INDIA – Walmart India plans to open collection and distribution centers in North India and revamp its supply chain with an aim to bolster its global fresh food business.

The US-based retail giant is turning its focus on the food division, which accounts for 60% of its overall business in the country.

According to ET Retail report, its fresh fruits and vegetables division is contributing less thus, need to boost the segment through revamped local sourcing strategy.

The company has resolved to improve direct sourcing as it currently sources fruits and vegetables mainly from mandis.

“Currently, our major focus is on hardy vegetables such as potatoes, onions, garlic and on some other vegetables with slightly longer shelf life compared to greens,” said Krish Iyer, president & CEO of Walmart India.

“This is because in this category, we can have a supply chain advantage rather than just source from mandis. The major focus is on building a supply chain for vegetables.

“The centres that we plan to open in North India to enable us to directly source from farmers will be outsourced, as it’s a pilot project that will help us understand the whole game plan.”

This will be supported by Walmart Foundation’s commitment to invest Rs 180 crore (US$26.25 million) in farming to improve productivity and farmer livelihoods.

The company last year said it was planning to grow its direct sourcing from farmers to 25% of produce sold in its Best Price cash and carry stores over a five-year period.

The funding targets to farmer organisations in developing knowledge of sustainable farming practices, share business best practices, add value to primary agricultural commodities and improve access to finance and markets.

The company has also accelerated expansion of its stores as part of its expansion plan in India.

Earlier this month, it opened its 25th Cash & Carry outlet in Indore, Madhya Pradesh in continued efforts to offer convenience store service to local businesses.

The outlet is a one-stop shop for 5,000 products including a broad variety of fresh, frozen and chilled ingredients, fruits and vegetables, dry grocery stores, private and home care products.