ITC To Focus On Inputs For Horticulture Exports

Hyderabad, May 30: | Updated: May 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
With a long-term interest in food chain management, the international business division of the tobacco major ITC, has proposed to focus on inputs, processing and building business in horticultural products for exports.

Taking the cue from the concept of e-choupals in soya, aqua and coffee, the same mode of business will be extended even to fruits and vegetables, according to Mr Shiv Kumar, chief executive, international business division (IBD) ITC.

The proposal is in the preliminary stages and the company is in talks with the Andhra Pradesh horticulture department. The groundwork has already begun and we are exploring on mangoes, grapes and red onions from the state for exports, he told The Financial Express.

The focus on fruits started last year with an export turnover of Rs 2 crore on processed alphonso and thothapuri mango varieties. The fruits were processed in to pulp form and exported to West Asia, Europe, US and Canada. Despite production of thothapuri being lower this year, we are anticipating a turnover of Rs 10 crore on mango pulp exports in the current year, he said. The fruits are being sourced from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

The pulp is being used by the intermediate processing companies in the western market for preparing ice creams, juice, etc, he added.

Meanwhile, with the agri-export zone coming up for grapes and mangoes at the Ranga Reddy district in Andhra Pradesh, the horticultural department is working out viable proposals to attract the private sector participation at the zone. The department had recently called for a meeting with leading companies in the state to participate in the agri-export zone being set up in Chitoor, Vijayawada besides Ranga Reddy district. The proposed zone is likely to be set up at an initial investement of over Rs 100 crore, according to official sources.

The porposed zone at Ranga Reddy district is expected to have the right farm inputs and practices, with private sector participation for market linkages to explore new export markets for mangoes and grapes, he added.