AgroStar, a Pune-based digital farmer network and agri-inputs platform, has acquired Mumbai-based INI Farms Pvt Ltd, the exporter of F&V crops like bananas and pomegranates from India.
The company’s ‘Kimaye’ brand of products are available in some of the largest retail chains spread across 35 countries in the world. AgroStar has acquired 100 percent of INI Farms through a combination of cash and stock.
Through this acquisition, AgroStar claims to provide additional value to its large network of farmers by making their produce available to quality-conscious consumers around the globe. This acquisition provides a scaled presence to AgroStar in the $300 billion+ agri output market, the startup added.
Shardul Sheth, Co-founder and CEO, AgroStar said, “AgroStar today is India’s largest digital network of farmers, helping them grow better by providing great content, real-time advisory and superior quality agri inputs. As we look to provide additional value to our network of farmers, we are delighted to partner with Pankaj and Purnima. Their efforts over the years have put the Indian farmer on the world map by making great quality Indian fruits available around the world. This acquisition will enable us to rapidly scale our business into the domestic and international food supply chains.
The Fruit Route
INI Farms was founded in 2009 by Pankaj and Purnima Khandelwal. Over the years, they have built a business with large-scale pan-India operations spanning contract farming, aggregation, supply chain management and are serving food retailers globally.
The company handles over 50,000 tons of fruits annually. Through its program ‘Fruit Route’, it provides farm-to-fork traceability for its produce.
INI Farms works closely with its network of farmers, enabling them to grow crops that meet global standards in quality and safety, and resulting in the farmer earning up to 50 percent higher returns.
Following this acquisition, AgroStar will provide market linkage solutions for the domestic and export markets to its large network of farmers. In addition, INI Farms’ customer base of global retailers will get access to a wider basket of F&V products.
AgroStar will also provide access to quality inputs, tech-based farm interventions and solutions designed to increase yields to INI Farms’ network of farmers across multiple states. Pankaj and Purnima, along with the entire INI Farms team, will continue to operate and scale the’ Kimaye’ brand across more countries and many more crops.
A great opportunity
Pankaj Khandelwal, Chairman and Managing Director, INI Farms said, “The agriculture story in India is poised for multi-fold growth. We believe that large platforms providing end-to-end services to the farmers, from advisory and inputs to output offtake, will to drive this transformation. AgroStar partnership provides us with a great opportunity to grow multi-fold with expansion into the entire agriculture output business and leveraging our strong supply chain capabilities.
“AgroStar’s mission of ensuring better farmer incomes through improved productivity and quality are the cornerstones of INI Farms’ philosophy as well. With AgroStar serving farmers across a diverse range of crops, INI Farms will have access to a much wider and diverse crop base to offer to our global customers.”
The Raine Group acted as financial advisor to AgroStar.
Founded in 2013, AgroStar’s omnichannel platform provides end-to-end solutions, helping farmers grow better, reduce cultivation cost, and increase yield. Using its proprietary agronomy knowledge, data, and technology, the startup suggests right solutions across the crop lifecycle. AgroStar now serves millions of farmers across five states: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
AgroStar has built an agronomy advisory centre, an engaged digital farmer network with over five million users, and a retail network of 2,000+ stores. These channels, powered by technology, work in tandem to enable AgroStar to solve the problems faced by Indian farmers at scale.
In December 2021, it raised $70 million in Series D funding in a round led by Evolvence, global asset manager Schroders Capital, Hero Enterprise, and UK’s development finance institution CDC.