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In line with its mission of improving the quality of life in rural India, ITC's Agri Business has launched a flagship extension programme called 'Choupal Pradarshan Khet' (CPK) or demonstration plots to help farmers enhance farm productivity by adopting agricultural best practices. Started in 2005-06, the crop portfolio includes soya, paddy, cotton, maize, bajra, wheat, gram, mustard, sunflower and potato. This initiative, has covered over 91,900 CPKs and has a multiplier impact and reaches out to more than 11 Lakh farmers.x
In line with its strategy of achieving a higher order of value capture, the business also focuses on the value added segment, steadily enhancing its basket of offerings with several new products. These include frozen foods, IQF (individually quick frozen) fruits, niche products like baby-food quality purees and high brix pulp, traceable and organic purees. ITC seeks to focus on this segment and exploit the market opportunity for tropical fruits and fruit products, where India has a natural advantage of growing the complete range, including exotic varieties. In Processed Fruits category, ITC exports from ISO certified plants to Western Europe, North Africa, West Asia, Japan and North America, a wide range of Processed Fruit products made from Mango (Alphonso, Kesar & Totapuri), Guava, Papaya and Pomegranate. ITC is the leading Indian exporter of Organic and Fairtrade Certified Fruit Products certified to European (EC 2092/91) and US (NOP) Standards.x
Following the success of the e-Choupal, the Company launched Choupal Saagar, a physical infrastructure hub that comprises collection and storage facilities and a unique rural hypermarket that offers multiple services under one roof. This landmark infrastructure, which has set new benchmarks for rural consumers also incorporates farmer facilitation centres with services such as sourcing, training, cafeteria, banking, investment services, fuel station etc. 23 'Choupal Saagars' have commenced operations in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.x
ITC has been a significant exporter of seafood from India since 1971. It exports frozen as well as cooked shrimps and other seafood products to Europe, Japan, Middle East, Russia, USA, Vietnam etc.x
ITC's unique strength in this business is the extensive backward linkages it has established with the farmers. This networking with the farming community has enabled ITC to build a highly cost effective procurement system. ITC has made significant investments in web-enabling the Indian farmer. Christened 'e-Choupal', ITC's empowerment plan for the farmer centres around providing Internet kiosks in villages. Farmers use this technology infrastructure to access on-line information from ITC's farmer-friendly website www.echoupal.com. Data accessed by the farmers relate to the weather, crop conditions, best practices in farming, ruling international prices and a host of other relevant information. e-Choupal today is the world's largest rural digital infrastructure.
The unique e-Choupal model creates a significant two-way multi-dimensional channel which can efficiently carry products and services into and out of rural India, while recovering the associated costs through agri-sourcing led efficiencies. This initiative now comprises about 6100 installations covering over 35000 villages and serving over 4 million farmers. Currently, the 'e-Choupal' website provides information to farmers across the 10 States of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Supporting the e-Choupal network are ITC's procurement teams, handling agents and contemporary warehousing facilities across India, enabling its Agri Business to source identity-preserved merchandise even at short notice. ITC's processors are handpicked, reliable high quality outfits who ensure hygienic processing and modern packaging. Strict quality control is exercised at each stage to preserve the natural flavour, taste and aroma of the various agri products.x