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Growth in rural India: An inspiring agenda
Vinod Anand | 29 Nov 2011

ITC's new scheme links farmers to the remunerative markets across the country.

THE E-CHOUPAL initiative in its fullness would provide your company with an invaluable agric commodity sourcing capability to strengthen the company’s agro-trading business. The company’s strategic intent to leverage this strength in conjunction with its traditional capabilities is related to branding, trade marketing and distribution to create growth opportunities.
 
One such opportunity being actively pursued is in the area of value added branded foods. The branded foods market represents a significant opportunity for long term growth. Alongside growing per capita incomes, the Indian food consumption habit is expected to progressively evolve from basic foods to value added products, changing consumer preferences and heightened quality awareness, together with the expected reform of the regulatory framework and tax structures, will provide a fillip to the food processing industry.
 
ITC possesses much strength to exploit this growth potential, least caring about the specialist cuisine and bakery knowledge of its hotel business. In the company’s foray into the branded foods market commenced with ready-to-eat gourmet foods under the brand kitchens of India, the companies also recently launched the ‘Aashirvaad’ brand of packaged flour and Mint-o brand of confectionery.
 
It is the objective of ITC’s Foods business to establish its product brands across segments, and towards this end- the-business is gearing capabilities to launch a host of high-quality value added confectionery and bakery products, and ready-to-cook convenience foods. Growth in the value added consumer end of the market would in turn grow demand for higher quality agricultural commodities, thereby opening up remunerative opportunities for the farmers. Your Company believes that Indian farmers need to be supported and empowered to capture optimum value for their produce by linking them more effectively with consumers in the domestic and international markets.
 
Alongside the initiatives described earlier, your Company is also upgrading its internal FE architecture by creating a Virtual Private Network on which rests Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management and Supply Chain Management initiatives. The expanded trade marketing capabilities, blended with the state-of-the-art information technology transaction backbone and the e-choupal rural network, provide the basis for a low cost, broadband supply chain fulfilment capability for any consumer product.
 
Such fulfilment capability can be likened to an FMCG super highway which can be used as an effective infrastructural link to align Indian farmers with markets. It can also serve as a basis for powerful partnerships with other FMCG brand owners who wish to obtain the benefits of such a wide and deep trade marketing and distribution capability. Over the long term, such strategic partnerships are expected to be the basis for growth in revenues and value for you, the shareholders. The Company has demonstrated that it is possible, nay, most crucial to enmesh the need for creating shareholder value with the super ordinate goal of creating national value.
 
One should be happy and feel a sense of pride to know that the ITO’s pioneering endeavour in forging mutually supportive partnerships with the farming community, thereby making an impactful contribution to India’s rural transformation. The company’s inspiring vision has sublimated the goals of its employees to the level of a fervent mission, beyond mere commercial objectives. On behalf of the world-class people that shape this unique organization, we wish that it gains more than our best endeavour in sustaining ITC’s position as one of India’s most valuable corporations.