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Sunday, 12 June 2011

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CIC mulls major investments in agriculture

CIC Holdings PLC, a pioneer in agribusiness plans to increase its investments in the agriculture sector to enhance livelihoods and spur rural economic growth.

The company will enter into buy back agreements with farmers in the North and the East and invest over Rs. 300 million in the poultry and dairy sector of the country. Managing Director/CEO, CIC Holdings PLC, S.P.S. Ranatunga said that the company will invest Rs. 150 million in agriculture projects which will provide a large number of jobs to youth and boost the rural economy.

CIC Holdings is no longer referred to as the paint or chemical company but is being identified with rural agriculture, poultry and animal feed.

The company will further invest in its dairy farms in the East and will focus on adding value to milk production to create livelihoods and distribute quality young animals to farmers in the province.

CIC Holdings, a manufacturer of a range of agri-products has over 10,000 acres of farm land and over 20,000 rural farmers in its agri-business. The dairy farms in the East contribute a major share to the country’s milk production. Demand for fresh milk has increased due to the rapid growth of the population in the country.

“We will continue to invest in research and development in areas such as rice varieties, improved vegetable seed production, fruit cultivation and planting material,” Ranatunga said.

The company's demonstration centres at Paranthan, Thirunavelli and Kilinochchi transfer quality technology, seeds, plant material and equipment and disseminates agriculture and market information. The focus is on developing these sectors by training and imparting technology to farmers.

Vast swaths of arable land in the North and the East still lie unutilised for agriculture and food production. The fertile land in the North is home to some of the finest mangoes in the country. Grapes are grown in the North and could be developed for exports.

Ranatunga said that the company obtained membership of the International Seed Testing Association to benchmark with global producers.

The company exports rice to Australia, Germany, France and USA and ventured into the high breed Basmathi rice market for the hotel sector.

Ranatunga said that the joint venture operations with Rahimafrooz, the largest supermarket chain operator in Bangladesh will commence this year.

“All preparations are being made and we hope to start operations within the next few months. The project is estimated to cost over two million Bangladesh Taka,” he said. CIC Holdings will train and provide the technology to Bangladesh farmers. The company entered into a joint venture to replicate its business model in Bangladesh.

“Our animal feeds and chicken carry quality parameters meeting high food safety standards having obtained the ISO 22000 system certification,” Ranatunga said. The certification has helped the company to capture new markets for rice processed at the state-of-the-art mill at Maho.

The company recorded an impressive turnover of Rs. 5.02 billion, a 39 percent increase for the financial year ended March 31. PAT was Rs. 406 million up by 12 percent against the previous year.

The turnover increased by Rs.1.4 billion or 40 percent with crop solutions, consumer and healthcare gathering momentum and PAT increased by Rs. 64.7 million or 18 percent compared to the previous year.

The Group turnover is Rs 21.04 billion, a 26 percent increase and PAT is Rs.1.167 billion, a 56 percent increase.

- LF

 

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