KINFRA Industrial Park, Wayanad
The KINFRA Small Industries Park is trying to bring in the good news of industrialisation to Wayanad.
The cool climes of Wayanad fostered one of the best evergreen forests in India, but not industry. The hilly district continues to be one of the most backward in Kerala. As much as 35 per cent area of this district is forests, while farming continues to be the most important economic activity. The backward district today hosts some of the most forward-looking industrial units.
They include food processing units, industrial products as well as raw material and furniture. Some make use of the unique agrarian richness of the hilly district while some others bank on the unique climate that adds to the productivity. And the KINFRA Small Industries Park hosts them all.
PD Joseph’s Safety Foods uses raw bananas, one of the main agricultural products of the district. “There was a time when 5000 tonne of banana was exported from Wayanad everyday,” says Joseph. He tries and process part of it. Started as a marketing executive of baby food company, he turned an entrepreneur thanks to the KINFRA Park. “We do part of the value addition here,” says he. Joseph peels the dry banana and supplies to his joint venture partner. “We have recently launched our product, spiced banana, which is marketed as a snack.”
If Joseph banks on the farm products of Wayanad, S M Mihraj, who has put up a most modern soap and soap noodle factory in the park has a different story to tell. “The climate here is so healthy and conducive, my workers don’t feel tired even when they call it a day,” he says. “Our workers in the other factory’s are tired out by the end of the day.” The productivity is a lot more in the Wayanad plant.
Mihraj is into producing soap noodles, which are a key ingredients to the production of toilet soaps. “There is a huge demand for soap noodles and we cannot even meet it. And hence I chose to set up the plant.” Not many companies produce soap noodles in India. “The only other plant is by Unilever.” Humble Wayanad will compete with the multinational major making products! It is not just the workers which gave him more productivity: the plant which he designed making changes to the standard one, is 50 per cent more productive than the conventional one.
Mihraj is all praise for Wayanad and the KINFRA Park. “Productivity is high here compared with any of our other units.” And the attitude of the park authorities and the government are extremely helpful. “One day the Power went off due to some major breakdown in the feeder and we were halfway through our trial run. Raw material worth rs 10 lakh was in the process. I would lose all it unless power supply is restored in four hours. The sub engineer came to the site and worked through out and restored the power.
If you sense the aroma of European delicacies wafts through the dense air, then it is from the Unit food Products. The Walnut cakes, is the registered trade mark of the company which has introduced many a European product in the Wayanad market and succeeded.
Wayanad is the largest producer of banana’s in the State and safety foods is the only company that manufactures value added products from this highly perishable and seasonal fruit.
“Entrepreneurs should seriously explore Wayanad,” Says Mihraj, It’s not the cool climate that alone entices this young entrepreneur who is expanding on the family business in the cool climes of Wayanad. This also helps the production even other wise. Off course, construction cost is bit high as most materials have to come from Kozhikode.
Reliable power is critical to our industry and I rate KSEB very high on this count in Wayanad. “Once lightning tripped power when raw material worth Rs 3 lakh was in the process. The regular staff was not available late in the day. The sun engineer responsible for the power supply came and personally solved the problem.”
He set up a most modern plant, the second in Kerala after Hindustan Lever. A chemical engineer, Mihraj himself designed a plant which is more economical compared with even big companies.
Mihraj has set long term goals. Apart from washing soap, His victory soap is also producing soap noodles, the key ingredients in toilet soaps.
United Food Product’s Anish T Jacob is trying to bring in European tastes and standards to this once tribal areas. And he has been quite successful, thanks mainly to the Park.
The cold storage with 25 tonne capacity is aboon for entrepreneurs. “At times, the prices f raw material falls very low and hence the utility f cold storage, banana being a seasonal product, it is always profitable for processors to store them. For longer durations.
“In my experience, if you can bring skilled labour from outside, Wayanad has everything else. Entrepreneurs should seriously explore this district.”
The best certificate an entrepreneur can think of giving.