The UAE-based Lulu Group International has announced a plan to set up a food processing centre in Srinagar for sourcing a wide range of agri products from Jammu and Kashmir. The announcement was made by Lulu group chairman Yusuffali MA on Thursday during a meeting with a delegation from Jammu and Kashmir headed by its Principal Secretary (Agriculture Production and Horticulture) Navin Kumar Choudhary on the sidelines of the UAE India Food Security Summit 2020.
As per the commitment made during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE in 2019, Lulu Group is fully focused on sourcing a wide range of agri products from J&K," Yusuffali, who is from Kerala, said.
Setting up of a new food processing and logistics centre will further boost the export of Kashmiri products," he said.
Currently, Lulu imports apples and saffron from Kashmir and imports will significantly increase in the coming years. The group imported more than 400 tons of Kashmiri apples till date, despite several challenges in the recent past due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an official statement.
Yusuffali said Lulu group is one of the leading importers of food and non-food products from India and setting up of a new food processing and logistics centre will further boost export of Kashmiri products to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other countries.
GCC is a political and economic union of six Arab states bordering the Gulf. Its members are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.
Describing the meeting as "very productive", J&K Principal Secretary Choudhary said a large number of decisions were taken to promote the export of agriculture and horticulture products from the union territory to the entire Gulf region using stores of Lulu group.
He assured all help to Lulu group for setting up logistic facilities and offices at identified facilities in J&K.
Choudhary also welcomed the initiative of Lulu group to host a J&K special fortnight at all super markets at its group across the Gulf region on the occasion of Republic Day-2021 as part of Incredible India.
This fortnight celebration will begin on January 24 next year and will showcase J&K's famous products like cuisine and cultural heritage, the statement said.
The discussions also focused on exploring the possibility of direct passenger as well as regular cargo flights between Srinagar and Dubai.
An MoU was also signed between Lulu group and Fruit Master Agro Fresh J&K for the supply of apple and other fruits for the super markets of Lulu group across the Gulf countries, the statement said.
Indian Consul General Aman Puri congratulated Lulu group for announcing a host of initiatives and the long-standing commitment and partnership in achieving the target of doubling J&K's exports and expressed his gratitude to the company chairman for his initiatives in the union territory which would generate employment opportunities for local youths and contribute to the economic development of the region.