ITC Limited, an Indian multinational conglomerate company, is reportedly set to accelerate the direct farm produce procurement due to the agricultural reforms announced recently. The company is also planning to increase the production of the aromatic and medicinal plants to leverage the rising opportunity from marketing the immunity booster products amid and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per the statement made by S. Sivakumar, the group head of agri business at ITC, the recent agricultural marketing reforms and amendments to the Essential Commodities Act will expedite the engagement of corporates in agriculture. Additionally, this will offer a higher income opportunity for farmers by enabling them to link the products to the sustainable value chains as well as align the produce to the market demand.
Mr. Sivakumar added that the company has been strengthening the procurement of grains such as wheat via the direct procurement models over the past years, which will be increased further owing to the recent agricultural reforms. He further stated that the consumers in the post-COVID world are expected to shift to packaged produce as well as immunity building products. This will provide an opportunity for the conglomerate company to expand its range of packaged vegetables and fruits and strengthen the Farmland brand. This will also prompt the company to source the products rapidly to enhance the domestic brands and the export business.
According to the recent agricultural reforms, potatoes, onions, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, and cereals have been approved for removal from the list of the essential commodities. The Union cabinet has also reportedly removed restrictions of selling the products outside the notified market yards by farmers.
ITC had entered the market for organized packaged fruits & vegetables in India in 2017 under the Farmland brand. The company started its operations by offering some varieties of potatoes.