Mumbai: In the next three years, there will be massive investments made in the cold chain sector, stated Pankaj Khandelwal, Managing Director of InI Farms. This is mainly because India lacks robust cold chain infrastructure and funds will be needed there.
“In the next three years, we can expect massive investments in cold chain. This could be seen as an interesting space for investors –both in terms of investments and strategic partnership,” added Khandelwal. In past few years, InI Farms have not just managed to attract investments but enter into joint venture. This Mumbai-based company which was started by husband-wife duo, managed to attract Rs 20 crore in terms of investment from venture capital firm Aspada investment (in 2015) and also formed a joint venture with Future Group worth Rs 60 crore (in 2016).
In case of investments, companies like Amazon and Big Basket that are retail oriented, will attract more and more investments into cold chain management. “It is important for the country as they will attract more investments and new technologies.” Thus, helping other players or the eco-system.
When quizzed if the company is looking at funding, Khandelwal stated funding depends more or less on the growth strategy companies follow. “That does not mean we as a company is against funding. But we are waiting for the right time before we go to the market to raise funds. So, we are open for funding and various level of partnerships.”
InI Farms which is a major player in pomegranates and bananas, has set off to become a branded player in the space. The horticulture company has been exporting a major chuck of its products to international market. “But now we are looking at expanding into domestic markets as well. We are looking at more local partnerships,” Khandelwal asserted. However, in domestic market, the focus of the company is tier I cities. “Our focus would be tier I and to some extent tier II cities. I don’t see any need to venture into tier III cities at this point of time. There is enough space to grow in tier I alone and there a lot that needs to be done there.” The sourcing base of the company is from states like Maharashtra and Gujarat.
For the company to achieve these targets, cold chain infrastructure will play a critical role. Even as it sets up its own system, there is some level of assistance that would be required at government level, added Khandelwal. Cold chain is largely for fresh produce to reach the end consumer.
In terms of growth, Khandelwal claims that it will continue to grow at historical levels. He added that getting a robust cold chain management would be vital in doubling farmer’s income.
(Free Press Journal and Moneycontrol are organising a panel discussion on Cold Chain Solutions for Tomorrow’s India, on Friday March 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm. Venue: IMC, Walchand Hirachand Hall, 4th floor, Churchgate, Mumbai – 400020)
Pankaj Khandelwal, MD, INI Farms
Pawanexh Kohli, CEO, NCCD
Kiran Malla, Director, Corporate Finance Strategy, EY
Ravichandran Purshothaman, President, Danfoss
B Thiagarajan, Joint Managing Director, Blue Star Limited
Moderator: R N Bhaskar, Consulting Editor, FPJ
(RSVP: Harish Tiwari: firstname.lastname@example.org)