UAE-based retail major Lulu group on Thursday said it will invest ₹200 crore in Jammu and Kashmir to set up a food processing and logistic hub.

The Lulu group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Jammu and Kashmir Government in this regard, the company said in a statement.

The company will invest ₹200 crore in the first phase.

The announcement was made by Lulu Group Chairman Yusuff Ali M.A. in the presence of J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha during the MoU signing ceremony held in Dubai on Thursday.

The MoU was signed by Ranjan Prakash Thakur, Principal Secretary (industries and commerce), Government of Jammu and Kashmir; and Ashraf Ali M.A., executive director of Lulu Group.

Manoj Sinha, who is on a three-day official visit to the UAE, also inaugurated ‘Kashmir Promotion Week’ at Lulu Hypermarket, Silicon Central Mall.

Mr. Sinha termed it as a “historic agreement” and said the trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Dubai has remained steady and it reflects the resilience of the deep economic linkages.

“Relations between India and the UAE are long-standing and deep-rooted. People-to-people contact and trade have seen momentum in the recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the Lieutenant Governor said.

The week-long promotion will highlight Kashmiri fruits, vegetables, Saffron, dry fruits, pulses, handicrafts and other specialty products.

Yusuff Ali M.A. said, “In the first phase, we will be investing ₹200 crore; and subsequently, another Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for further expansion.” “Setting up of a Lulu Hypermarket is also in the plan. I am sure these projects will not only give considerable employment opportunities to the local youth but also benefit the agri sector and farmers immensely,” he added.

Last month, the Lulu group announced an investment of ₹2,000 crore near Ahmedabad to set up a modern shopping mall.

It also announced an investment of ₹500 crore to set up a food processing plant in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

The company will set up 100% export-oriented food and agri-produce processing park in Greater Noida.

In India, the Lulu group already has four operational shopping malls at Kochi, Thrissur, Trivandrum and Bengaluru.

The mall at Bengaluru is not owned by the Lulu group but it is managing and operating the property.

The Lulu group currently has 220 hypermarkets and shopping malls in the Middle East, Egypt, India, Malaysia and Indonesia with a global workforce of over 57,000 employees.

The world-famous GI-tagged saffron has been launched at LuLu Hypermarket, which is a major step towards boosting the Jammu and Kashmir-Dubai partnership, Mr. Sinha said.

He added that the LuLu group is already importing apples from Jammu & Kashmir and with saffron, “we are adding Kashmir’s finest spice to the basket”.

The group’s business portfolio ranges from hypermarket operations to shopping mall development, manufacturing and trading of goods, food processing plants, wholesale distribution, hospitality assets, and real estate development.