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ITC opens Rs 1,500-crore integrated food park at Kapurthala
The Economic Times - 14 Dec 2017

Diversified firm ITC today rolled out its largest integrated food  manufacturing and logistics facility here with the first-ever 'wheat mandi'  unit to procure the grain from farmers, besides other FMCG units.

The facility spread across 8 lakh square feet and entailed an initial  investment of Rs 1,500 crore was inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder  Singh today.

ITC CEO and Executive Director Sanjiv Puri said the facility, when  operational, will create direct employment of over 2,000 people, besides  indirect employment throughout the value chain.

"The grains would be weighed electronically with payment on the spot  without handling charges so farmers would also save about 2 per cent,"  Puri told PTI.

The facility would help the farming community's transition from  traditional wheat-crop cycle to more lucrative crops, the chief minister said,  adding such projects would be instrumental not only in saving the state's  crunched fertile land and water resources but also in boosting farm income.

The plant will manufacture ITC's popular food brands such as 'Aashirvaad',  'Bingo!', 'Sunfeast', 'YiPPee!' and 'B Natural', among others.

Referring to the plight of potato farmers, who were forced to dump their  produce on the roads because of their inability to sell it at a good price, the  chief minister stressed the need to end the crisis with projects like this.

The facility is part of the company's plans to open 20 such food  processing units pan-India with an investment of Rs 10,000 crore.

Puri said more such wheat mandis will be built at its upcoming facilities.

The company also plans to enter into milk-based beverages such as  milkshakes and allied products by the middle of next fiscal year, Puri said.

The dairy plant for the same which is part of the integrated plant will be  operational soon.

ITC is investing heavily in both agriculture and food segments considering  huge potential in these two sectors.

The company had earlier announced investment of Rs 25,000 crore to enhance  physical infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities.

Besides, Kapurthala, ITC has food processing facilities in West Bengal,  Assam, Pune, Mysore and Bengaluru.

The  tobacco-to-hotels firm, which is focusing more on its non-tobacco businesses,  aims to be an Rs 1 lakh crore company in the FMCG space by 2030, with the  packaged foods contributing Rs 65,000 crore.

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