Anil Jain
India
Anil Jain
  • Vice Chairman and CEO, Jain Irrigation Systems Limited (Agribusiness)
Born 1965, Jalgaon, India. Bachelor's degree in Commerce, Pune University (1984); LLM, Mumbai University (1986).
“These small farmers, globally, wherever they may be—if you can provide them with the right products and solutions, it is great for them and also great for you—your own growth, your profitability, your sustainability. ”

Summary

In this interview, Anil Jain, CEO and Vice Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems Limited, explores the origins and history of his family’s business—from the founding legacy of his father, to how he and his brothers have committed to maintaining the values and ethos of the company for generations to come.

Founded by Bhavarlal Jain in 1963, the family business began in kerosene trading, and later secured a gas agency with ESSO. This work brought Jain into contact with rural Indian farmers, who would come to him to fuel their tractors, and who—unbeknownst to them—had a transformative impact on Bhavarlal Jain’s conception of business. As Anil Jain explains in the interview, one day, his father “saw a saying written behind a tractor—on a trolley of a tractor—which said that agriculture is a profession with a future.” That fortuitous interaction changed the trajectory of Jain’s business, imbuing it with the now world-renowned commitment to farmers and the environment.

Since that time, Jain pursued agencies to sell seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, pipes, and tractors. In the 1970s, the company also expanded into the food processing business. In the interview, Anil Jain describes the risk his father took in purchasing an old banana powder plant that had fallen into disrepair, and how he worked to make the plant not only profitable for the family, but for the farmers who worked with them, as well. He did this, Jain explains, through contract farming—working with farmers to improve market connectivity and maximize profits from each harvest. Jain goes on to discuss some of the early struggles his father faced in establishing and running the business, including capital raising and lack of infrastructure.

In the early 1990s, Anil Jain took over from his father as CEO of Jain Irrigation Limited. In the interview, he describes the monumental impact of liberalization on the business, how company navigated the transition to the second generation of family leadership, and the group’s rapid internationalization efforts. Jain also talks about how the company entered one of its now most famous businesses—drip irrigation.

One major theme running throughout the interview is the importance of corporate social responsibility. Jain describes in the interview how, when the company began to develop improved technologies to increase yield and improve harvest quality, they encountered skepticism from Indian farmers, who would say, “You guys are a corporate farm, you can do what you like. But would that happen on my farm?” Rather than try to convince farmers, Jain set out to show them: the company built a demonstration farm and hired a whole new extension and training team, which since has become an integral part of the company’s mission.

Jain concludes the interview by discussing what he views as the challenges facing agriculture in the years ahead, including climate change, population increase, and rapidly advancing technological innovations.

 Read more

In this interview, Anil Jain, CEO and Vice Chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems Limited, explores the origins and history of his family’s business—from the founding legacy of his father, to how he and his brothers have committed to maintaining the values and ethos of the company for generations to come.

Founded by Bhavarlal Jain in 1963, the family business began in kerosene trading, and later secured a gas agency with ESSO. This work brought Jain into contact with rural Indian farmers, who would come to him to fuel their tractors, and who—unbeknownst to them—had a transformative impact on Bhavarlal Jain’s conception of business. As Anil Jain explains in the interview, one day, his father “saw a saying written behind a tractor—on a trolley of a tractor—which said that agriculture is a profession with a future.” That fortuitous interaction changed the trajectory of Jain’s business, imbuing it with the now world-renowned commitment to farmers and the environment.

Since that time, Jain pursued agencies to sell seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, pipes, and tractors. In the 1970s, the company also expanded into the food processing business. In the interview, Anil Jain describes the risk his father took in purchasing an old banana powder plant that had fallen into disrepair, and how he worked to make the plant not only profitable for the family, but for the farmers who worked with them, as well. He did this, Jain explains, through contract farming—working with farmers to improve market connectivity and maximize profits from each harvest. Jain goes on to discuss some of the early struggles his father faced in establishing and running the business, including capital raising and lack of infrastructure.

In the early 1990s, Anil Jain took over from his father as CEO of Jain Irrigation Limited. In the interview, he describes the monumental impact of liberalization on the business, how company navigated the transition to the second generation of family leadership, and the group’s rapid internationalization efforts. Jain also talks about how the company entered one of its now most famous businesses—drip irrigation.

One major theme running throughout the interview is the importance of corporate social responsibility. Jain describes in the interview how, when the company began to develop improved technologies to increase yield and improve harvest quality, they encountered skepticism from Indian farmers, who would say, “You guys are a corporate farm, you can do what you like. But would that happen on my farm?” Rather than try to convince farmers, Jain set out to show them: the company built a demonstration farm and hired a whole new extension and training team, which since has become an integral part of the company’s mission.

Jain concludes the interview by discussing what he views as the challenges facing agriculture in the years ahead, including climate change, population increase, and rapidly advancing technological innovations.

Download Interview Transcript
Full Length Video (login required)

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Interview Citation Format

Interview with Anil Jain, interviewed by Gunnar Trumbull, December 11, 2017, Mumbai, India, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/.