In a major boost to the govt’s plan of bringing big investors to Jammu Kashmir, the first multinational conglomerate 'Lulu Group' billionaire Keralite businessman M.A. Yusuf Ali has, heeding the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support the Kashmiri apple farmers, imported around 400 tons of Kashmiri applies to the Middle East.
Yusuf Ali, the Chairman and Managing Director of the group said, “I have always considered that it is the prime responsibility of all Indians to accept and act upon the policies of Government. Naturally, when PM Modi during his UAE visit in 2019 put forth the idea of investing and supporting the state of Kashmir, I was the first one to give my commitment and we have imported more than 400 tons of Kashmiri apples during the last year and it is continuing but it’s slightly less than the target owing to Covid related issues.”
The businessman employs more than 30,000 people and most of them are Indians. Of these Indians, more than sixty percent are from Kerala with a larger percentage from his home district, Thrissur.
Yusuf Ali had reached the Middle East in 1973 and since then he had struggled to reach the top. Now the Lulu group has more than 198 stores in various sizes spread across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Egypt, India, and the Far East and it caters to more than 16 lakh shoppers per day.
Yusuf Ali said, “I had never thought of this type of expansion and now have retail operations in GCC, India, Africa, and the Far East and our sourcing offices are there in all the major cities across the globe.”
Notably, Jammu Kashmir has the second largest area in the world under apple cultivation and contributes 75 percent of apple production in India. The annual apple production in Kashmir is estimated at approximately 20 lakh metric tons, an economy worth Rs 8000 crore.