Fresh Produce India is on course for a strong turnout of local and international delegates when it returns to Mumbai next week.
A range of high-quality local and international speakers have signed up to speak at the event, which takes place at the five-star Nariman Point Hotel in the heart of India’s vibrant commercial capital on 23-25 April.
After kicking off with a Welcome Reception on the evening of Thursday 23 April, Fresh Produce India’s conference programme gets under way on Friday 24 April with a keynote address from Rakesh Sharma, president of international business at Bajaj Auto.
Bajaj Auto is one of the world’s leading motorcycle manufacturers, and Sharma will explain how the company has grown to dominate in over 30 countries in a highly competitive sector.
Sharma will then be joined by head of The SCS Group, Keith Sunderlal, to tease out the takeaways for India’s fresh produce business, from how to build an export brand to the importance of penetrating emerging markets.
Who is winning in India’s retail jungle?
Food retailing is one of the headline themes at this year’s Fresh Produce India. In the session ‘Who is winning in India’s retail jungle?’ a high-powered panel will discuss some of the latest developments on the local retail scene.
Sumit Saran, CEO of the fruit and vegetable division at Future Consumer Enterprise, will outline Indian retail giant Future Group’s ambitious plans to develop an integrated fruit and vegetable supply chain, which are anchored by its new India Food Park at Tumkur near Bangalore.
Saran will be joined by Naresh (NK) Jawa of Allfresh Supply Management, which is focused on supplying the so-called ‘organised’ retail sector in India, and Vipul Mittal of Bigbasket, a rapidly emerging player in India’s online grocery market.
Bringing an international perspective to the retail panel will be Ben Hughes, Zespri’s regional manager for the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Americas. Hughes will discuss how the world’s leading kiwifruit marketer interacts with retailers – both traditional and modern – in a range of global markets.
Food safety first
Food safety is also a hot topic in India’s fresh produce business. Not only is it a critical issue in terms of maintaining and developing access to export markets, it is also becoming more of a pressing concern within the domestic market. In another general session, APEDA director Sanjay Dave will explain what is happening at a government level to address the issue, and the latest changes to safety standards and regulations. Deepa Bhakejar, managing director of leading food-testing laboratory MicroChem Silliker, and Ashwin Raghuwanshi, president of arils and quality at fast-emerging banana and pomegranate supplier INI Farms, will be on-hand to share their expertise.
After a 90-minute networking lunch, Fresh Produce India resumes with two sessions spotlighting exciting growth markets. Zespri’s India market manager Ritesh Bhimani and Manav Suri of importer-distributor Suri Agro Fresh will discuss the future of the kiwifruit category in India. Niraj Kumar of Russian importer JSC Vial Inter will then provide an inside track on doing business in this vast market, with an exporter perspective from Tarun Arora of IG International/Sanvi International.
What’s new from Europe?
The final session of Fresh Produce India looks at what’s new that Europe has to offer India’s fresh fruit and vegetable business, from new markets to emerging supply sources. Marc Evrard of Belgian Fruit Valley (BFV), Belgium’s largest apple and pear grower-marketer, will be joined by import partner Parth Karvat at Yupaa, to discuss the launch of its Truval-branded apples and Conference pears in India. Slovenia, one of the EU’s smallest member states, is also well represented on the panel, with perspectives from Milena Jerman of the Port of Koper and Bostjan Kozole of leading apple exporter Evrosad.
On the final day of Fresh Produce India (25 April), delegates can also take part in a retail tour taking in some of the best examples of fresh fruit and vegetable retailing in Mumbai, both traditional and modern.
Networking opportunities abound at Fresh Produce India, with delegates getting ample time to meet and do business in the relaxed and opulent surrounds of the Trident Nariman Point Hotel, both throughout the conference and during the networking breaks at Fresh Produce India Expo.
A range of leading names in the business are confirmed as sponsors of Fresh Produce India, including Fruit South Africa, Asia Fruit Logistica, the Dutch Embassy, Pear Bureau Northwest, Suri Agro Fresh, Zespri, IG International, FROM, Washington Apple Commission, Goodfarmer, Port of Koper, Sahyadri Farms, and the event’s supply chain partner ILIP.