Mahindra makes quiet entry into online fruit, vegetable retail

By: | Updated: September 29, 2016 8:07 AM

The Mahindra Group has made a quite entry into the online world of selling fruit and vegetables. It is not a big bang entry but more of testing waters debut.

Mahindra Agri Solutions is making its first foray into this e-commerce space through Mahindra Univeg, a 60:40 joint venture between Mahindra Agri Solutions and Univeg (Greenyard Foods of Belgium).Mahindra Agri Solutions is making its first foray into this e-commerce space through Mahindra Univeg, a 60:40 joint venture between Mahindra Agri Solutions and Univeg (Greenyard Foods of Belgium).

The Mahindra Group has made a quite entry into the online world of selling fruit and vegetables. It is not a big bang entry but more of testing waters debut. Mahindra Agri Solutions is making its first foray into this e-commerce space through Mahindra Univeg, a 60:40 joint venture between Mahindra Agri Solutions and Univeg (Greenyard Foods of Belgium).

Mahindra Univeg has picked up a minority stake in an agri e-commerce start-up, MeraKisan based in Pune for an undisclosed sum.

Ashok Sharma, MD & CEO, Mahindra Agri Solutions said they were scouting for buys in this space and looked closely at 30 companies across the country in this space and zeroed on this company. They would be looking at more such start-ups in the harvesting, post-harvesting, supply chain and logistics space, Sharma said.

Mahindra is learning how to work with start-ups and will continue to have promoters of the start-ups leading their business, Sharma said.

In addition to picking up stakes, they will continue to invest in the business and help them scale, Sharma said. It could become a R300 crore to R500 crore business in three to five years, he said.

What impressed them about the MeraKisan model was also that there was per unit profitability in the business and it was not about gross merchandise value.

According to Sharma, what Mahindra liked in MeraKisan was their business model of directly linking farmers to end consumers and cutting out intermediaries and inefficiencies in the food supply chain and also for the promoter’s passion as well as background.

This also fit into their vision of growing their agri business across the agri value chain. This will be part of their agri output business where they are into fruits, dairy, edible oil, pulses and this will be an addition to that portfolio. MeraKisan is founded by Prashanth Patil, an IT professional and his brother Sudhakar Patil, a farmer based in Gulbarga.

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