural resources because they are essential for human existence. Being an entrepreneur, both success and failure are on your lap, but it is a fact that there is no success without failure. It is because of the hurdles and failures you learn the basics to build a true business on a solid foundation.

20 Business of Agriculture | January-February 2019 • Vol. V • Issue 1

Put some light on your agriculture business model?
Agriculture is a very important sector as far as the food is concerned. This sector is very much dependent on Mother Nature, but it is that era where we can master the skills and perform well. As per our model, we work with the farmers and the distributors. We strongly believe that it is very important
to empower the farmers we work with because they are the ones, who feed the world. We provide infrastructure and technology to the farmers to enable them to increase their production. The less time they spend on the field harvesting, the quicker they can sell their product; and therefore, they can reinvest their time and money in the next crop. This also helps to improve crop production as well as crop yield.

Saba Industry is exporting 5,00,000 tons of rice worldwide.
Please tell us about other agriculture commodities that you are trading.
In addition to rice, we also operate in palm oil, cashew and wheat businesses.

We use the same model for all the products.

Saba Industries is going to invest $100 million in the rice sector of India and Thailand. Why have you chosen India for this and what do you think would be the major challenges in this sector?
Agriculture is the most important sector of the Indian economy because India has a huge and vast agriculture space. India is known as a breadbasket and it is the world’s largest producer of pulses, rice, wheat, spices and other agriculture products. We feel that investing in India’s agriculture sector would help to streamline the system. One of the things we discovered in India is that the drying capacity is quite limited despite the presence of a number of mills. So, we are planning to install large dryers with good operational capacities. Also, our plan is to export rice by partnering with local farmers. Working with us would help farmers to have a quick turn-around from planting to harvest.

is the most
sector of the
Indian economy
because India
has a huge and
vast agriculture

I think one of the major challenges would be to gain the trust of the farmers. Other than this, in countries like India, transportation and warehousing are the major challenges in the agriculture sector.

Saba Industries, the global exporter of agricultural commodities, is planning to enter warehousing and drying space in India’s rice sector. From which region of India, are you planning to start your first phase and what are your expansion plans?

We are planning to start our first phase in Uttar Pradesh. After Uttar Pradesh, we are planning to replicate the same model in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and other states over the next 18 to 24 months.


Will you be partnering with the Indian farmers as you did in other south-east Asian countries? How will you support farmers?

Yes, the only way to do this business is to partner directly with the farmers. We have various methods for doing this and it will depend on the farmer’s needs in particular states. We are aware that we will be working with farmers with different cultural backgrounds, we respect the cultural norms in each area and we also understand that we need to work within those perimeters.
We are planning to support farmers in India with free farm equipment and fertilisers. We will work on a model where we will procure their rice and we will get it processed at local mills.

What made you create success stories in these countries?

We have had a huge success in Cambodia and Vietnam. We followed practices like, we started by studying the terrain as we use to do before we embarked on any new jurisdiction. In these countries, we interacted with the local farmers and allowed them to educate us to understand their needs. After understanding their requirements, we provided necessary help and infrastructure to the farmers, because of which, they had a higher yield, better crops, and shorter harvest times.

Business of Agriculture | January-February 2019 • Vol. V • Issue 1 • 21

What has been the impact of your business model on the lives of farmers?
We help farmers to have better livelihoods. As per our agriculture model, we are partnering with the local farmers, so they directly get money from us. Our model also helps to reduce their debts. We identify all the possible reasons/causes of the farmer’s debts. We either try to help them settle their debts or enable them to have a better yield to make them self-sufficient.
Saba group encourages women to find opportunity in everything.

What are you doing for gender equality in the workplace and what do you think needs to be done?
We try to hire as many women as possible. We also encourage women employees to take further studies to better themselves to be able to earn more. We provide basic infrastructure to help them such as; our offices have childcare facilities, where women can bring their children along with them to the workplace. This way they don’t feel stressed and they can work better.
I feel women should be paid equally to men. I also believe that hiring a woman employed in management can bring a different balanced perspective to the work environment.

What was the idea behind starting a Saba family foundation? Please tell us about its vision.
Saba Family Foundation (SFF) began soon after I made my first million. I strongly believe in giving back to society. Moreover, I also have a special corner for women and

As per our
model, we are
with the local
farmers, so they
directly get
money from us.

children. I grew up in a time when women were not holding high positions in work and there were very few entrepreneurs. SFF fought for women’s legal rights and health rights. We believe that if you help a woman you help the community and the nation.

She will always find a way to feed her baby. We were aware that education is the key; therefore we wanted to work with the partners who could enable women by educating them. At present, we are working with partners to push mandates and policy on bullying. This goes across gender as well as children in workplaces, schools and inside homes.

What is the global sentiment for commodity business?
The commodity sector was a hit in the past years and I believe it will further rise in the coming years.

What is the growth percentage of Saba Industries?
Over the last three years, our growth rate has been 33 percent. Let’s hope we keep that up!

Please tell us about your future vision.
We are aiming to bring technology to the agriculture sector. I believe, in future, the technology will have a great impact on the ways the crops are being produced. It will also improve the efficiency and the yield potential. Technology will bring a new revolution in the agriculture sector, as we have already witnessed this in the past. The agriculture sector is emerging with the help of technology and it will continue to get better and more improved over the years to come.

22 Business of Agriculture | January-February 2019 • Vol. V • Issue 1

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