Desai Fruits Venture (DFV), India’s one of the largest exporter of bananas, has dispatched the first train shipment of bananas from Tadipatri, Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh (AP) to Jawaharlal Nehru (JNPT) Port in Mumbai. With this initiative, the company sets a benchmark in terms of volumes for the fruits logistics industry. It flagged off 43 refrigerated containers loaded with 890 metric tons of high-quality bananas to the port, from where it will be exported to international markets.
DFV has signed an MoU with Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), a Navratna public sector unit under the Railway Ministry, to connect banana farmers in the region to export markets.
According to reports, 70% of domestic bananas produced do not meet the requirement for exports. Still, DFV has been able to change this by offering expertise and technology to help banana growers in Andhra Pradesh enhance the quality of their banana production. However, the long-distance of the Andhra farms to the export port in Mumbai threatens the viability of export shipments for exporters like DFV due to the high transport costs and quality losses during long transits. With the commissioning of the refrigerated rail containers, DFV is now cutting down the transit times to Mumbai port significantly and improving quality, thereby supporting the long-term viability of exports from Andhra Pradesh.
Marco Klinge, chief executive officer of DFV, said, “We want to help farmers across India and enable them to produce for exports. However, the high logistic costs and quality challenges from long transits have impacted the viability of Andhra Pradesh as a potential sourcing hub. With the new railway infrastructure, we can now plan for significant expansions of banana procurement in the state and convince more farmers to cultivate the export-oriented quality of crops. We directly source high-quality bananas from FPOs and progressive farmers and export them to our customers in export markets under our Happy Banana brand.”
With more than two decades of dominance in banana cultivation and distribution, DFV has introduced innovative practices for farmers in the region from providing hi-tech inputs to better management practices, which has resulted in substantial growth in terms of increase in quality and productivity. Farmers from the district can now export Green Cavendish premium bananas to many international markets.
Kurasala Kannababu, minister – Agriculture and Cooperation of Government of AP and Chiranjiv Choudhary, commissioner – Horticulture of AP flagged off the first train shipment. Minister of industries and minister of finance were present at the event as well.
Due to inefficient logistics in agriculture, a vast amount of farm products go waste. Capacity building in logistics infrastructure is a must for the country’s economic growth. The Indian farmers would get a reliable offtake partner for the better-quality fruits they produce,” said Choudhary.
DFV is associated with more than 500 farmers cultivating bananas in more than 1,800 hectares to boost the production and export of the fruit from Anantapur and nearby districts.
“DFV supports farmers in the region by increasing productivity and quality, building post-harvest infrastructure, marketing, and exporting. The target is to improve yield and quality of bananas through overall management and good agriculture practices. In Gujarat and Maharashtra, efforts in this direction are showing good results,” Klinge added.
According to the press release, initially, DFV expects to run 86 refrigerated containers every week from Anantapur to JN port. Depending on the demand, the number of refrigerated containers and the frequency of the service can be increased. One container of the train may carry about 20 tons, wherein DFV will offer transport from farms to the facility with modern packaging.
Speaking on occasion, D Satyanarayana, chief general manager – South Central Region at CONCOR, said, “India is uniquely poised to play a dominant role in the global fruit trade. Our trains will help farmers in a big way in connecting them to exporters like DFV. We are taking several steps to help farmers, and this is one of those steps.”