Peter van Deursen, CEO, Cargill Asia-Pacific, announced this at the recent World Food India conference when a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the India Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
This investment will be in Cargill's core segments such as edible oils, cocoa and chocolates, starches and sweeteners and animal nutrition. The move will provide employment to an extra 1,300 people and aid farmers in the country. Cargill currently employs 3,500 people in India.
Van Deursen said: “India is an important market for us and this increased investment demonstrates our commitment to the country and the development of its agriculture and food processing industry. With the growing population and changing consumer trends, Cargill is committed to nourishing the people of India in a safe, sustainable and responsible manner.”
Last year, Cargill set up its first wet corn milling plant in Davangere, Karnataka with an investment of US$100 million. The company also inaugurated a new dairy feed mill in Bathinda, Punjab. It also opened its largest business services centre, in Bengaluru in 2015, employing around 2,000 people.
“India is amongst the fastest-growing economies in the world with a population base of 1.3 billion. The country ranks second in terms of total food production globally and with the rising middle class and young and aspiring population, India’s overall food consumption is going to grow,” said van Deursen.
He said the ease of doing business in India is also continuously improving with proactive government policies and he expects overall food consumption in India to grow significantly.
Earlier last month, Cargill Foods India had announced it would be expanding its India business to include more edible oils, wheat derivatives and vegetable proteins, to match the growing needs of the South Asian market.
“We intend to introduce more products into fats, carbohydrates and proteins. These will serve the needs of a typical Indian household’s kitchen,” Deoki Muchhal, MD, Cargill Foods India said.
Food safety factor
The company stated that it is already in the in carbohydrates segment with wheat flour and will look into new derivatives with a health quotient, such as sooji, dalia or soya nugget. It is still in the planning stage.
Other products Cargill India is looking into are edible oil products suited for local consumption.
According to van Deursen, the proposed investments are being planned over the next three to five years and will also help India’s food safety and economic development.
“Food safety is one of the most important issues for Cargill and will continue to increase in importance for the company, our suppliers, our customers and consumers. Food Safety will be very much integral to our investments in India and we would bring in global best practices and required technical resources across Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory in India,” said van Deursen.
Cargill started operations in India in 1987 and has businesses in refined oils, food ingredients, grain and oil seeds, cotton, animal nutrition, industrial specialities, as well as trade structured finance. About 27% of Cargill’s sales and revenue comes from Asia-Pacific.
“We are exploring additional opportunities to grow our footprint in the country. We remain optimistic about India and are committed to the growth here,” said van Deursen.