Kings Infra Ventures: Disrupting the Indian Fisheries Landscape

Shaji Baby John,ChairmanYes, it’s official. We are running out of seafood. A study conducted by an international group of ecologists and economists divulges that the world's stock of capture fisheries will collapse by 2050 at the present rates of trawling. The amount of seafood consumption has been exorbitant over the past decade the world over. With 33 percent of wild caught fisheries already over exploited and another 60 percent at capacity, meeting the rising demand for nutritious protein has increasingly become an obligation of seafood farming or aquaculture. According to World Wildlife Fund(WWF), globally, aquaculture both marine and freshwater now produces more seafood than wild catch does. But inspite the wealth of knowledge with our research institutions and Rs.45,000 Cr of export earnings, aquaculture in India is yet to firmly weld the word ‘culture’ with it, as the industry is still far from being organised in a sustainable manner!

One of the pioneers of Indian seafood export industry, Kings Infra Ventures Limited (Listed in BSE) has its export business spread across highly regulated markets like Japan, China, EU and the US. Kings Infra, the architects of Blue Revolution 1.0 (1987-1997) has taken the lead in Blue Revolution 2.0 by providing technological edge for disrupting the country’s aquaculture landscape to make it more sustainable aligned with the Global goals 2030. This will help the company and the country to reach out to the top connoisseurs of these delicacies in high-end global markets. An EU approved exporter, Kings Infra is creating an ecosystem by empowering more farmers, training them with advanced aquaculture techniques, and constantly updating them with the dynamics of the destination market. It not only helps the company increase its cargo space and provide a wide horizon of seafood varieties while maintaining its brand persona – an intact reputation for transparent world class seafood production, but also helps farmers to get better yield and reduce risk.

Making Farmers Market Intelligent

“Currently, aquaculture is more like gambling in this part of the world. The farmers hardly know about the international seafood demand and price points. Our aquaculture hubs and Sustainable Traceable Quality Certified (STQC) platform makes them marketintelligent, before offering comprehensive aquaculture consultancy. Based on our research, we propose to use farm automation, data analytics, and sensor technology to provide them with real time consultancy for production of sustainable, traceable, safe-to-eat qualitycertified production protocols for consistent yields at affordable costs,” asserts Baby John Shaji, Joint Managing Director, Kings Infra Ventures Limited. In other words, Kings Infra equips farmers by leveraging its decades of wisdom, alongside taking them to a whole new world of advanced sustainable aquaculture technologies. It eventually helps them improve their standard of living.

“Be it developing technologies or equipping our farmers with them, our motto remains the same. We intend to create sustainable products without using antibiotics or chemicals which will leave any harmful residue posing a threat to human health and wellbeing,” adjoins Shaji Baby John, Chairman & Managing Director, Kings Infra Ventures Limited. The largest markets like Japan, EU, and the US have stringent quality checks, which is why the organized producers in developed countries had to break the bank and deploy Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology to increase productivity and yields. Unfortunately, it’s not affordable for the comparatively small scale farmers in the subcontinent. But Kings Infra has found a solution to this crater. Using the tenets of the same concept and by integrating indigenous
sustainable best practices with modern scientific knowledge and leveraging India’s global leadership in IT and software solutions, the company has developed a new solution Open pond Recirculating Aquaculture Systems. This 100 percent antibiotic free solution creates an aquamimicry, which implicates a natural ecosystem within the ponds.

We intend to create sustainable products without using antibiotics or chemicals which will leave any harmful residue posing a threat to human health and well being

Kings Infra’s giant tech leaps towards more sustainable aquaculture couldn’t align more with the union government’s vision of Blue Revolution 2.0. The company’s homegrown technologies will help millions of farmers, making inroads into markets in the East and West alike. “Our story in fact starts the first Blue Revolution which we pioneered between 1987 and 1997. It’s been an interesting and tumultuous journey all along,” adjoins Shaji.

Six Decades Young

Kings Infra’s anecdote is also the story of its founder, late Baby John an insightful political leader and social entrepreneur in the village of Neendakara in (Kollam, Kerala), who foresaw social revolution for his community emerging from the deep blue seas. The story takes us back to the late 1950s, an epoch when the fishermen community was being exposed to mechanization by Indo Norwegian fisheries initiative, which being alien to the local community was reluctant to adopt this new enterprise. But, Baby John who was an elected representative presiding over the meeting, foresaw the opportunities that could come to his constituency along with this new initiative, took up the challenge of venturing out into the blue seas to lead by example.

Kings Infra’s journey began from that small boat, lighting up a path for thousands of fishermen. But right from getting used to the advanced boat to marketing the produce and finding a buyer, everything was a challenge back then. Baby John soon formulated the business of collecting, processing and exporting the catch from other fishermen, which made the export a lot easier. The concept paid off big time when the Japanese importers came to know that they could get high quality seafood from a reliable source under one roof.

“The second phase of our growth commenced with our aquaculture venture, which was also with the help of Japanese scientists. We had to buckle down and perform a lot of trial-and-error to really set the business on track, as Aquaculture was a just a laboratory concept then. Once we were all set, our first commercial crop itself got the highest production in this part of the world. It was the starting point of the first Blue Revolution and it spread across the country like wildfire,” adds Shaji.

Weaving Wings to the Industry

Today, Kings Infra under the aegis of Shaji & Baby Jr. and a vast network of experts combined with a young and vibrant professional team goes beyond the Seafood and Aquaculture business to diversify into Infrastructure Development (predominantly for aquaculture), digital transformation, farm automation, commercialization of research and technology extension. The company’s state-of-the-art seafood processing facility, aqua farm and research facilities are located at Thoothukudi, coastal Tamil Nadu.“Merely mass producing seafood is not going to make any difference. India has a genuine opportunity at hand to create the best seafood in the world. As a pioneer in this industry, we focus on bringing the technological innovations that could benefit the whole industry, and lead to improving the standard of living of the farmers. We are committed to learn from the experiences of Blue Revolution 1.0 and provide the technological edge for the country to lead the world in sustainable aquaculture by supporting the efforts of our Prime Minister in creating Blue Revolution 2.0,” concludes Baby.

Key Management:

Shaji Baby John, Chairman & Managing Director

A multi faceted entrepreneur Shaji joined the family business in 1982. A graduate in mechanical engineering he pioneered India’s Blue Revolution 1.0 by setting up the country’s first integrated semi intensive aquaculture project in 1987. Under his leadership, Kings Infra grew into a formidable force and went on to bag several national awards.

Baby John Shaji, Joint Managing Director

The young face of Kings Infra, Baby is a graduate in mechanical engineering and he holds MSc in Strategic Project Management from HeriotWatt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. He focuses on the technology side of Kings Infra ensuring operations efficiency through systems, processes and team building.He believes that it is technology that helps traditional companies to stay relevant.