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Rural retail gets momentum in Gujarat

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Rural retail is back in focus of big retailers. While Future Group and Godrej Agrovet’s joint venture in rural retailing, ‘Aadhar’, is all set for a revamp, Rajkot based Champion Agro Ltd is planning to open 400 agri-retail outlets across Gujarat. Vadodara based ACIL Cotton Industries has also followed suit. It is coming up with 40 new ‘ACIL Krishi Stores’ across the state.

Future Group’s promoter Kishore Biyani said, "We are planning to revamp the Aadhar brand. We will come up with wholesale distribution centers across different districts, and then roll out franchisees to individual entrepreneurs. They can source products from these wholesale centers and then sell it in their villages.The local entrepreneurs have a better understanding of the area compared a macro-level player".

Future Group had picked up around 70 per cent stake in Aadhar Retailing Limited that was a subsidiary of Godrej Agrovet in 2008. It now operates stores in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab and mainly sells wheat and paddy apart from daily need products. The company also provides farmers with solutions to problems regarding their agricultural output, which includes what kind of crop can they plant and when, along with techno-commercial suggestions to help them give a better output.

Meanwhile, Rajkot based Champion Agro Ltd is planning to come up with single window shopping facility for farmers. The company which already has 35 agri-retailing outlets in the Saurashtra region, will now open around 400 outlets at a taluka level across Gujarat in the coming five years. It will open 50 new outlets by the end of this year for an investment of Rs 15 crore. The overall investment planned is between Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore.

“We are calling it ‘agro mall’ as in our store farmers can get everything they need for farming. Our target is to capture the taluka and village level market ”, said Dhirubhai Patel, chairman and managing director of Champion Agro. The company had entered into the agri-retailing space in 2006. Patel added that Champion Agro also planned to start green house farming for which they have tied up with an Israeli company. This apart, Champion Agro will come up with warehouses, cold storage and packaging solutions as well.

Champion Agro deals in cotton, ground nut, cumin, sesame, wheat, maize and vegetable seeds besides marketing insecticides, fungicides, herbicides from ayer Crop Science, Monsanto India, Dow Agro Science, UPL etc. It also has tie-ups with major players like Tata Chemicals, Syngenta, DuPont, BASF, Monsanto, Dow Agro Science for marketing their products here.

On similar lines, Vadodara based ACIL Cotton Industries is all set to come up with around 40 outlets of ‘ACIL Krishi Store’ in Gujarat. Of these, four outlets will operational within this month, at Vadodara, Surendranagar, Navsari and Anand. As for this year, ACIL has decided to focus on the Gujarat market. ACIL stores will sell all types of seeds, fungicides, fertilisers, micronutrients.

Source : Business Standard

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