Agri Business

Undeterred by pandemic, Kerala NRIs venture into e-commerce space to sell seafood

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 11, 2021

According to promoters, the Dilmart is being modelled after the famed Indian Coffee House, where shareholders also work.

Job loss or salary cuts during the pandemic situation have not deterred 30 gulf returnees from starting a new business venture in Kerala. Hailing from various parts of the State, these NRI’s has launched a chain of fish and meat retail stores called Dilmart.

In the first phase, they have opened five stores in Kottakkal in Malappuram, Chalakudy in Thrissur, Thumbaman in Patthanamthitta, Kundara in Kollam and Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram. Another ten will be opened in three months and to take the total number to 40 in one year, said Cyril Antony and Anil K Prasad, founder directors of the company. Through its e-commerce site, the chain has also started entertaining online orders for home deliveries.

The headquarters and warehouse facilities of Dilmart is in Varapuzha near Kochi, considering the convenience of sourcing seafood. To ensure fresh fish varieties in the shortest possible time at the store locations, the company has already made arrangements with trawlers in major fish landing centres. Also, Dilmart has started farming of fish varieties like red snapper, Asian seabass and Trevally in Kottappuram, which are currently being harvested now.

According to Prasad, the company is being modelled after the famed Indian Coffee House, where shareholders also work; or rather they form the main workforce.

The promoters draw from the extensive work experience in various fields while they were in the Gulf, they have chosen related sections in Dilmart to work in. For instance, three of them experienced in the logistics sector in Qatar and UAE have taken up the responsibility of transportation while ex-chefs of three Bahrain hotels are working behind the scenes to launch ready-to-cook dishes and pickles, which are expected to hit the stands through Dilmart stores in a month's time.


The stores are in the range of 500 to 1,000 sq ft, and each store will be staffed by at least one promoter who will also be on the company's payroll. Stores will additionally generate employment to 2-3 youngsters in the delivery and cleaning sections. From one store, the company is expecting to generate at least Rs.1 lakh worth of sales every day, Prasad added.

As they belong to different places in Kerala and having worked in various Gulf countries, the promoters did not know each other before they got together to promote their enterprise. Most of them came to know each other through common friends or social media, he said.

Initially, Dilmart stores sell only seafood varieties, while meat items will be introduced in a month. In the second phase, the stores will also start stocking curry masala powders, vegetables, and fruits.

Published on January 11, 2021

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