The Telegraph
Monday , July 1 , 2013
 
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Processed pork firm plans big

Guwahati, June 30: Arohan Foods Private Limited is banking on its new plant at Sonapur to scale up production and strengthen base in the Northeast while eyeing a 70 per cent share in the region’s processed pork market by 2015.

The start-up firm, which claims to be the country’s first pork integrator — processing pork procured from small pig farmers and packaging and distributing this in the market — will by mid-July operate from the factory that has a monthly production capacity of 15 tonnes.

“We started small — with a monthly production of five tonnes — after installing our machinery on the premises of National Research Centre on Pig at Rani. That was after a tie-up with Indian Council of Agricultural Research under which the centre operates. But given the growing market for processed pork, we are now looking to scale up monthly production by 10 tonnes at the Sonapur factory that will be operational in the next couple of weeks,” Anabil Goswami, head (strategy and business development) of Arohan Foods, told The Telegraph.

The factory will house a state-of-the-art slaughterhouse and a pork-processing facility, in compliance with internationally accepted quality standards.

Haryana-based Darshan Foods, Al Farms (Pune) and a variety of Sri Lankan brands are currently occupying a major share of the processed pork market in the Northeast.

Founded by Goswami, who was earlier with Tata Chemicals (Mumbai), Ranapratap Brahma, an IIM Indore alumnus, and Arindom Hazarika, formerly with Kotak Mahindra Bank, Arohan currently has a 20 per cent share in the processed pork market. Its products are sold through 150 outlets across the region.

“We are eyeing a 70 per cent share in about a couple of years’ time. Our strategy will be to reach out to every corner in the Northeast market and make our presence felt across 500 outlets by financial year 2015. The focus will be on quality and expansion of product range,” Hazarika said.

In April, Omnivore Partners, a Mumbai-based venture capital fund backed by Godrej Agrovet Ltd, had bought a minority stake in the firm.

“The Omnivore stake is a big boost for us as we look to expand in future and emerge as the biggest player in the processed pork market. We are also contemplating exports to countries such as Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal by 2015,” Brahma said. “There are plans to set up a contract farming system and reach out to more farmers in Assam. Currently, we are dealing with about 500 farmers in the state.”

Arohan offers packaged pork products such as sausages, cocktail sausages and sliced salami in a variety of flavours under its flagship brand — Choice Pork Natural.

The firm is not looking beyond pork though. “The plan is to focus on pork only. We currently have 10 products but soon there will be 10 more items on the list, including multiple variants of pork, bacon, ham and dry products,” Goswami added.

According to data available with Arohan Foods, 60 per cent of the country’s raw pork is consumed in the Northeast alone. The annual pork production in India, the firm estimates, is around 2,40,000 metric tonnes. “However, about six per cent of India’s population consumes processed pork, with metros such as Delhi, Mumbai and even south India emerging as the leading markets. We will launch our products in these places as well,” Goswami said.

On its USP, he said: “As we belong to the Northeast, we understand the market well. Besides, we produce in accordance with the orders from our distributors. Our products, therefore, are sold within a month of manufacture. We also adhere to strict hygiene standards and take care in selection of raw material with a team of veterinarians working directly with the farmers and monitoring the animals that we procure from the farms.”


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