Global food and agricultural products maker Cargill is taking a partnership approach to take its starches and sweetners products across the country.
The US-headquartered food giant — which has already invested $110 million in building a corn-milling plant at Davangere (Karnataka) — is now keen on collaborations to expand in the north and west.
Corn is the basic raw material used in starch and sweetener products.
“We are in the process of looking at manufacturers in the north and west over the next three years, to become a national player. It needs almost five years to put up a plant, but our idea is to grow faster and for this we need to collaborate,” Simon George, president of Cargill India, told Business Standard.
Under this, Cargill looks at bringing in its expertise and access to customers on the table, whereas the partner shall be responsible for running the plant and managing operations.
While the starch and sweeteners sector is growing at 5-6 per cent year-on-year, the company’s portfolio is growing slightly higher than that, said George.
Cargill, which frayed into the starch and sweeteners segment around three years ago, majorly focusses on edible oil, chocolates and cocoa.
The company has an employee base of over 3,500 people in India, with a turnover of $1.2 billion.
The company’s Davangere facility manufactures liquid glucose and maltodextrin. These corn derivatives are used in confectioneries, bakery products, baby food and animal nutrition products, among others.
“We are also setting up a state-of-the-art corn storage solution adjacent to our plant, which shall ensure access to quality corn for the products that we manufacture here,” said George.
On the impact of the slowdown on the segment, the Cargill India head said that in a business like starches and sweeteners, what tends to happen is when a commodity price is not globally competitive, one tends to lose the export market.
“However, as we approach October and with the weather conditions looking pretty favourable, we may anticipate the situation to be better.”