India: INI Farms launches new integrated packhouse
Mumbai-based INI Farms has recently launched one of India's largest integrated packhouses, in a move that is expected to cut back post-harvest losses and improve quality for its banana and pomegranate operations.
The facility is the largest of its kind for these two particular crops, providing complete handling and primary processes such as the cleaning, sorting, grading and packaging of produce which is sold in India and all over the world.
Last month, general manager Kalpesh Khivasara told www.freshfruitportal.com the new packhouse would also be used for the company's relatively new cut pineapple and coconut chunk segments, as well as pomegranate processing.
Constructed over a period of five months, the facility at Vasunde village is just 80km (50mi) outside Pune city and is designed as per international standards, spread over 5.5 acres and 70,000 square feet of constructed space.
In a release, the company confirmed it would have additional capability to manage value-added fresh consumer products.
The packhouse is expected to employ more than 500 people, of which 70% will be women. The facility will be active as of Sept. 15.
"The launch of the largest facility in the country dedicated to banana and pomegranate will enable us to work with farmers to meet international standards of quality products and position India as a leading player in international trade," says managing director Pankaj Khandelwal.
"This will allow us to capitalise the growing segment of branded fruits across the globe. Through this initiative, we have cemented our presence and reach nationally as well as globally to cater to the needs of the consumers as well as improving and enhancing farmers lives."
The launch was attended by over 600 people including 50 farmers and their families. Also present were customers from many countries including the Netherlands, the UAE and Oman, as well as representatives from various government bodies such as Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
INI farms is currently working in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh along with a global presence in over 21 countries, with the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia as its main markets.
Earlier this month, the company entered the state of Andhra Pradesh in partnership with Future Group's Future Consumer Enterprise Limited, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state's Department of Horticulture to encourage and support productivity improvement, post-harvest infrastructure, capacity building and value chain development in pomegranates and bananas.
Through this project in Andhra Pradesh, INI Farms plans to work with 12,000 local farmers to assist them by providing inputs, knowledge, technology and market access that can improve the overall quality of their produce and also fetch good market prices.