city-based Terra Agro Technologies, which exports dried
vegetables, is planning a major foray into the domestic market
soon. The Rs 5-crore turnover company will soon launch fresh
vegetables under the Terra Fresh brand, apart from
fine-ground medicinal aromatic plants and spices.
The move is expected to increase the companys domestic sales
from the current level of 5 per cent. Presently, in the domestic
market, Terra Agro sells dried vegetables to corporates like
Hindustan Lever, Nestle and Best Foods.
A Rs 48-crore project,
Terra Agro is a 100-per cent EOU promoted by Pricol vice-chairman
Vijay Mohan. The company mainly exports its hot-air dehydrated
vegetables like tomatoes, cauliflower, red beetroot, paprika,
spinach and carrot in flakes, diced, granules and powder forms to
markets like the US, Canada, Argentina and the UK. It also makes
canned babycorn and gherkins. The vegetables are grown in the
companys own farms.
Speaking about the
companys main product, dried vegetables, Terra Agro member
(project team) S Ramanathan says: "The Indian market is yet
to warm up. Three years down the line, the demand for dehydrated
vegetables might touch a figure of 30,000 tonnes per annum (tpa)."
With ready-to-eat foods
gaining slow-but-steady acceptance among Indians, dehydrated
vegetables have a good growth potential. India ranks second in the
world in vegetable production, with 88 million tpa; only a
negligible percentage of that is processed and used in
manufacturing ready-to-eat foods like noodles, biryani and curry
What worries Indian
exporters is the Chinese factor. Says Terra Agro general manager
(operations) Girija Shankar: "In the manufacturing sector,
the Chinese factor is a major issue that should be tackled. The
Chinese are selling their vegetables at $2.8 per kg, whereas our
prices hover around $4 per kg."