ITC To Enter Organic Cultivation Of Spices In AP

Hyderabad, Jan 30: | Updated: Jan 31 2004, 05:30am hrs
Following a huge demand for organic products in the export markets, ITC-IBD (International Business Division), the largest exporter of rice, soyameal, frozen shrimps, coffee beans etc., is foraying into organic cultivation of spices for turmeric and chillies in Andhra Pradesh.

``The whole process is still in the initial stages and we are in the process of identifying those farmers who can cultivate organic chillies for exports,'' according to a senior official from ITC-IBD.

"Following the success and demand for organic turmeric, we have proposed to enter organic chilli farming in Andhra Pradesh. We are planning to create a network of prospective farmers from Guntur, Nizamabad, Adilabad and Srikakulum districts who can grow chillies organically," the official added.

The company is campaigning for cultivation of organic produces which are in great demand in the international markets. ``Our focus will now be development of cultivation of organic chillies among the farmers who will be specially identified and certified for their produce,'' the official said.

In the wake of the norms stipultated by the European Union, the organically-grown chillies will be free from aflatoxin and pesticide residue content in the produce, the official pointed out.

According to Agricultural and Processed Export Development Authority (APEDA) sources, there is a growing market demand in the European countries for organic foods. During last year, the demand for organic foods in the EU countries, particularly Germany, was more than $2 billion from many countries including India. Major organic items exported included brown basmati rice, fruit pulps, sugarcane products, pulses, coffee, tea, etc.

The `organic' refers to the production procedures like usage of biopesticides, vermicomposting which fetches a better price for a farmer in the EU markets. On an average, the price per acre is 50 times more than the usual procedure, said APEDA sources.