Centre's push to enhance farm income will impact consumer price: ITC

 Joe C Mathew   New Delhi     Last Updated: March 12, 2018  | 19:36 IST
Centre's push to enhance farm income will impact consumer price: ITC

Kolkata-based FMCG, hotel and agri-business major ITC Limited, one of the largest private procurers of wheat in the country, expects the retail prices of primary agricultural produce to go up if the government goes ahead with its plans to introduce Minimum Support Price (MSP), which is 1.5 times the cost of production for all crops.
The company favours the Madhya Pradesh model of direct compensation to farmers in case the market price of the crop falls below the MSP over government procurement. Highlighting the role it plays in enhancing farmers' income, ITC wanted the government to encourage larger private sector participation to usher new thinking, research, institutions and most importantly, a market-driven approach, which will support sustainable agriculture and ensure remunerative returns to farmers.
In a media interaction in Delhi on Tuesday, S Sivakumar, Group Head, ITC Agriculture and IT, said the company has empowered over 4 million farmers through its e-Choupal ecosystem. "ITC's deep engagement with farmers, along with extensive rural development programmes, has raised rural incomes by creating competitive capacity, enhancing productivity, connecting farmers to markets, building common assets such as water harvesting structures, diversifying farm incomes, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices," he said.

The company plans to increase its footprint in the branded food, fruits, and vegetables segment. According to Sivakumar, ITC works with farmers to improve productivity and quality of various crops and sources the finest of grains, oil seeds, pulses and a range of value-added agri products from different states in India.
The company also helps farmers raise agricultural productivity through agri extension services. "ITC has set up demonstration farms called Choupal Pradarshan Khets to propagate best agri practices, while field schools have been established to enable transfer and adoption of knowledge. The initiative covers nearly 1, 60, 000 acres and reaches out to around 70,000 farmers annually," Sivakumar says.
Promotion of farm mechanisation, water-use efficiency and building linkages with agriculture research institutions are also a part of its productivity enhancement programmes. The agriculture commodity universe of ITC includes grains and oilseeds, wheat, soya, rice, coffee, aqua, maize, barley and pulses, processed fruits and wheat flour (maida). The company operates in over 20 Indian states and across 200 districts.


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