Senchal Agro: Delivering Top-Notch Tea Products Through Sustainable Sourcing

Siddharth Bansal, Director Breathing a legacy of more than 170 years, the tea industry in India has witnessed phenomenal growth rates so far alongside a few crises now and then. Especially over the last few years, majority of the tea manufacturers have adopted a unique manufacturing model wherein they take care of processing activities, while accumulating green leaves from small farmers or leaf growers. This is exactly the model which Kolkata-based Senchal Agro Pvt. Ltd. has been following across its manufacturing operations since its establishment in 2016 and procuring revenues par excellence.

Back then, Senchal Agro observed that the small leaf growers were not getting the right prices for their tea leaves from the factory owners due to lack of prior experience in tea cultivation. This triggered the company and its agricultural experts to constantly edify the farmers on the benefits of cultivating good leaves and adherence to standardized agricultural practices. This way, the farmers have become capable of delivering top-notch green leaves to Senchal Agro, while bagging higher prices for the same. In turn, the company is fortunate to have more farmers onboard every year via word of mouth publicity.

Unparalleled Excellence
Unlike other manufacturers in the tea industry, Senchal Agro is capable of producing and packaging extremely high quality and fresh tea products in an efficient yet modern manner, despite not owning captive plantations. Today, the company follows a completely automated production process without any human interference right from the point of receiving the green leaves to packaging, thereby ensuring extensive hygiene, long shelf life of tea products and reduced cost. Siddharth Bansal, Director, Senchal Agro, adds, "We are proud to say that our production facilities located at Jalpaiguri District are highly efficient in terms of energy, cost and hygiene as compared to other tea factories in the market". Attaining the Trustea certification within a year and a half of its inception further augments the excellence of the company.
Always The Successful Bidder!
Speaking of the sales aspect, 60 per-cent of Senchal's overall tea produce is sold to major institutional buyers through auctions, while 40 percent goes into its brand ­ Sunny Valley. Sunny Valley has been gaining huge traction especially in the rural areas of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, UP and Bihar, thereby acquiring a loyal customer base, with Hindustan Unilever and Tata Global Beverages being the major buyers of its production. The distinctive aspect of Senchal is that most of its produce gets sold-out to customers very soon after the manufacturing process is completed; thanks to its adept sales team that constantly stays in touch with a range of distributors and retailers. At times, Senchal also invites buyers to its factory to explain them about its manufacturing process and thus, escalate the sales.

No wonder, Senchal Agro has stood-out as the No.1 tea factory bagging the highest price across auctions in 2017-18 at Dooars, the alluvial floodplains of West Bengal. Even when around 400 bidders from two mighty tea manufacturing regions ­ Assam and West Bengal participated, the company managed to bag the 4th position, which clearly portrays its unparalleled forte in the tea industry. Further, Senchal has received a Certificate of Honour for getting the best price at Kolkata Auction in 2018, and also appreciation from Siliguri Tea Auction Committee for the same during 2017-18 as well as 2018-19.

Senchal agro is capable of producing and packaging extremely high quality and fresh tea products in an efficient yet modern manner, despite not owning captive plantations

Bagging 25 percent growth in revenue since inception, Senchal Agro envisions reaching 30 percent by the end of this year having enhanced its production capacity. The company is currently in the process of adding novel, flavoured tea brands to its portfolio by accordingly modifying its processing and packaging models. Siddharth concludes, "We aspire to expand our retail marketing network across India and also reduce the costs, electricity and coal consumption across our manufacturing units. Thus, our prime goal is not only paying the best price to farmers for their green leaves, but also executing our operations in the best sustainable manner".

Customer Testimonials
Senchal and Sunny Valley are totally committed towards manufacturing the best quality of teas and thus in turn supporting the industry and the rich Indian Tradition of tea brewing. In the current market scenario, we believe, that there are very few units like this. We have been able to move major quantities right from inception of business. Our buyers' in turn have full faith in Senchal and it has been a staple of most of the blenders in our region".

Neeraj Patel, Hemang & Co, Anand, Gujarat

"We have always found Senchal's Tea to be of good quality and better `value for money' for all our blends. The brand has made a name for itself in the local UP market as well".
Maharani Chai, Allahabad, UP

"Senchal has been giving good green leaf prices to small farmers and encouraging them to improve the quality and imparting knowledge through workshops/seminars. They have been successful in changing the mindset of the small farmers".
Bijay Gopal Chakraborty, Secretary, Jalpaiguri District Tea Growers Association