Sri C. Jagapati Rao, a Post Graduate in International Relations from Jadhavpur University was the Founder of Srinivasa Hatcheries and the Chairman of the SH Group, having put in over 50 years of hard core experience in the Indian poultry industry. His pioneering dynamism and able stewardship have resulted in a steady increase in the group's turnover and profitability. Also he was a founder director of Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group and has been in-charge of its Hyderabad operations for about two and half decades.
He plays a dominant role in the Indian Poultry Industry and is well known for his intellectual dynamism and his ability to drive innovation to newer frontiers. In addition to being on the Boards of Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group and Srinivasa Hatcheries Group, he holds important positions in many national and international poultry and allied organisations. He is actively involved in poultry related associations like NECC, A.P. Poultry Federation and Poultry Breeders Association. He is also a member of the International Egg Commission in U.K.
Mr. Jagapati Rao is known for his brilliant and shrewd thinking, straight forwardness, broad-mindedness, highly humanitarian and social values and is acutely diligent in his approach towards any task. While he carries his responsibilities with grit and determination, he believes in proper delegation of work and ensures that it is consistently executed.
A household name among poultry farmers
Chitturi Jagapati Rao, who left a mark in poultry industry is a very contended man today. Starting from virtually nothing, he has built a multi-crore empire in a span of over 45 years. Partnering with the legendry Dr.B V Rao, he has done yeoman service to the industry, bringing recognition to it and removing the taint that it is a backyard avocation. Jagapati Rao today has become a house-hold name among poultry farmers in the state for his service to them.
His outfit Srinivasa Hatcheries having its core operations at Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam is going from strength to strength. Looking back over the long path he had traversed to become the giant he is, Jagapati Rao talks with excitement of the rough and tumble of the industry.
“I am extremely happy today for bringing respect to poultry industry. When I started a small farm in Ramanthapur in Hyderabad, my father did not like it at all. He had low impression about poultry industry. When he came to Hyderabad, he did not even visit me,” he says.
Jagapati Rao has been a fighter from the beginning. Any difficulty in life is always a challenge to him. In his early days, he was associated with the student movement. He took a headlong plunge into the struggle for statehood to Andhra Pradesh. Those were the days when Potti Sriramulu was leading the agitation.
Probably the streak of the fighting spirit that had been runnning through him made him a tall figure in the poultry industry. Born in the remote Kulla village in East Godavari district in 1933 to Venkatarayudu and Seshamma, Jagapati Rao took keen interest in education. After schooling in his native village and a neighbouring village, he moved to Rajahmundry for his school final examinations (11th standard).
After completing it in 1951, he joined Raja Pithapuram Government College in Kakinada for intermediate course. After completing BA in Rajahmundry, he moved to Calcutta for his MA (International Relations). Thereafter he returned to his village and in 1961 he got married.
He started by taking on lease a few sheds in Ramanthapur in Hyderabad in 1965 and launched a poultry farm with 2,000 birds. “I came to Hyderabad with modest investment in hand. I had no support from my father because he did not like poultry,” he says. In 1967, he bought land in Uppal and started a farm using hybrid birds. In those days, no banks used to give loans. Only in 1971, he could get bank finance because his shed was blown away by cyclone killing the birds. This sudden calamity did not deter him but only reinforced his resolve to make a mark in poultry industry.
Before this, in 1966, he chanced upon meeting Dr.B V Rao, who was operations manager of Arbor Acre India Ltd, Pune. He met him at an exhibition in Mumbai on poultry. “This was turning point in my life,” he says. Poultry was in an incipient stage in AP those days. It was less than one lakh birds. Jagapati Rao and Dr.B V Rao together organized All India Association of Poultry industry.
Both became friendly soon. Dr.B V Rao used to train Jagapati Rao’s men in breeding. Jagapati Rao used to go to Pune every now and then. Dr.B V Rao shifted his family to Hyderabad, after resigning his position in the multinational company and started a poultry farm in Injapur on Nagarjuna Sagar road in Hyderabad. Both started an Egg Bank at Basheerbagh. “We were the first to export eggs by trucks to Mumbai in baskets in those days,” Jagapati Rao reminisces.
Later both of them along with few other friends had planned and set up Venkateshwara Hatcheries in 1971. Its business office was in Pune and the registered office in Hyderabad. Jagapati Rao was the whole-time director for Hyderabad operations. “Till 1980, we used to import grand parents. We appointed franchisees all over India to sell our chicks.”
In 1980 they took up breeding research. The Venkateshwara Hatcheries became an instant success and in its first year of operations, the turnover touched Rs.1 crore. By 1996 when Dr.B V Rao died, the turnover was Rs.500 crore. Now the group turnover is more than 3000 Crores.
Jagapati Rao says Venkateshwara Hatcheries has set a trend. Its breeds have 80 to 85 percent of the market share and in broilers the share is 75 percent. In 1996, B V Rao’s daughter Anuradha Desai took over as the Chairperson and managing director of the Venkateshwara Hatcheries.
In 1978 itself, Jagapati Rao started Srinivasa Hatcheries at Vijayawada with 6,000 layer parents. Now it has 2.5 lakh layer parents. Jagapati Rao was the founded treasurer of the National Egg Coordination Committee started in 1982 to help poultry farmers. He also co-founded Ago Corpex India Ltd which used to buy eggs from farmers and sell them.
“The road to success has not been easy. It was tough. But trudging on tough road is a challenge. It gives you immense satisfaction after reaching the goal,” Jagapati Rao says.