The Power Of I 2017

India's Pride

The story of how KRBL became the world’s biggest exporter of basmati rice

Photographs by Vishal Koul

When basmati rice manufacturer, KRBL  introduced ‘India Gate Classic’ in 2008, it was the beginning of a revolution. The top-notch quality and taste of the new Pusa 1121 variety took the market by storm making KRBL the largest branded basmati rice company in India. However, this was just one among the many memorable moments during KRBL’s 120-year long journey. The legacy of Khushi Ram & Behari Lal which started in 1889 in Pakistan has been carried forward by the three third-generation brothers, Anil Mittal, Arun Gupta and Anoop Gupta. Today, KRBL is the world’s largest rice miller and exporter. Its flagship brand ‘India Gate’ is the market leader in several of the 73 countries where it spreads the aroma of basmati rice. The company hopes to clock a revenue of nearly Rs.6,000 crore over the next five years on stronger demand from international markets

KRBL is a story that spans over a century. It has seen the ebbs and flows of time and has moved ahead through it all to become the world’s largest basmati rice miller and exporter. Khushi Ram & Behari Lal, the eponymous company named after the two brothers who started it in 1889 in Lyalpur, Pakistan, is today headquartered out of Noida and has abbreviated its name to KRBL. Along the 120 years of its journey, the company witnessed milestones of Indian history shaping the course of its business too. Today, KRBL has a 25% share in branded basmati rice exports and more than 30% share in the domestic market.  Around 48% of its revenue comes from the domestic market and the international markets bring in the rest. The Middle East, its largest overseas market, contributes around 44% to overall revenue.

India calling
Initially, when KRBL started in 1889, the company was into cotton and food grains. The company was doing well, with its ten cotton spinning mills, two rice mills and a bank. Following the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, the company had to start from the scratch since they relocated to India. “To cut a long story short, our family came to India, some of the members went to Punjab, Haryana and, we came to Delhi. In Pakistan we were quite ric


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