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Investing Rs. 325 cr, IFFCO forays into food processing

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Fertilizer major IFFCO  announced joint venture with Spain’s Congelados De Navarra to set up a food processing plant at Ludhiana in Punjab with an investment of Rs 325 crore. With this joint venture, co-operative IFFCO will foray into food processing sector.

A delegation comprising the company’s Director General Berito Jimmez and Consultant Inigo Soto, along with IFFCO Chairman BS Nakai and MD US Awasthi, met the Chief Minister to finalise land for the project, which will generate direct employment for 400 and indirect for 5000 people in the state. The company, along with IFFCO, had earlier shortlisted two land parcels for the project.

The foundation stone for the project is expected to be laid by the end of this year and production will commence 18 months from the start of the project, which will focus on frozen potatoes, peas and cauliflowers. Extensive R&D will also be undertaken at the unit by the company, which will perhaps make it the first company to invest in research in this field.

The spokesperson said the pre-feasibility study for the project by Congelados De Navarra – a $220 million company that has pioneered the individually quick frozen (IQF) technology, has already been completed. The company is into processing of vegetables, fruits, herbs and ready-made dishes.

The CM has directed PBIP to facilitate in processing the CLU expeditiously to enable the project to start at the earliest.

Congelados De Navarra is a USD 220 million company that has pioneered the individually quick frozen (IQF) technology. It is into processing of vegetables, fruits, herbs and ready-made pre-cooked dishes.

"We have formed a JV with Congelados De Navarra to set up a plant in Ludhiana. We have already identified 40-acre land for this purpose," IFFCO's MD US Awasthi informed .

In the JV, IFFCO will have 30 percent stake while Congelados De Navarra will have the remaining 70 percent stake, he added.

"The joint venture company will invest 40 million Euros (about Rs 325 crore) to set up a greenfield food processing unit. The foundation stone of this plant would be laid in December and work would be completed in 18 months," Awasthi said.

The proposed plant will source produce like potatoes, peas and cauliflower from farmers and then process them for sale in domestic and exports market.

The IFFCO's MD said it was a logical step for the co-operative to get into the food processing business for the benefit of farmers.

This would contribute in the government's goal to double farmers income by 2022, he added.

"At IFFCO, we have always taken steps to enhance the life and income of farmers. Fertilizers, insurance, agri-chemicals, farm forestry, agri-retail, rural telecom, farmers training to now food processing," Awasthi said.

IFFCO said this new facility would generate 400 direct and 5,000 indirect local jobs in Punjab.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between Rajat Agarwal, CEO, Punjab Bureau of Industrial Promotion, Rakesh Kapur, Joint MD, IFFCO and Berito Jimmez, Director General, Congelados De Navarra of Spain for this project.

The pre-feasibility study for the project by Congelados De Navarra has already been completed.

Recently, IFFCO partnered with Singapore-based technology firm iMandi to start an e-commerce platform for farmers with an investment of about Rs 80 crore.

Delhi-based Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) has 35,000 member societies in its fold. The cooperative posted a turnover of Rs 20,787 crore during last fiscal. It produced nearly 8 million tonnes and sold 10.3 million tonnes of fertilizers during 2017-18.

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