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Indian capsicum exporters focus on domestic market due to pandemic

“We’ll have to wait for the right time to start exporting again”

Indian fruit trader Triangle Farms has a focus on colored capsicum, and is working on exporting their produce again once the pandemic is under control, says Mohan Urs, COO of the company: “Triangle Farms’ aim is to supply colored capsicum 365 days per year to our customers. Our infrastructure is designed to deliver colored capsicum like a food factory. We’ve been researching and have developed technologies in collaboration with premier institutions to extend the post-harvest shelf life period of colored capsicum, so that we can eventually ship it across the globe in the post-Covid era.”

Using a retractable roof system on their greenhouse has helped the company deal with things like climate change, Urs explains. “Of the several challenges we have been facing from the past three years, we can point to three major challenges for a grower in a tropical environment like India, particularly Hyderabad and surrounding areas - rapid climate change, insect pressure and post-harvest handling.

Cravo Retractable roof system, a technology from Canada, has helped us overcome the rapid climate changes that happen in the tropics. The roof and side walls of this greenhouse are completely retractable. This means we can create an open field, closed greenhouse or an insect net depending the given conditions outside. And all this happens automatically by way of sensors and controllers."

"We are researching various means to eventually grow crops that are 100% pesticide free. By proper harvest management and using appropriate shrink-wrap technology, we are able to extend shelf life of our harvests from 3 days to over 15 days, thus allowing us to use ship routes to reach around Asia and GCC countries. We are in the process of introducing beneficial organisms to our greenhouses to control pests and meet the European MRL standards. Our focus is to be a top-quality producer and exporter from India.”

Triangle Farms used to export their produce, but have had to discontinue those efforts as the pandemic made things far too difficult. Urs states that they’re focusing on increasing their quality while supplying the domestic market until exports can start again: “We initially started exporting to Qatar, but due to the pandemic, we are more focused expanding our brand for the domestic market for now. However, all our technologies that are being implementing is with the export markets in mind. We are also in the process of reaching the MRL levels that are accepted by global markets and the goal is to be a global GAP certified grower soon. Triangle Farms is registered as a 100% export-oriented unit under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) provisions in India. We are yearning to restart our exports as soon as the Covid pandemic load goes down and the market opens up again.”

Urs explains that the costs of logistics have become the most prominent issue when deciding to take a break with exports: “The most important reason for stopping the exports is the freight charges, which have gone up 400%, as well as the lack of availability of freight on a consistent basis. Overseas customers would want us to keep the deliveries regular and consistent with competitive pricing, which was rather impossible. Growers like us will have to wait for the right time to start exporting again. We are expecting the freights to ease out around July or August of 2021, as the Covid vaccination program is in full swing in India as well as in many importing countries. Our first harvests from the Cravo Retractable roof system will be starting from July 2021, so we are anxiously waiting for things to get better for us to start the exports.”

Next to having a significant impact on the company’s exports, the local market has been affected by the pandemic as well: “Covid-19 has surely impacted the local market demand too. Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi are the major consumption areas when it comes to colored capsicum. We’ve been currently focused on supplies to Hyderabad, as well as Chennai and Bangalore. Going forward, once the Cravo kicks in July we will start shipping our produce to the Pune and Mumbai sector. We’re also exploring shipping to Delhi, as it’s a big market for colored capsicum.” Urs concludes.

For more information:
Mohan Urs
Triangle Farms

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