Mahindra Subh Labh Services has entered into a 60:40 joint venture with Univeg to establish the supply chain for fresh fruits produce. Through this JV, Mahindra Subh Labh intends to enter `35,000 to 40,000 crore per annum banana and apple market combined through its brand Soboro. The established grape business of Mahindra Subh Labh will be outside the purview of this joint venture. The JV unit intends to invest `30 crore in the business in the next two to three years and intends to add another 500 to 600 farmers from whom they will source these fruits. The company offi cial said that more than the investment in the project, this JV intends to create infrastructure in place which will help farmers to improve their productivity by more than 50% and help them earn more, with the thumb rule of off ering 35% of the final price to the farmer, and create allied infrastructure of harvesting, ripening and warehousing with third parties to bring down the overall price. Pawan Goenka, ED, Mahindra & Mahindra told ET, “Our vision is to enhance income of the farmers by increasing productivity and helping them earn greater value from the produce. This JV will further help us in delivering our goal.“ Through this JV, M&M gains from high-tech supply chain expertise of Univeg, while the Belgian company gains access to India, which is the world’s second largest fruit market, valued at `2 lakh crore per annum. Hein Deprez, executive chairman and major shareholder of Univeg Group said, “We consider this association the right mix of market presence and farmer connect. Mahindra’s reach together with our proven technical expertise will be beneficial to both the parties.” Ashok Sharma, CEO, agri & allied business for M&M said, with the addition of two more fruits, M&M sees the business almost tripling to `300 crore in the next two years. “The first step is to build the supply chain for bananas and apples and alternatively import good quality fruits like the kiwis, citrus and pears in India with Univeg’s help and two years from now India could act as a major sourcing base for Univeg,” said Sharma.
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