MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Up to 6,000 farmers in Gujarat, India could attain higher revenues from their crops with the construction of cold storage facilities for fruits and vegetables by Champion Agro using $18.4 million in funding from Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“Rural poverty can be reduced through better post-harvest management, which not only helps significantly raise farmers’ income but also provides direct employment opportunities,” said Martin Lemoine, Senior Investment Specialist at ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.
This is ADB’s first private agribusiness loan in India. Champion Agro will use the loan to invest in the entire chain of collecting fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers, packing and storing in cold storage facilities, and distribution to food wholesalers and processors in India and abroad.
The project will include five collection centers, a controlled-atmosphere cold storage facility, and an individually quick frozen facility in Gujarat, as well as five distribution centers located in large cities in different states of northern India.
India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. However, high value agriculture production remains constrained by weak post-harvest infrastructure and fragmentation in value chains. As a result, wastage of fresh produce is estimated to be about 35% of total production.
The project is expected to improve the processing and distribution of quality fruits and vegetables sourced from local farmers, as well as generate higher yields with Champion Agro helping farmers in the choice of agricultural inputs and the adoption of efficient irrigation systems.
The project will also contribute to an increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and thus improved nutrition in India. Only 15% of Indians consume the daily recommended minimum of 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day.
Champion Agro is a leading agribusiness player in India whose products and services range from irrigation systems to a chain of retail malls for agricultural inputs. It is also directly involved in farming activities, with about 17,000 hectares under lease and contract farming.