Setting Sail: INI Farms Expands India’s Global Footprint in Fruit Exports

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Embark on a groundbreaking journey with INI Farms as they set new horizons in India’s agricultural exports. In a historic move, INI Farms, a part of the esteemed AgroStar group, proudly launches the first-ever shipment of ‘Kimaye’ pomegranates to the United States, marking a pivotal moment in India’s global trade. Travelling an impressive 20,000 kilometers via sea route, this endeavor signifies a remarkable leap for Indian fruit exports, showcasing the nation’s prowess in agriculture and innovation. Behind this feat lies over a year of collaborative efforts involving key stakeholders from government bodies, research institutions, and industry players, all united in their commitment to propel Indian agriculture onto the world stage. As we witness this remarkable milestone, let’s delve into the transformative journey led by INI Farms and its partners, shaping the future of Indian agriculture on a global scale.

Read the Full Press Release below-


INI Farms expands India’s global footprint in F&V Exports – Pomegranates set to travel 20,000 km to the United States via sea route

29 February 2024, Mumbai – INI Farms (part of the AgroStar Group), India’s leading F&V exporter, is proud to flag off the first container of ‘Kimaye’ pomegranates to the USA. This is a groundbreaking development for Indian F&V exports as it marks the start of fruit exports to the USA via the sea route. Travelling nearly 20,000 km, this is the longest distance travelled by any Indian fruit in the world!

The outcome is the result of more than year-long joint efforts of APEDA, Ministry of Commerce and Industry – GOI, Ministry of Agriculture Govt of Maharashtra, Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), United States Department of Agriculture APHIS (USDA APHIS), NPPO, Pomegranate National Research Center and INI Farms. This encompassed various initiatives from farm registrations, training & monitoring, air shipment trials, development of sea protocol, static trials for shelf life extension and post-harvest treatment.

The container was flagged off by Shri Rajesh Aggarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Shri Abhishek Dev, Chairman APEDA at MSAMB’s Irradiation Facility Center in Vashi (Navi Mumbai). The event was graced by dignitaries from MSAMB, Regional Plant Quarantine Station (RPQS – MoA&FW), US Consulate and US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), APEDA and NRC Solapur. The consignment of 4200 boxes (12.6 tons) of ‘Kimaye’ pomegranates is set to sail to delight customers in the US

Today, India is the world’s largest producer of pomegranates, with over 2,75,500 hectares of land under cultivation. During the fiscal year 2022-23, the country exported over 60,000 metric tonnes of pomegranates to countries like UAE, the Netherlands, Oman, Bahrain and others. The successful export of pomegranates to the USA opens up a new opportunity for Indian pomegranate farmers and exporters and will open doors to other long-distance markets like Australia.

During the event, Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce said, “There is a huge opportunity for exports for the Indian Agriculture Industry. India’s unique agro-climatic conditions combined with the vast diversity of F&V offerings and our ability to grow produce around the year give us a unique advantage in the global F&V trade. Such initiatives are connecting Indian farmers to the world and this will massively benefit both parties as global consumers will get the opportunity to enjoy Indian produce and as a result, Indian farmers will prosper with the help of access to global markets. This initiative is a good start and a testament to the growing Indo-US relations. I would like to thank all stakeholders from APEDA, NPPO, MSAMB, NRC, US Consulate and INI Farms for making this initiative possible.”

Mr. Abhishek Dev, Chairman, APEDA said, “Fruit exports from India have been growing steadily over the last few years. We are seeing 29% year-on-year growth in fresh fruit exports and Pomegranate alone is growing at 20% year-on-year and has the potential to grow further in the coming years. This initiative is a collaborative effort from the production side, the exporter and the buyers. We are grateful to the efforts of the USDA officials who helped us implement the right practices. We also developed sea protocols which have helped us build a 60-day shelf life of the product and preserve its quality. With the success of this first commercial sea trial shipment of Pomegranates to the USA, we are hopeful that it will open up many more opportunities for F&V exports to the USA.”

Sharing his thoughts on the milestone, Pankaj Khandelwal, Co-CEO, INI Farms said, “We are proud to be the pioneers in the industry to ship pomegranates to the USA. This milestone is part of the continuous efforts of the entire INI Farms team that has helped put the Indian Farmer on the world map by making great quality Indian fruits available worldwide. We are grateful for the support provided by APEDA, NRC Solapur, RPQS, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, MoA&FW, MSAMB, Maharashtra Agriculture Ministry and USDA APHIS in making this possible.”

Mr. Michael Schreuder, Dy Principal Officer, US Consulate, Mumbai said, “This is a landmark day for India-US trade as this consignment of Pomegranates commences its journey via a 37-day journey by sea. This initiative is also a demonstration of the growing bilateral relations and trust between the two countries.”

Mr. Ajay Rao, Regional Managing Director, South Asia, US International Development Finance Corporation said, “India is a big focus area for the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), especially from an impact investing point of view. Today, DFC has its largest investment exposure in India. We are proud to partner with our portfolio company, INI Farms as they are a good representation of the type of impact investing we look to undertake. INI Farms is playing a key role in increasing farmer incomes, providing employment to rural women with an 80% female workforce at their Baramati packhouse, and reducing food wastage to less than 2% in the whole process with their near-farm post-harvest practices. We are confident this initiative will open up more opportunities to create a positive impact on the Indian Agriculture ecosystem in the future.”

INI Farms is a part of the AgroStar group, which has built its capabilities to serve Indian farmers across the value chain and fulfill the quality expectations of customers worldwide. AgroStar’s tech capability, strong farmer relationships, agronomy expertise and wide range of agri input products combined with INI Farms’ strong sourcing, post-harvest & supply chain capabilities and its global network of customers/retailers gives the AgroStar group a unique advantage in India’s AgTech landscape.

About AgroStar:
Founded in 2013, AgroStar is one of India’s foremost AgTech start-ups, working on the mission of Helping Farmers Win. AgroStar is an end-to-end solutions provider that is solving three major problems of farmers – limited access to good quality agri inputs, a gap in knowledge and information about scientific farming practices and a lack of access to the best markets to sell their produce.

By providing real-time agronomy advisory and access to quality farm inputs, AgroStar has enabled farmers to grow better quality crops, increasing their yields by 30-100%. This has been made possible through a unique omnichannel network, with over 7.5 million farmers and a retail network of 7000+ agri-input stores (rapidly expanding). Through the acquisition of INI Farms, a leader in pomegranate, banana and fresh cuts exports from India, AgroStar is helping farmers sell their produce to some of the largest retail chains spread across 25+ countries in the world. Thus, building a full-stack model, solving for farmers’ problems end to end.