INDIA – Walmart and Flipkart have announced a joint strategic investment in supply chain start-up Ninjacart to strengthen their direct sourcing of fresh produce and enable Ninjacart to expand its customer base.

T​he three partners aim to help ensure better access to high-quality fresh produce for more retailers and consumers across India while also creating economic opportunities for farmers.

Partnering with Ninjacart will help Walmart and Flipkart strengthen direct sourcing of fresh produce for Walmart India’s Best Price Business-to-Business cash-and-carry stores and Flipkart’s online grocery business Supermart.

The investment will also allow Ninjacart to expand its customer base, reach new cities and gain exposure to global best practice to enhance the efficiency of the local fresh produce ecosystem.

“Developing Flipkart Supermart over the past year, we have focused on creating the right infrastructure, supporting local farmers, producers and food processors, and building sustainability into the ecosystem, all while creating thousands of new jobs and bringing quality, convenience and value to consumers.

“In Ninjacart, we see a company that shares our values, our pioneering mindset and our commitment to tech-driven innovation that improves life in India,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group, said.

Thirukumaran Nagarajan, CEO and co-founder of Ninjacart, said, “We are excited that Flipkart and Walmart are joining us to make this vision a reality and showing confidence in our technology and business model.

“With their support, we see new possibilities to improve the lives of our farmers, retailers and restaurant partners.”

Walmart India President and CEO Krish Iyer added: “Ninjacart’s focus on ​direct-from-farm sourcing resonates well with Walmart’s commitment to supporting farmers in India.

“We are working towards our commitment of sourcing 25% of produce in our Best Price cash-and-carry stores directly from farmers by 2023.

“This would help accelerate market access for them and reduce transportation costs.

“Our new partnership with Ninjacart will help us create more opportunities for smallholder farmers and boost rural incomes while also improving access to high-quality produce for all our members including kiranas, hotels, restaurants and businesses around India.”

The value of the transaction, which is expected to close by year-end 2019, was not yet been disclosed.

Founded in 2015, Ninjacart has built B2B supply chain infrastructure which creates a seamless link between its more than 44,000 farmer suppliers and its customer base of 60,000 kirana stores and restaurants across seven cities.

It moves over 1,400 tons of fresh produce per day, having doubled its volumes in the last four months.