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Walmart has made another bet on India’s e-commerce sector

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REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
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Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Walmart’s love affair with Indian e-commerce just got deeper.

The American retailer today (Dec. 11) announced that it, along with its Indian e-commerce arm Flipkart, has made a joint strategic investment in Ninjacart, a B2B fresh produce supply chain company. This move follows the US giant’s $16 billion acquisition of a majority stake in India’s largest homegrown e-tailer in May 2018.

“The 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,” Walmart and Flipkart said in a joint press release said.

Founded in 2015, Ninjacart uses big data, predictive analytics, mobile applications and internet of things to power a just-in-time supply chain. The company says that this network connects over 44,000 farmers to its customer base of 60,000 corner stores and restaurants across seven cities.

Ninjacart provides 100% traceability along the supply chain and has slashed food wastage to less than 1%, compared to 35% in traditional supply chains, the press release said. Moreover, courtesy its data-driven recommendations on what crops to grow and pricing information, Ninjacart is said to have been able to improve farmers’ incomes by 15% in the last two years.

“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,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of the Flipkart Group. “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.”

The startup is also aligned with Walmart’s commitment of sourcing 25% of produce in its Best Price cash-and-carry stores directly from farmers by 2023, Krish Iyer, president and CEO of Walmart India, said.

The transaction is expected to close by year-end 2019.

The agri-tech startup had so far raised over $150 million, including $89 million from American investing giant Tiger Global in April this year.

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