Desai Fruits Venture (DFV), Indian banana exporter, dispatched the first train shipment of bananas from Tadipatri, Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru (JNPT) Port in Mumbai. The company flagged off 43 refrigerated containers loaded with 890 Metric Tons (M.T.) of high-quality bananas to the port, from where it will be export to international markets.
DFV has signed aa MoU with Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), a Navratna PSU under the Railway Ministry, to connect banana farmers in the region to export markets.
70 percent of domestic bananas produced do not meet the requirement for exports. Still, DFV has been able to change this by providing 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, CEO at 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 have now secured, we can now plan for significant expansions of banana procurement in A.P. 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."
“DFV supports the farmers in the region by increasing productivity and quality, building post-harvest infrastructure, marketing and exporting. The target is to improve yields and quality of bananas through overall management and good agriculture practices. In Gujarat and Maharashtra, efforts in this direction are showing good results”, Marco added.
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 provide transport from farms to the facility with modern packaging.
India's refrigerated container market is estimated at 70,000 FEUs a year and is growing at 10 -12% a year, according to reports. Additionally, India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables at 130 million tons per annum. However, exports of these commodities were meager due to the lack of efficient transportation and storage facilities.