ITC has joined hands with the Andhra Pradesh Government to develop a chilli value chain.

The Agri Business Division of ITC and the Department of Horticulture have conceptualised an integrated Agri Extension Platform for chilli farmers under the public-private partnership model.

The chill farm development platform will benefit 40,000 farmers in Prakasam, Krishna, Guntur and Kurnool districts, with about 10,000 acres under the crop.

The objective is to improve the competitiveness of the chilli crop in terms of its productivity, quality, sustainability and price, so as to maximise value and ensure better returns for the farmer, through a set of physical and digital interventions to improve production.

Andhra Pradesh is one of the top producers of chilli in the country (close to 9,92,900 tonnes) and there is a big opportunity to make it a global sourcing centre for the finest safe chilli, says S. Sivakumar, Head, Agri & IT Business of ITC.

Despite the inherent strengths of the state, food safe chilli (that meets US and European standards) exports is approximately 17,500 tonnes, which accounts for only 1.8 per cent of the total production. Hence, there is a huge space to grow and make it the largest Food Safe Chilli Destination in the world market.

The proposed platform comprises four key components — deployment of Skilled Agri Extension Resources at each village, an eChoupal digital platform, a digital engagement centre (call centre) and a Chilli Pradarshan Kendra (CPK).

ITC has deployed skilled, digitally enabled agri extension staff in the project villages. The chilli farmers have been provided access to the e-Choupal 4.0 mobile app. They can also talk to industry experts through the call centre.

The CPKs are demonstration plots supported by the horticulture department, where the ITC team would showcase the latest research developments from universities, national institutes and technology partners for the benefit of the farmer.

ITC’s e-Choupal 4.0 digital + physical model will facilitate the delivery of real-time information and personalised knowledge to the farmers effectively, says Sanjiv Rangrass, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Agri Business Division.

ITC has also identified and trained Rythu Prathinidhis or Champion Farmers in each project village to shares the knowledge they gain with fellow growers, to contribute to a sustainable future.

The Rythu Prathinidhis would also play a role in supporting their fellow farmers on the use of the e-Choupal 4.0 app.