scorecardITC is relying on its advisory app for farmers, valued-added crops to grow its agri-business
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ITC is relying on its advisory app for farmers, valued-added crops to grow its agri-business

ITC is relying on its advisory app for farmers, valued-added crops to grow its agri-business
Business2 min read
  • ITC believes that the Indian agriculture sector is “seriously threatened” by climate change and it needs attention.
  • It adopted a multi-pronged strategy to overcome the challenges, while increasing its profitability.
  • The company’s advisory app for farmers called Maars has a big role to play.
The Indian agriculture sector is ‘seriously’ threatened by climate change and population explosion, and this calls for a higher level of production, ITC’s chairperson and MD Sanjiv Puri said. With that being said, ITC adopted a multi-pronged strategy to overcome the challenges put forth by the Indian agriculture sector.

ITC believes that a strategic focus on value-added crops, its advisory app for farmers ITC MAARS and climate smart agriculture will drive new vectors to sustain growth and profitability in this area. Notably, ITC’s agri-business sources over 40 lakh tonnes of agri-commodities from 22 Indian states and 20 agri-value chains.

It also exports to over 95 countries across the globe.

In an annual general meeting held on Wednesday morning, Puri emphasized that agriculture productivity and incomes today are seriously threatened by climate change and depleting natural resources. The rising populations have been making the issue worse as the demand for food is increasing.

“ITC is committed to make a meaningful contribution to this new era of agricultural transformation,” Puri added during the AGM. ITC believes that the current situation calls for higher levels of production, building of competitive agri value chains, crop diversification to value-added products and scaling up of food processing to serve emerging consumer needs.

ITC’s MAARS app for farmers has a big role to play in it

To meet the target, the company will be focusing on accelerating adoption of advanced technologies through ITC MAARS. This will enable ITC to create a new and scalable revenue stream while benefiting farmers, Puri emphasised.

ITC launched the MAARS app a few months back to offer artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML)-driven personalised and hyperlocal crop advisories to farmers. It also provides access to quality inputs and market linkages as well as allied services like pre-approved loans.

Puri added that the app has the potential to become a “considerable segment” of ITC’s agri-business, and is currently accessible by 40,000 farmers grouped into over 200 Farmers Producer Organizations (FPO) across seven states.

“At the core, is your company's endeavour to restructure the backend into a robust network of vibrant FPOs to aggregate farmer effort and enhance efficiencies,” he said. ITC aims to engage and empower 4,000 FPOs, consisting of a crore farmers, over time.

Puri emphasised that although nearly half of the country's workforce is dependent on the agriculture sector, it contributes to less than 19% of the country's gross value added (GVA). This reflects the challenges of low productivity, investments and incomes.

“The opportunities arising out of India's growth story have also encouraged us to invest in five new manufacturing facilities that will be commissioned in the near term in areas such as agri and food processing, as well as packaging, among others. These assets are deeply aligned to the country's 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' vision as well as to the endeavours to 'Double Farmers' Income',” Puri said.

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