ITC to develop value chain for chilli growers in Andhra Pradesh
The Agri Business Division of ITC Ltd has joined hands with the Andhra Pradesh government for improving farm value chain for chillies under public-private partnership mode covering Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Kurnool districts of the southern state. The collaboration will focus on developing an integrated agri extension platform for chilli value chain development, covering 10,000 acre in the first phase and another 100,000 acre in the near future. This project will enable chilli farmers in the state to improve farm productivity, meet global quality standards and manage the rising production costs. This also aims to increase net income and address agricultural sustainability issues in an efficient manner.
According to Chiranjiv Choudary, commissioner of horticulture department of the state, an agreement has been signed to increase chilli farmer’s profitability, with the technical support from ITC. Chilli quality can be improved by adopting various good agricultural practices in the value chain from seed selection to marketing. This aims to enable the exportability of chilli crop and thus improve farmer returns.
The platform will benefit 40,000 farmers in Prakasam, Krishna, Guntur and Kurnool, with about 10,000 acre under the crop. Andhra Pradesh is one of the top producers of chilli in the country of about 9,92,900 tonne and there is a big opportunity to make it a global sourcing centre for the finest safe chillies. However, export is only about 17,500 tonne, which accounts for only 1.8% of the total production, with a big opportunity for exports.
The proposed platform comprises four key components which include deployment of skilled agri extension resources at each village, an e-Choupal digital platform, a digital engagement centre (call centre) and a Chilli Pradarshan Kendra (CPK).
ITC has deployed skilled, digitally-enabled agri extension staff in the project villages. Chilli farmers have been provided access to the e-Choupal 4.0 mobile app. They can also talk to experts through the call centre.
The CPKs are demonstration plots supported by the horticulture department, where the ITC team would showcase the latest research developments from universities, national institutes and technology partners for the benefit of farmers.