Suzuki Teams with Japanese Egg Grower to Fill India's Appetite

INDIA & JAPAN - Suzuki Motor is working with Ise Foods to grow and distribute eggs in India, tapping the Japanese egg producer's proprietary technology to assure quality and safety to the nation's growing middle class.
calendar icon 2 November 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

Nikkei Asian Review reports that the automaker and the Saitama Prefecture-based company will set up a joint venture, with Ise contributing 60 per cent of the 100 million yen ($879,556) capital and Suzuki holding the remaining 40 per cent.

Ise will handle the management of poultry farms and production. The plan is to first open a farm of 1.2 million chickens and a processing plant in the western state of Gujarat. In addition to fresh eggs, the plan will produce liquid and powdered eggs for use as cooking ingredients.

The eggs will be priced around Rs. 20 (30 cents) apiece, three times the common egg price. The duo seeks to cultivate demand in large cities like Mumbai and Hyderabad with the aim of eventually providing 4 billion eggs a year, equivalent to 5 per cent of some 80 billion eggs consumed in the country.

Suzuki's local unit Maruti Suzuki India, which controls about half of India's passenger car market, will contribute its know-how accumulated through years of operations in the country. It may provide vehicles for delivering eggs under the joint venture.

Ise's egg factories are known for strict quality control based on the company ethos, described by Chairman Hikonobu Ise as, "consumers are the first to touch the egg."

Advanced technologies like an automated egg collection system will be adopted, and an efficient distribution network will be put in place to bring freshly laid eggs to store shelves within three days. Thorough temperature control will keep eggs fresh and prevent bacterial contamination on the shell.

In addition, solar panels will be set up at the plants to provide electricity in case of power outage. This would prevent growth of bacteria and death of chickens from overheating. The venture may also provide chicken manure as a fertilizer for suppliers of corn used as feed.

With farmers accounting for a half of India's 1.3 billion population, productivity improvement is vital for economic growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to double farmer income in India by 2022.

If the Suzuki-Ise venture takes root widely in India, it could help tackle these challenges for the country.

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