Mr. Basant Kumar is AGM and Product Head of Honda Siel Power Products Ltd (HSPP), a subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, Japan on PAN India basis. He is graduated in Mechanical Engineering and having Masters in Business Administration. He is an astute professional with 23 years of quality experience in Sales & Marketing, Strategic Planning, Business Development, New product Launches, Dealer/OEM development & Management, significant experience in managing project operations etc. in the field of machinery sector.He is also working on other projects to bring quality products for Indian farmers to increase farm productivity.

These new products will also have BIS and FMTTI Certificates and to be available under different government schemes for Farm Mechanization.

Honda Siel Power Products Ltd. is wholly engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of Portable Generators, Water Pumps, General Purpose Engines, Lawn Mowers, Brush Cutters, Tillers and Back Pack Sprayers. The company is well known in the Indian market to provide environment friendly high quality products. It is ISO 9000:2000 and ISO 14001 certified Company.

Mr. Kumar is instrumental in increasing Company Product range by focusing on increasing growth in Farm Mechanization in India . During his leadership, he has introduced different range of Fuel Efficient OHV Irrigation Water Pumps, Power Weeder and HTP and Back Pack Sprayers. Agriculture World team discussed the progress of the company. Here are the excerpts of the discussion: 

Congratulations, Sir, for reaching your company to the heights, where it is today? Kindly share with us the insights you gained from your business mantra of achievements?

Well, I would like to say that our philosophy is “Respect for individuals” and Ensure three joys of life for them. These are: "Joy of buying for the customer, Joy of selling for the Distributors & Dealers and “Joy of creating” for manufacturing.

Further we, at Honda are working with the motto “Helping People Get Things Done “ by providing quality products at affordable price.

He continued further, “We have gained prominence through our ceaseless innovation and commitment to offer the best products to our customers. We also work with a sense of "responsibility to the environment: related to pollution or noise control". Our Gensets confirm to latest CPCB norms of GOI.

Narrating the growth of the company from the beginning to the present Mr. Kumar explained that Honda Siel Power Products Limited is basically a power products manufacturing company. We are the leader in the power products industry. We are manufacturing and marketing a range of Portable Generators, Water Pumps and General Purpose Engines at its state-of-art manufacturing facilities at Greater Noida. We are also engaged in marketing of Lawn mowers, Brush Cutters, Long tailed out-board motors and Power Tillers.

India is basically known for diesel pump set and non self priming pumpset market but Honda had brought the innovative Self Priming technology in pumpset and created new market and happy customers across country who benefitted by Easy Operation due to this technology.

This has solved the water leakage problem and also removed the need of Foot valves.

Because of this technology, pump also become compact and portable (Weight not more than 32 Kg) even one person can lift or carry the pump. Our innovation changed the whole concept and also reduced the extra human hands required for carrying heavy diesel pumpsets. The focus was to conserve the water and save labour for other agriwork. Now a farmer can carry the pump sets even on the carrier of the cycle.

We understand the focus of Honda towards the Farm Products and the product range in boosting the morale of the Indian farmers. Would you like to highlight the salient features of these products ?

Mr Kumar enthusiastically continued the discussion, "After remaining 15 years of glory in power generator business, in 2000 we realized that India is Agricultural country and the farmers are having small and marginal land holdings. To have good technologies from that point of view, we thought of entering into the field of farm machinery business with the products useful for the small and marginal farmers. We understood the need of the farmers thru survey –they need products having light weight (Portable), Less Fuel consumption and Less running cost ,Easy to operate and Less maintenance .

Presently, we are providing to our farmers Honda Pumpsets range from 1.5HP to 5 HP, Honda Rotary Tiller 'FJ 500', Honda Backpack Sprayer 'WJR 2525' and Honda Brush Cutter. All these products are very light weighted, cost effective and very efficient. And moreover, the subsidy is also available under different Government Schemes"

Highlighting further the company`s ability, Mr. Kumar continued, “We are leading engineering solutions provider company. We always provide need based product to our farmers”.

Regarding development of the Farm Machinery, Mr Kumar narrated a story, “In our programs of interaction with the farmers in UP, in Kashmir and in some districts of southern states of India I myself had witnessed that the soil conditions are different from each other. Honda Rotary Tiller for removing grass surroundings the trees is very useful but I saw in the Kashmir where the soil was hard with small and big stones the farmers were struggling to clear the surrounding of the apple trees. With the change in the tyne size and strength we were able to solve that problem as well and we were able to capture a good market in Kashmir. With the introduction of accessories we were able to make our Tiller as multipurpose machine. This product was firstly made for removing the grass from field but after some time, on farmers demand we have developed customized accessories for this machine. Now this machine can be used for tilling, leveling, weeding and for ridges or furrow formation. It is fully customized and depending on crop spacing and field its size can be reduced from 3ft to 1.5 ft. This rotary tiller is meant for small farmers and for their small piece of land. Beside this it is portable and farmer can easily carry this machine from place to place. We are getting good feedback from the farmers on this product. The cost of this machine is Rs. 85000/-. Subsidy available to farmers under Agriculture and Horticulture Departments under Farm Mechanization Scheme up to 50% of the Cost.”

He continued further, “For Plant protection we are bringing another popular product Backpack Sprayer. We are going to manufacture and market this product from December (2015 ).

Would you like to elaborate how Honda products are economical and helpful in improving their livelihood?  

Mr Kumar responded, “I am happy to answer that firstly our products are not costly and secondly they are fuel efficient. Our products such as tillers, pumpsets, sprayers etc. are at very affordable price; a farmer can easily buy them and after utilizing in his own field he can also give them on rent to other fellow farmers to earn some extra money.”

What is market reach of your products inside and outside of India?

Responding to this question Mr. said, “Driven to the core by Honda's philosophy "The power of dreams", HSPP have 15 Area Offices across India. We have a wide distribution network with 700 dealers, 60 distributers and 15 retailers all over India.We have been continuously bringing joy and satisfaction through a range of power products that suit the requirements of a variety of customer segments in agriculture, domestic and commercial.”

He continued further, “While maintaining the leadership in domestic market, HSPP also is exporting its product worldwide including developed country like USA and Japan.           

Regarding the rich experience of Honda, would you like to mention about the company`s manufacturing capacity and turn over?

Mr Kumar responded gladly, “HSPP benefits from the rich experience of Honda Motor Co., Japan the second largest engine manufacturer in the world due to their strong emphasis on R&D and in-house technical innovation.  Every product manufactured is the result of persistence in quality control, giving it the cutting edge for that extra reliability. This year company's turnover reached to 700 crore. Twenty percent of our total production is exported to outside. We have a total production capacity of approx. 3 lakh units per annum.”

We are pleased to note the performance of the company. Now can you give us some insights into the basic criteria of Government to subsidize the farm products? Are these criteria are feasible in current era of technology? What are the basic needs of a farmer for farm products?

Responding to this query Mr. Kumar said. “The Central Government can give the subsidy to those products which are listed under BIS but we are facing the problem from the side of state governments because they have different norms for subsidy of machineries. Government is still giving the subsidy to diesel based products which is irrelevant in modern era of technology. Farmer just want quality product; it does not matter which type of fuel is consuming in what machine. In present scenario, farmer’s basic need is for any farm product is More Fuel Efficient, Less Running Cost and Portable”.

He continued, “In these days everyone is talking about noise pollution and air pollution in urban cities .There is need for clean environment in villages also by using clean fuel technology and many products based on gasoline (clean fuel) available but still some state government give more emphasis on diesel based products. Government must consider new technology based product which are fuel efficient and running cot cheaper than diesel bring more saving and healthy environment to farmers..

What is the criteria under consideration while selecting any Farm Product to be developed in the context farmers in India?

In answer to this query Mr. Kumar said, “Although India is an agricultural country yet almost 75% farms are small farms. According to latest government report the farmers having below 1 acre are under debt of Rs 460 and those farmers whose holding are between 1 to 2 acre have income only Rs 500. In this situation you cannot imagine to manufacture high cost products. They are not able to purchase costly farm products; so here is a responsibility on government to give subsidy to these products. There are three things which are of important consideration while making a product: initial cost, running cost and maintenance cost. First is initial cost: Farmer always get attracted towards low cost and good feature products during purchase of any farm product. Second thing is running cost in which product should be very fuel efficient and last thing is low maintenance cost.”

Kumar further explained, “Our products have all the above cost efficiency; even carbon deposition in our product is very low which ultimately reduces the maintenance cost. We are adhering to all the pollution norms; even to the noise pollution we are very careful. Moreover, we are always there to serve the farming community with dedication. After all they are the pillars of the Agriculture Economy.”

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