|Reliance’s entry into mango exports
|Strategic investments in supply chain infrastructure
|Leveraging technology and innovation
|Impact of Reliance’s rise as leading mango exporter
Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in India, known as the “king of fruits”. India is the largest producer of mangoes in the international, accounting for around 50% of global mango manufacturing. The Indian mango industry is valued at over $4 billion, with exports contributing significantly to this parent.
Reliance is now the largest mango exporter from India, having overtaken numerous different mounted export firms over the past decade. Reliance’s upward thrust to become the mango chief has been strategic, nicely planned, and carried out methodically.
Reliance’s entry into mango exports
Reliance made its entry into agri-business in the early 2000s by setting up small retail stores and supporting farmers with knowledge and financing. The objective was to strengthen backward linkages right from the farm to the fork.
In 2010, Reliance conducted an extensive pilot project to export mangoes to high-potential markets like Europe and the Middle East. The pilot was successful, demonstrating strong overseas demand for the premium Alphonso and Kesar variety of mangoes that Maharashtra is famous for.
Encouraged by the exceptional response, Reliance launched its full-scale mango exports division called Reliance Agri Products Exports in 2011. An initial investment of over $30 million was made to set up large collection centers, packing facilities, and ripening chambers and develop expansive overseas distribution channels.
Strategic investments in supply chain infrastructure
Source: The Hans India
Seeking to expand its presence in the global mango export market, Indian conglomerate Reliance strategically invested over $150 million to modernize and upgrade India’s mango supply chain infrastructure. A key part of Reliance’s export growth strategy, these significant investments aimed to strengthen India’s mango cultivation, storage, transportation, and distribution capabilities, enabling high-quality mango exports at scale.
Reliance also upgraded port infrastructure including specialized mango handling facilities to ensure the seamless transfer of perishable cargo. Some key strategic investments include:
State-of-the-art Pack houses
Reliance set up massive pack houses spread across all the major mango cultivation belts like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, etc. The pack houses were equipped with specialized temperature-controlled environments to ripen and store export-grade mangoes while adhering to the highest quality standards.
Robust cold chain network
An extensive and robust refrigerated supply chain network was established connecting Reliance’s numerous pack houses to the major ports for swift export shipments. This reduced transit time, minimized spoilage risk, and enabled the export of premium-quality mangoes in optimum condition to previously challenging distant markets like Europe and East Asia. The advanced network improved the endurance and long-haul viability of mango exports.
Farmer training programs
Thousands of small and marginal mango farmers across over 500 villages were trained through immersive programs on best practices in cultivation, post-harvest management, and quality parameters essential for exports to meet the exacting standards of lucrative overseas markets. The extensive training equipped farmers with critical knowledge and skills for aligning farm-level mango production with global export requirements.
Tie-ups with global partners
Reliance entered into strategic tie-ups with established importers, distributors, and retailers in target export markets across Europe, North America, and Asia. This provided extensive access to overseas market demand.
By systematically addressing major gaps and pain points in India’s traditional, highly fragmented mango supply ecosystem, Reliance’s goal was to develop an integrated, technology-enabled, world-class supply chain platform to establish India among the top global mango exporters firmly.
Leveraging technology and innovation
Source: ED Times
As part of its strategic push into mango exports, Reliance leveraged cutting-edge technology across the mango supply chain in multiple innovative ways to drive efficiency, ensure quality, and enhance competitiveness.
By thoughtfully integrating emerging technologies spanning blockchain, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics across the end-to-end mango supply workflow, Reliance aimed to set new benchmarks in product quality, supply predictability, and cost efficiency for Indian mango exports. Reliance leveraged cutting-edge technology in multiple innovative ways to support its mango exports:
Customized, state-of-the-art traceability software was deployed to track the end-to-end journey of a mango consignment from the farm of origin to the export destination port. This ensured complete compliance with stringent quality norms and safety standards essential for overseas shipments of perishable produce to lucrative developed markets. The software integration enabled transparent tracking of indicators like shipping temperature and storage conditions across the entire supply chain workflow.
Controlled ripening technology
Seeking to enhance the consistency and reliability of its mango exports, Reliance introduced an innovative controlled ripening technology into its pack houses from Israel, which is a global leader in post-harvestFresh produce technologies. This patented technology leverages precise temperature, humidity, and atmospheric controls in specialized ripening rooms to standardize and calibrate the natural ripening process of harvested mangoes to hit the optimal ripeness window for export consignments within a few days.
Blockchain-based supply chain
Reliance integrated advanced blockchain technology into its mango supply chain operations to enable tamper-proof tracking and traceability of thousands of export consignments annually. This addressed key exporter concerns about establishing credible product provenance and meeting stringent compliance requirements in key export markets. By providing immutable verification of origin, shipping conditions, and quality assurance processes, the blockchain integration helped build robust credibility and trust in Indian mango exports.
Wastelands To Green Orchard
To control pollution and convert wastelands, Reliance began developing a vast mango orchard near its Jamnagar refinery in the late 1990s. Overcoming early skepticism, this orchard now spans 600 acres with over 1.3 lakh trees across 200 varieties – making it Asia’s largest scientifically managed mango plantation.
Impact of Reliance’s rise as leading mango exporter
Reliance’s rapid growth to become India’s undisputed largest mango exporter within a few years has positively transformed and upgraded the country’s mango industry. By pioneering modern supply chain innovations, disseminating best practices, and providing stable market access, Reliance has enabled thousands of farmers to consistently meet global quality standards, increase productivity, and significantly boost incomes. Its investments have developed a robust, world-class Indian mango export ecosystem benefiting millions of livelihoods across the value chain while establishing India as a formidable force in the global mango trade.
Increase in demand and prices
Reliance’s large-scale exports created massive incremental demand and a lucrative market for export-grade Indian mangoes, driving up farmgate prices and boosting the incomes of thousands of small mango farmers across the country who aligned production to meet global quality norms.
Modernization across the value chain
The company’s extensive investments into cutting-edge, end-to-end supply chain infrastructure led to technology absorptions and process upgrades even for smaller mango exporters looking to enhance operational efficiency. By demonstrating the viability of modern technologies, Reliance’s leadership catalyzed industry-wide adoption of blockchain traceability, IoT sensors, and automated pack houses for more predictable and credible Indian mango exports.
Focus on quality
The surge in demand and price premiums for flawless, export-quality mangoes driven by Reliance’s global shipments had a gradual positive influence across the domestic mango trade channels as well. Over time, Indian consumers also started demanding and getting access to better sorted, ripened, and packaged mangoes in local markets, as competition forced traders to invest in better handling practices earlier reserved mainly for export consignments.
Competitiveness on the global stage
Reliance has enabled India to become highly competitive in the global mango export trade traditionally dominated by established players like Pakistan, Mexico, and South American countries for decades. By addressing infrastructure bottlenecks and uplifting the entire Indian mango value chain to world-class standards, Reliance helped the country significantly bolster its market share across attractive developed country destinations. Owing to such focused interventions, India is now the world’s second-largest mango exporter behind Mexico.
Source: Tech Hub Digital
Despite its dominant leadership position currently, Reliance did face and overcame multiple monumental roadblocks in its ambitious journey to become India’s leading mango exporter. From convincing skeptical farmers to adopt unfamiliar cultivation practices to dealing with tangled regulations around phytosanitary compliance, Reliance persevered through substantial initial challenges that deterred other corporate attempts at organized mango exports.
However, backed by the vision and patience of its leadership, Reliance systematically addressed bottlenecks like lack of cold chain infrastructure, while building trust and synergistic linkages across the fragmented mango supply ecosystem. Today, the company stands vindicated as a pioneer that tenaciously transformed the promise of India’s mango export potential into a tangible reality. Despite its dominant leadership position currently, Reliance did face and overcame multiple monumental roadblocks in its journey to become India’s leading mango exporter:
Inconsistent supply volumes
Dealing with thousands of smallholder mango farmers scattered across disparate regions, with varying practices and quality initially made it extremely difficult to aggregate and organize consistent volumes of export-grade mangoes required for meeting large overseas orders on time. Establishing traceability and coordination was a massive logistical challenge.
Knowledge gap around standards
Indian farmers and even regional supply chain players initially lacked adequate awareness and know-how around adhering to the highly stringent quality norms and complex paperwork required for profitably executing mango exports to lucrative overseas destinations. Bridging these knowledge gaps across a dispersed base of stakeholders was pivotal to aligning end-to-end operations to global benchmarks.
Absence of cold chain infrastructure
The systemic lack of organized, integrated cold storage infrastructure and refrigerated transport facilities was a major obstacle that Reliance had to bridge through extensive investments in end-to-end cold chains. Building scale in refrigerated logistics capabilities that ensured an unbroken temperature-controlled supply chain was instrumental in preventing spoilage of the perishable mangoes in India’s hot climate during transit to ports.
Quality perceptions vs. competition
Countries like Pakistan were historically preferred among importers due to strong perceptions of superior mango quality and reliability. Reliance methodically altered these entrenched notions through production innovations, supply chain process excellence, and consistent delivery of premium quality mangoes over the years. By emerging as a trusted one-stop sourcing partner capable of supplying large volumes across preferred varieties, Reliance played a pivotal role in changing global mindshare regarding the caliber of Indian mangoes.
In summary, Reliance has successfully managed to become India’s undisputed top mango exporting firm through well-planned strategic investments, assimilation of cutting-edge technology, large-scale linkages with small and marginal mango farmers across India, and development of modern supply chain infrastructure at a world-class scale and quality.
By systematically identifying and addressing systemic challenges around volumes, quality, cold chain, and farmer knowledge gaps year after year, Reliance has positively influenced and upgraded the export competitiveness of Indian mangoes on the global stage. Reliance’s strong culture of innovation and investment in infrastructure and farmer linkages will continue to drive extensive growth for the Indian mango export business in the coming decade.