VINAY CHAND ASSOCIATES
specialist leading marketing consultancy with extensive experience in consultancy on:
Marketing and Distribution
Vinay Chand Associates activities:
working with the global private sector on markets and marketing
in developing countries on production, processing and export of soft commodities as a means of poverty alleviation and rural development.
Our experience stretches from contacts with IBM, Intel and Global Foundries to promote the use of 'Membrane Distillation' for treating processing Ultra Pure Water to persuading a leading supermarket chain in Kuala Lumpur to promote sales of fruit and vegetables from Cambodia.
We are at the cutting edge of Consultancy on Market Research, Marketing and Distribution. Our speciality is in tackling situations where there is a lack of published data.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru,advised that India and all developing countries had always been weak on Commodity Marketing and that Vinay should train and gain experience in that area, become as good as the best in the world and then anything he did for any developing country, he would do in the name of India.
That is our Mission - to fight poverty through bringing cutting edge information and technology to maximise earnings, particularly for poor farmers. In this struggle we are not neutral, we are on the side of the poor farmers. What we are fighting are the attitudes instilled by centuries of subservience and dependency, described so well by Frantz Fanon in "Wretched of The Earth".
Vinay Chand Associates are in the process of moving away from consultancy to investment. the reason for this must be obvious from our site. After 40 years of consultancy in rural development, we have had to conclude that most donors are concentrating solely on Technical assistance and this does not change anything on the ground. Very often there is even a negative development impact. Where there are commercially viable agribusiness investment opportunities, direct investment is preferable.
There are two broad areas in which we are interested for investment and they are:
1 High Value Coconut Products
The growth in markets for coconut products new opportunities have been created. With high value coconut products there are three areas for investment:
By combining the three above, the value chain is shortened, much higher profits made possible and the products that most appeal to us are:
Tender Coconut Water - there is as yet no determined effort to promote tender coconut water, instead the major brands have focussed on mature coconut water which is a by-product from desiccated coconut processing.
Virgin CoconutOil - is mostly being produced by small commercial units using a large range of technologies with variable product quality. VCA is targeting one best quality to be sold to the mainstream of the market. Small units sell through a lengthy value chain that leads to high retail prices while not making it possible to pay farmers sustainable returns.
Ice Cream Mix/yogurt mix - a market oriented product that avoids the crowded market for coconut milk and cream. It is now necessary to develop markets which also yield better returns.
Freeze dried coconut meat - the future growth area is nutri products based on higher quality ingredients which are a step above aseptic packaged liquid and powdered coconut milk. This is a far higher value sector.
Rubberised coir mattresses - Consumers in India and China have joined those in Malaysia sleeping on natural mattresses made of coir and rubber latex that are in our considered opinion far better than those made of inner spring construction or foams including memory foam.
Taking tender coconut water as an example, the situation is:
The idea would be to have a farmer partner collaboration and to achieve a price that is twice that being paid for mature coconut water which, in turn, requires a proactive role further down the value chain with an own brand selling directly to retail chains. the retail price would not be substantially higher although, to begin with, it would also not be lower.
But the product would be aseptically processed, organic, fair trade, pure virgin coconut water with no additives. No such product is on the market since we do not accept the canned products from Thailand or from elsewhere as equivalents.
We invite $6 million to process 12 million coconuts per annum.
The above is one example only. We are also interested in the other high value coconut products we listed and two that even worth more that we do not list.
Vinay Chand is the son of Indian diplomat, Dr. Jagdish Chand and grandson of Wazir Chand of Patiala. His ancestors were brought over from Delhi on elephants around 1826 to run the princely state of Patiala.
Vinay was brought up in Embassy Homes of father, a Commercial Secretary of the Indian Foreign Service, (following a stint at the Punjab Chamber of Commerce in pre-partition times and before that in the Patiala Foreign Service), in Baghdad, Stockholm, London and Budapest. Vinay is also only too aware that he does for many countries and within the private sector what his father did for the Indian Government and his grandfather and great grandfather did for the State of Patiala as a Wazir. Instead of serving one prince, Vinay now serves all princes equally loyally. Only the geography has changed.
Primary school was in New Delhi (Delhi Public School), Baghdad and Stockholm (International Embassy School). Secondary Education was in London (Kynaston School, St. Johns Wood) after which over the period 1963-68 Vinay Chand read for two degrees at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London University, the Batchelors degree was in Economics with International Relations, the Masters was in International Relations specialising in International Institutions and in particular, on the emergence and development of the post war international economic system.
Following one year as a graduate trainee Inspector of Taxes in Islington (1968/69) where he was introduced to bookkeeping, accounts and tax law, London, Vinay became a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer for 9 years in the Department of Business Studies, specialising in Corporate Strategy, Business Policy and Economics of International Business, in what is now the University of the South Bank in London (1969-78). Vinay helped develop courses and taught on under graduate, graduate and post experience courses. Since having left, Vinay Chand has returned on occassions to hold workshops on International Commodity Marketing for the final year under graduate marketing students. He has also undertaken training workshops.
In his last three years as a Senior Lecturer and from 1978 on a full time basis Vinay has been a Consultant Marketing Economist. It started with two articles in 'Retail Business' on the UK Market for Biscuits and the Market for Cakes which led to Market Research in the UK and Europe on cigars for Cubatobacco (a new cigar brand actually resulted) and globally on soya and soya procurement strategy, which in turn broadened to Marketing and Distribution related to development projects and from that into Export led Rural Development. Vinay Chand Associates is the trading name for Vinay Chand.
A fortuitous introduction to Aapo Saask of Scarab in Sweden by IMPOD while on a Jute Market Study led to a long term involvement with advocacy on promoting 'Integrated Coconut Processing'. With Scarab increasing focussed on water purification, Vinay Chand Associates took over the coconut interests. Alfa Laval and Tetra Pak were early clients for a study to identify a potential investor in an Aqueous Processing plant in the Philippines.
Our first visit to the country was at the instigation of Mr Juan Ponce Enrile, Chairman of PCA and Minister of Defence when Rolando de la Cuesta was PCA Administrator. Later, we worked closely with the Swedish Embassy and former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez to promote higher value use of coconuts. Sadly, there were too many political obstacles at the time as best illustrated by the assasination attempt on Manny Pelaez following his strong opposition to the copra levy and how it was being implemented and the fatal one on former Senator Ninoy Aquino, whom we had got to know and liked and who had expressed sympathy for what we were trying to do for coconuts.The election of his son as President at least hopefully sends a signal to those who hired his assasins and who still hold eminent positions in the country. It is quite astounding that the latter got away with it although Marcos paid a political price.
We also welcome the appointment of Romulo Arancon as the new Administrator of PCA. Romulo has a massive international network on coconuts through his previous position as Executive Director of APCC.
Market Research, Development and Promotion have been key areas of activity with a large number of market studies implemented in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries in the region. These studies have sometimes been on development projects and, at other times, for industrial private sector clients. This mix of clients has led to understanding of markets and marketing for commodity and industrial exports and a hands on approach to market research. The two merge to give a very business like rather than academic approach to studies and application of the highest standards operating in leading sections of the private sector. An important part of Vinay Chand Associates remains a very experienced specialist market research company.
Markets we have researched often:
Australia, New Zealand,
Cambodia, Viet Nam,
Europe, Middle East
Our experience has given us an extensive exposure to particular sectors including automotive components, upholstery and vehicle upholstery, erosion control products, rubber products, food industry machinery, water filtration, and food produce and products. Specialisation in qualitative research techniques has been of tremendous help in our development.
We can research an area such as food distribution in the UK which has exclellent public data or in an area where there is no published data and feel completely comfortable doing so.
Vinay Chand Associates contracts directly as a Consultancy such as for the Kiribati coconuts feasibility study with EU, Kyrgyz Republic World Bank Project Export Marketing Infrastructure and Dominican Republic pre-feasibility study on integrated processing of coconuts, Vinay Chand also works as a Consultant to major Consultancies and as a sole Consultant recruited directly by clients such as in the private sector and UN Agencies.
Development work has been mainly value chain based pro poor export oriented agricultural diversification and rural business development.
We have always used value chain analysis because we believed it to be the best approach in understanding the entire situation and its ramifications and to be able to compare it to the situation with other crops or countries. It is crucial to understand every part of the chain and early in his Consultancy career, Vinay Chand has carried a sack of citric acid through a Reckitt and Coleman condiments plant to identify handling problems which he then helped solve and coconuts between two islands in Kiribati on a small boat, constantly brushed by sharks, in the middle of a storm at sea with rather uncomfortable results. A helpful pilot of a large passenger jet flew around Rakahanga in the Cook Islands three times at low level so Vinay could look at the coconuts, much to the amazement of the passengers and the Islanders.
work has sometimes been commodity related as was the study on diversification for BAT in Indonesia on spices, essential oils and oleoresins (BAT actually implemented the diversification as the report was being conducted), at other times product based, as was the case for the study on the South East Market for Erosion Control Products for Bekaert Steel. Or it can be entirely industrial or consumer oriented as in the case of work for the Scarab Group in Sweden mainly on water purification.
Over 38 years Consultancy on mainly short assignments in numerous countries dealing in a variety of commodities has given Vinay Chand Associates a breadth and depth of experience. The brevity of the assignments meant more commodities and more countries were covered.
We have worked on most soft commodities, including: wheat, maize, rice, cotton, jute, coir, abacca, sisal, edible oils (coconut, palm kernel, palm, sesame, sunflower, groundnut), essential oils and oleoresins, fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, sugar, tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, cashew, edible nuts, spices, cut flowers and ornamentals and food products. Although we have become leading experts on some particular commodities, we are essentially concerned with commodities as such.
Vinay Chand has also worked with the Scarab Group of Companies in Sweden for 20 years, developing a cutting edge water purification technology known as 'Membrane Distillation'. The most recent role is as CEO of Xzero AB developing rinse water stations for the Semiconductor Industry. Vinay helped determine Marketing Strategy and develop client relations.(www.scarab.se) as well as presentations to potential investors. module for rinse water for the semiconductor industry
The most recent was addressing the Ultra Pure Water conference in Phoenix, Arizona in 2013 concerning tackling nano particles and attending the 2014 Conference in Portland, Oregon. The latter gave another opportunity of visiting Intel in Hillsboro, always fascinating.
The Semiconductor Industry is busy working on the 450 programme with a new generation of chips due in 2017 and introduction of a larger wafer of 450 mm. Xzero is working with others to be part of this programme. This year holds a great deal of promise for the company. Tests of a module are being undertaken at Clarkson University in the US.
Tests in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and at KTH already show that MD can concentrate RO reject brine water and can clean waste fab water to RO quality. Over 99.99% of salt was removed from RO treated water in Saudi Arabia.
Scarab has also been developing products for residential uses through HVR. Developing membrane distillation for a residential countertop and a module for small community use.
Aapo Saask, founder Scarab Group
In recent years, Vinay has been asked to help prepare and present tenders and draft TOR for clients. In doing so, it was clear that very little had been done to collect, organise, interpret and analyse soft commodity data.
While acting as Team Leader on the EU-ACP Action Plan, Vinay had to help recommend allocation of funds between 5 International Organisations and this included fairly large sums to help with information technology. Given the very large amount of development aid over the years, Vinay was astounded that what was achieved was most unsattisfactory.
Given that we have listed on the other side of this page our major accomplishments, we will in the interests of honesty and transparency also list the projects we have worked on that we regard as major failures.
Rappateur on Dissemination Workshop for The Pacific Region on the AAACP Project.
Vinay Chand was recruited as a short term consultant to undertake a synthesis report on the project as implemented in the Pacific and act as rappateur for the actual workshop held in Fiji in Novermber 2011.
We will not say more but having formulated the project as Team Leader Vinay Chand was shocked by what he learnt when undertaking this assignment and found that no one wanted him to speak too much about it. In our assessment not one single dollar additional income was generated by the AAACP programme in the Pacific or the Caribbean. The report for the workshop was conveniently edited out and there is no final evaluation report being circulated.
Coconut Sector Strategy in Binh Dinh Province of Vietnam for NZAid.
Binh Dinh Province produces around 80 million coconuts per annum. The first part of a Rural Support Programme which includes livestock, safe vegetables, capacity development and coconuts.
The Province mainly supplies fresh de-husked cocconuts to China by a land route and supplies most of the coir produced in baled form to the same destination.
The current prices lead to famers averaging over US 18 cents per nut and another cent for husks. This is a better income than they would get if they were processing for oil and meal or even desiccated.
There is scope for increasing earnings by increasing yield rates, high value kernel products like milk and VCO and higher value coir products.
The project is deemed a failure because the provincial government was not serious about actually helping farmers and URS not serious in pursuing such assistance.
Even the atmosphere at the office was unprofessional and backward. What a waste of money!
AAACP All Commodities Programme.
The concept was exciting and extremely well researched. The EU Team had been most professional in preparing the project and the Team to formulate it had a very impressive field record.
The proposal was to allocate 45 million Euros between 4 International Organisations to undertake rigorous value chain based commodity diversification strategies and mainstream them into pro poor Agricultural Development Plans. The four IOs were World Bank, FAO and UNCTAD. To these ITC was added by my personal recommendation.
The team were happy with our preparation, ACP/EU were happy with the proposal and it was approved with few changes.
We were convinced by ITC that their participatory strategy formulation approach was best and cost effective. That proved to be our most serious error and that is why this project is in the failure list instead of being the great triumph it should have been.
However, ITC extended the participatory strategy formulation into a three year process and the other IOs had to improvise. The result is a lot of expensive talk (I calculate it at $1 per delegate per minute), poor control and precious few extra dollars for farmers and no reduction in commodity dependence. Thus the project failed nearly completely in all its central objectives. We should have seen it coming.
The one gain was intended by the EU and that was that the 5 International Institutions were encouraged to coordinate with one another. Whether this will continue now the project is over is doubtful. Still, if you pay people to talk to one another, it is reasonable to hope it becomes a habit.
The best testimonial is illustrated in the long term development of Consultancy with gradually more senior roles on contracts for:
International Trade Centre (WTO/UNCTAD),
European Commission (EC),
Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO),
Asian Development Bank (ADB),
World Bank Group (WB, IFC),
Commonwealth Secretariat (CFTC),
Common Fund for Commodities(CFC),
German Chamber of Commerce,
National Agencies of:
Private Clients including:
British American Tobacco,
Desarallo Investments in Dominican Republic,
Grace Kennedy Foods
Kulia Investments (Kenya),
Phoenix Corp (Philippines),
Scarab Group (Xzero, HVR and Purity),
Vanuatu National Farmers Association,
Over time, contracts have often been as Team or Mission Leader (5 times for EC, many times for ITC, once for ADB, SEDF and NORAD).
Because of the 36 years that has elapsed, many of our direct clients are no longer in their old posts but refrences can be given on request to most of the above list of former clients.
We have also been priveleged by being associated with some of the leading experts in a number of areas who can also provide testimonials. They are also our friends, colleagues and Associates.
As an indication of physical outcomes of which I am particularly proud, we quote a selection below:
Retained Consultant for 6 months to Grace Kennedy Foods, a private company from Jamaica to advise on long term strategy to procure tender and mature coconut water and milk.
Culminated in a Mission together with GK to Indonesia and Philippines and assistance to develop relations with potential suppliers in other countries including India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
The consultancy allowed an insight into the perspective of buyers while we had and normally work with the producers. The private sector has more data than the development institutions imagine.
Regional Coconut Development in the Pacific Region for ACP/EU as Team Leader.
The Ambassadors representing the Pacific Region in Brussels requested intra-regional funding of pilot coconut developments. This was agreed and an action fiche commissioned which Vinay Chand prepared as team leader. The draft report has now been accepted and implementation is being considered.
Since the report was accepted two years ago, we have been assisting the Ambassadors representing the Pacific Region in getting it implemented.
The project would be the most important achievement imaginable for us and that is why we have been promoting it. It would fundamentally improve the lot of farmers and would be an example as a business model.
The ACP EU policy has been, in common with many other donors, to concentrate exclusively on Technical Assistance rather than physical investments. Whatever the theoretical merits of the strategy, endless repetition of familiar workshops ostensibly to train farmers but rarely attended by them, information on opportunities that cannot be developed due to lack of finance and other standard textbook approaches.
Slow progress is being made and there is every reason to believe that the project will kickstart in Vanuatu in 2015.
Mid Term Evaluation of FACT (Facilitating agricultural Commodity Trade) EC project in the Pacific Region.
Visited Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to look at progress at field level of assistance being given by FACT to SMEs and to develop national capacities. Looked at balsa, canaria nuts, teek, VCO, high value fruit exports, accreditation, and essential oils amongst other projects.
FACT is highly praised within the region and has been followed by IACT, a larger project.
Markets and Marketing of Cloves, Pepper, Vanilla and Cocoa from Madagascar
Part of the rural livelihoods programme funded by the European Commission. Madagascar does well producing these commodities and exporting them but there is considerable scope for improvement.
Visited India, Indonesia, USA and Switzerland to talk to the main buyers and processors including Nestle, Virginia Dare, Shanks and leading spice traders in Cochin.
Coconut Husk Products
Advisor to GTL on uses of coconut husks including mulch, peat, coir products as part of their major private sector investment in Asia.
Sector strategy design and follow-up activities for the Pacific under the EC-funded All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme. Senior consultant on the Coconut sector (Pacific). Fact finding phase with stakeholder cosultations was completed. It is being followed up by participatory strategy development for coconuts in the Solomon Islands. A second round of workshops took place in October 2009 at which the general process was endorsed and recommendations are being prepared for participants to consider. The process appears to be caught in a rut of institutionalisation.
EU-ACP Action Plan and Africa-EU Cotton Partnership (Mission Leader for preparing 45 million euros project now being implemented). The Plan was accepted by EDF without significant changes and is being implemented as the 'All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme'. Based on vigorous value chain analysis, the plan uses farming system studies as well to develop pro poor commodity strategies that reduce dependence on single commoditities through a participatory process and to mainstream them into sector policy.
The Team, composed of seasoned experts (Jean- Pierre Llabres, Patrick Welby, Tonnis Sviervogel and Vinay Chand), had the advantage of some excellent preparatory work by EC officials, and from the ACP Secretariat.
There are strong indications that the degree of collaboration between the 5 International Organisations given grants (World Bank, FAO, ITC, CFC and UNCTAD) is increasing in commodity assistance as a direct result of the project. That in itself is a major advance.
The danger is that the money will disappear into normal activities of the organisations and the focus on rigorous value chain analysis may be lost together with the pro poor focus on farming systems. There is also the other danger that too much of the money may end up being used to finance staff and overheads.
Looking back, the participatory strategy formulation depends almost entirely on stakeholders being briefed as to options. Without that ill informed decisions can be made that reflect the backwardness of the value chains.
The project is being implemented and we would estimate that it is 10% effective. Some money has gone astray as usual. Too much talk, not enough action. No central control, possibly a design weakness.
Export Led Pro Poor Agricultural Diversification (Team Leader for ITC implemented programme on behalf of IF in Cambodia).
Working with local Consultants to the Ministry of Commerce, a scoping study identified availability of produce. The Team then considered returns per hectare of various crops and identified potential SMEs which could acting alone or in public/private partnerships develop opportunities in targeted areas.
A market check was undertaken by Vinay Chand in Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala lumpur and Bangkok to see what volumes were required, prevailing prices at supermarkets, interested buyers, and the relative comparative advantage of Cambodia to supply. We were lucky in being able to use data collected in previous market assessments.
Findings were presented to Donors and to the SME sector at workshops held at IFC in Phnom Penh.
The study is still available on the MoC web site in Cambodia. Some diversification has taken place but not based on study and planning.
SWEDLANKA Rubberised Coir Plant in Sri Lanka for which we did the feasibility study in 1982, and helped get off the ground as a Swedish-Sri Lanka Joint Venture and which has produced for many years and exported products to Europe.The Project was also assisted by SWEDFUND and the promoter was Premadassa Jewellers.
The plant was the first located in coconut producing countries that was export oriented, increasing value added to coir by tenfold. It demonstrated that exports of rubberised coir were profitable despite high freight costs due to the low stowage factor. Sadly, few have followed its bold example.
In undertaking the research, we started a long term dialogue and understanding of the use of rubberised coir in vehicle upholstery and mattresses. Rubberised coir is the single most valuable product range that can be produced from coconuts.
Abolition of the copra and cocoa stabilisation funds in Samoa which had been impoverishing the farmers by resulting in a lower price each year than the world market price in 1985 during an ADB Agriculture Sector Review. The operation of the schemes was deplorable and we are proud to have helped end them even if understandably the initial reaction by the Government and the ADB project officer was defensive.
Very few commodity stabilisation schemes succeed, especially when they are export oriented. Those for domestic markets such as the minimum price intervention in India have a very good record.
The Report did cause an uproar in paradise and major political changes ensued. Despite initial obstacles, the inevitable conclusions were implemented.
The messenger of bad news is never welcomed with garlands but a Consultant must never be afraid to convey the truth.
Pre-completition Evaluation of Agrarian Reform Support Programme (ARSP) for EC in Philippines which was a great success as a project, gives you faith and confidence in the development process. Farmers in the resettlement programme generally had their incomes more than doubled. One of the most effective and ably managed aid projects we have ever heard off.
Five provinces in the South were covered: Camarines del Sur; Negros Oriental; and Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur in Northern Mindanao. It was such a pleasure to talk to so many farmer groups and work with such excellent colleagues.
Unfortunately, we have not come across examples of replication of the project either in the Philippines or elsewhere which comes across to us as a pity.
Mid Term Evaluation of Kerafed in India for EC, a 45 million euro grant assisted project including copra production and three oil mills of 20 million coconuts per annum capacity each, which was a great disaster, and a good example of how not to do things which is a useful lesson to learn.
The mid term evaluation came out with uncomfortable truths regarding governance issues and technical decisions. The first oil mill simply did not work.
Never a particularly lucrative idea, the way it was implemented reduced viability. Moreover, the disaster of the project helped lose South India of another grant aided that would have helped coconut farmers a great deal.
Evaluation of 20 years of Generic Market Development and Promotion of Jute by ITC which had been a solid achievment. The programme represents an extremely effective use of funds. A lot was accomplished for relatively very little money.
A great deal of work that lessens adverse developments or charts strategy goes under rated and needs to be accliamed when the work has been well done and achieves positive outcomes.