A consortium of Yes Bank Ltd and the Netherlands’ Wageningen University plans four integrated food parks in Andhra Pradesh that will require more than Rs1,000 crore in investments. The consortium is seeking to grow the food processing industry and tap emerging demand for fresh produce by organized retail chains.
The consortium has identified four locations: two of them close to Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam and two bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Each integrated food park will occupy between 200 acres and 300 acres and will have production, processing, warehousing, cold storage, and trading facilities for fresh produce.
Hyderabad-based realtor, Indu Projects Ltd has agreed to be the financial partner of the four projects. Yes Bank officials said the projects would be funded by a mixture of debt and equity and the consortium plans to rope in foreign investors as well. “We are looking at international strategic equity partners as well,” said Kalyan Chakravarthy, country head for Food and Agribusiness Strategic Advisory and Research at Yes Bank.
In 2005, Yes Bank tied up with Alterra, a unit of Wageningen University Research Centre, to bring the Dutch institute’s agro park concept to India. Alterra has set up a similar project in Wujin in association with the Chinese government that has attracted a number of Chinese as well as Dutch investors.
“We strongly believe that the techniques and technologies employed and showcased in the agro-food parks will greatly benefit the existing food-producers and processors as well as potential investors in the country and, thereby, serve as a vehicle to transform the traditional low-value food processing sector to a high value- addition proposition,” Yes Bank’s chief executive Rana Kapoor had said at the time of the signing of the agreement.
India produces almost 10% of the world’s fruit and vegetables production, but accounts for just 1.6% of global trade in these products. India wants to double its share in the global market by 2015.
The government plans to establish 30 food parks throughout the country. Meanwhile, half-a-dozen large Indian business houses are investing billions of dollars in organized retailing that is fuelling demand for everything from fresh produce to furniture.
The Yes Bank-Alterra food parks will be privately owned and is not a part of the government food park plans.