Readying plans to straddle entire food chain
Kolkata, March 18: Bhanu Farms, promoted by Keshav Bangur’s flagship BFL Corp, has established in a record time of 12 months the country’s single largest IQF (individual quick freezing) fruits and vegetable processing plant with full cold chain in Jabalpur, MP. Total outlay on the plant is Rs 600 million which has largely been funded out of internal accruals with just 20 per cent coming from domestic institutions.
The plant location, in the middle of one of the most dense vegetation, allows crops to reach in the shortest possible time from harvest to processing unit. Its own farm, capable of meeting nearly 15 per cent of the plant’s processing capacity, has been developed in course of last 4 years.
The company is formally launching its products today concurrently from eastern India – Kolkata, Siliguri, Bhubaneswar and Patna under “Nature’s Gold” brand name. “We are using multiple distribution channels to penetrate the fast growing retail infrastructure of the eastern region. We are targeting both institutional and retail with 60 per cent of our supplies going to institutions and the balance to retail (modern trade outlets and also ‘mom and pop’ stores),” says Anubhav Misra, head of sales & marketing at Bhanu Farms. In the next 18 months, the company’s products will be available in 65 cities with 10 lakh plus population.
Giving a preview of what lies ahead, Misra says the company will soon start sampling stations at key high traffic retail outlets to give consumers a feel of what its catch line “fresher than fresh” actually means. The company plans to export majority of its produce with about 30 per cent to be supplied in domestic markets. It is in the process of acquiring stringent quality certifications like “Global Gap’ which is a pre-requisite for entry into the markets of Japan, Europe and the USA.
In the domestic markets, the company has already tied up with retail majors like Metro, Reliance etc for supply of frozen fruits and vegetables.
Bhanu Farms’ integrated facility of 35,000 tonnes per year of frozen fruits and vegetables range includes Frozen Peas, Frozen American Sweet Corn, Mix Vegetables (with and without rice), Baby Corn and White Corn, Cut Green Beans, Cut Okra and Baby Okra, Carrot Dices, Frozen Broccoli Florets & Frozen Cauliflower Florets besides Mango, Litchi, Strawberry, Orange, Tomato pulps among others.
Bhanu Farms’ vision is to create strong, rich & robust agri base by accumulating farming communities to support supplies of produce to the processing unit by growing desired crop varieties, following good and globally accepted farming practices. “This is expected to result in better farm financial and overall economic development,” Misra explains.
With commencement of commercial production recently, the company is now energizing its plans to enter into “Ready-to-Eat” products in the next couple of months, according to company sources.