Agri Business

ITC partners with farmers’ body to procure pesticide residue-free cumin from Rajasthan

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on March 01, 2021

A farmers’ producer organisation, Shri Balaji Farmers Producers Company Ltd, and Kolkata-based multinational conglomerate ITC Ltd have agreed to work together for procurement, aggregation and buyback of quality-IPM and organic cumin (jeera) from small farmers of Jaitran tehsil of Pali district of Rajasthan.

This collaboration is an outcome of Department of Biotechnology (DBT)-South Asia Biotechnology Centre’s Biotech Kisan Hub project, which is promoting integrated pest management (IPM) and good agriculture practice (GAP) among cumin farmers in Western Rajasthan.

“Our farmers will benefit by this collaboration with ITC and we will get premium price for IPM and organic cumin produced by most backward farmers of our region,” said Rambharos Gurjar, CEO of Shri Balaji FPC, in a statement.

Rajasthan produces about two-thirds of total cumin grown on over 6.76 lakh hectares. Implementing the IPM package will minimise the use of pesticides application while promoting the use of microbes, botanicals and sticky traps to monitor and control major pests such as aphids and thrips.

“IPM cumin is the future of farming and can fetch 10-20 per cent premium price to growers in Rajasthan. There is a potential international market for the residue free IPM cumin from countries such as Japan, EU and USA that could help our farmers to improve their incomes and transform livelihoods,” said Bhagirath Choudhary of the DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan Hub and technical member of Apeda.

The majority of cumin produced in Rajasthan is transported to the Unjha mandi of Gujarat, which costs enormous resources to farmers in transportation and uncertainty about price at mandi system. This collaboration will bring market to the doorstep of farmers.

“ITC is committed to create value for smallholder farmers across supply chain of agri commodities. Our quest is to help smallholder get better realization for quality seed spices such as cumin. Engaging with FPO is a way to pass on benefits directly to farmers and this is a classic example of creating value for residue free and IPM cumin,” said Giriraj Sharma of ITC Ltd.

The Spices Board of India Jodhpur office has laid emphasis on backward integration and buy back arrangement to increase price realisation of IPM cumin produced in different districts of Western Rajasthan. “The Spices Board of India is proactively collaborating with DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan hub, ICAR-NRCSS and State Agriculture Department to increase farmers’ income in Rajasthan,” said MY Honnur of the Spices Board.

“The buyback arrangement was a missing piece in the quality production of cumin in this area. The agreement between Shri Balaji FPC and ITC is a landmark achievement which would go a long way in strengthening supply chain of seed spices of Pali district of Rajasthan”, said Manoj Agarwal of the Ambuja Cement Foundation, which is local partner supporting DBT-SABC in cumin projects.

Published on March 01, 2021

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