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Tete-a-Tete with Vimal Kanswa – General Manager (Trade), Sakuma Exports Ltd., Mumbai

1. Can you give us a brief on your company?

Founded in 1998, Sakuma has evolved into a leading STAR Trading House, with exports to over 30 countries located in the Middle East , Africa , South East Asia and the Indian sub-continent today. We generate the majority of our business through export sale of sugar (raw/VHP, white and refined), rice, wheat, maize, raw cotton, feed meal and other agri- commodities from India and import of edible oils for home consumption .

2. Do you have any sister concern or have your diversified beyond agricultural products?

We have subsidiaries companies in Singapore, Ghana, Tanzania and Dubai. Other than agri-products, import of edible oils for trading is our regular business. We have had import of coal in the past, but presently this business is not remunerative, hence kept on the back burner.

3. Under what brand name do you sell your products to the customers? Are the products sold under a single brand name or an umbrella brand?

Currently we are not selling products under any brand name. In future we propose to develop our own brands for sugar and edible oils .

4. How often do you meet your Customers?

We meet our customers fairly often to keep abreast with market trends and their requirements. In today’s volatile situation and very competitive global markets, it is very important for us to meet customers’ demands. Our customers are spread out geographically, making it important for us to study global market trends.

5.Can you provide a recent example of a new commodity/ strategy success story? How long did it take and what are the key elements of the success strategy?

Very recently we have commenced import and trading in edible oils to meet the domestic market demand, as India is deficient in edible oil production. We have also operationalised our subsidiary company in Singapore, which will help develop and expand the company’s business.

6. How long have been associated with Goodrich?

I have personally been associated with Goodrich Group for over 12 years now.

7. What is the single most important benefit that you get from our service?

The volume of business with Goodrich Group has reduced over the last few years. The primary reason being that Goodrich doesn’t service the overseas destinations we are presently trading in. We do a good volume of business in the East Africa, the Middle East and Far East region, which we understand is predominantly a Liners’ market. We will be happy to support the Goodrich Group with good business volume once they provide services to those regions.

8. There is hardly any loyalty existing in today’s world. We are all chasing after the best deal that comes our way. So how do you suggest we get/maintain our fair share of attention from our Company?

I would personally suggest that Goodrich Group starts providing services to the African region to start with.

9. When it comes to documentation, you can outsource responsibility, but you can’t outsource liability. That’s why we make sure our company stays involved in the entire import/export process and we also train our customer service executives to give full support. However, do you feel there is any shortfall in our service?

The fact that I’ve been associated with Goodrich Group for over 12 years and always get reciprocal co-operation in smooth handling of documents. We look forward to strengthening the relationship in the years to come.

As you look forward into 2015, what are you personally most excited about it terms of your Company’s growth?
For our Company , the business remains subdued during the monsoon season particularly in case of sugar export which is one of our main exported and traded commodities .

10. Can you give us your insight on the current market trends of agricultural products?

The market for agricultural products is highly volatile and competitive. The international prices of agricultural products were mostly lower than those prevailing in India. With a bearish micro environment and lower returns, overseas investors were shy and there was a general exit of investment in commodities. This adversely affected Indian exports in agricultural commodities. Mismatch in prices is still continuing, which results in an overall fall in the export volume and rendering export business un-remunerative in general. Buoyancy continues in import of pulses and edible oils, due to domestic demand in excess of production of these commodities. Looking to the huge gap between demand and supply, import of these commodities will continue and for export, domestic prices of commodities to reconcile to global prices to remain competitive and regain lost share in global markets.

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