ITC’s Mysore tobacco plant to go on stream soon

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Mr S. Janardhan Reddy, CEO, ILTD Division
Mr S. Janardhan Reddy, CEO, ILTD Division

The new unit is expected to enhance shelf life of the leaf beyond the average two years. – Mr S. Janardhan Reddy, CEO, ILTD Division.

Mohan Padmanabhan

Mysore, Sept. 4 Construction work on the new Green Leaf Threshing plant of ITC’s leaf tobacco arm – ILTD – in Mysore is expected to begin soon, as the process of land acquisition (some 100 acres) and registration (in the company’s name) for the project has been completed. ILTD is the largest buyer, processor and exporter of cigarette tobaccos in India, buying nearly 50 per cent of the crop grown in AP and Mysore.

Talking to Business Line here recently on the Rs 250-crore project, coming up at the temple town of Nanjangud, some 23 kms away from Mysore city, with the land located in the Najangud Industrial Area, Mr S. Janardhan Reddy, CEO of the ILTD Division, said the new GLT unit, third after Chirala and Anaparti in Andhra Pradesh, would adopt state-of-the-art technology and contemporary practices, benchmarked to global green leaf threshing standards.

Citing value creation at the farm gate as a pre-requisite for value delivery all along the line, he said, “We intend to create a green belt around the project, with a sizeable portion of the 100 acres left for future use of the company.” The new unit is expected to enhance shelf life of the leaf beyond the average two years as now, and solve the logistics problem being faced while transferring the leaf to the AP threshing units.

Luring Export Markets

Mysore tobacco is of export quality, and further developments to Mangalore Port will help exports from Mysore itself. The Mysore GLT unit, with 8-tonne annual capacity, is expected to become operational by 2010.

Pointing out that India was now a strategic source of supply for the global tobacco importing countries, Mr Reddy said Indian tobacco exports have increased from 83 million kg (mkg) in 2002-03 to 174 mkg in 2007-08. He said ILTD, with a footprint in every continent, has been the key driver of this growth, with export of 61 mkg in 2007-08 (valued at Rs 509 crore).

India’s export of leaf tobacco during 2007-08 was Rs 1,479 crore.

Demand Up

Demand for leaf tobacco was now looking up because of withholding of subsidies by EU, and “this is a great opportunity for India to build new space in the export markets”. Key importing markets are West and East Europe, South and South East Asia and Africa.

“We have encouraged source drift from countries/regions such as EU, China and Zimbabwe to India.”

Commenting on crop development in the Mysore area, he said ILTD, in collaboration with CTRI and Tobacco Board, has initiated new agronomic practices for developing improved varieties of tobacco which would fetch greater economic benefits to the farmers.

He said ILTD was also now engaging many global buyers in collaborative initiatives spanning crop development and extension services, R&D, Processing, Logistics and CSR. ILTD has recently tied up with Swiss-based Socotab for developing and marketing quality Oriental tobaccos in India.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 5, 2008)
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