Balancing farmers’ income, inflation a tough call: ITC official

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New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Agriculture sector will require innovation to balance the twin phenomenon of increase in income of farmers and rise in prices, said a senior ITC official here on Wednesday.

Talking to media persons on the government’s target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and ITC’s initiatives in the agriculture sector, S. Sivakumar, Group Head – ITC Agriculture and IT, said: “If one has to look at simultaneously tackling inflation and doubling farmers’ income, one needs innovation.”

The private sector also has a crucial role to play in increasing farmers’ income, he added.

Speaking on the required measures to push farmers’ income, he said there is no “one size fits all” process to increase farmers’ income and that there is need for a “toolkit” to use in different circumstances with different “permutations and combinations”.

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“Currently, ITC is working on four broad aspects of the Indian agricultural sector with the aim to increase the income of farmers.”

The company is working on providing market linkages, diversifying rural incomes, raising agricultural productivity and developing sustainable resources for the future.

Sivakumar further said the company of late has entered into perishable and frozen food segment, which would in turn decrease wastage of agricultural products.

Under the brand name of MasterChef, ITC has recently launched dehydrated onions and it also sells frozen prawns, and under Farmland brand, the company sells apples and potatoes.

On the issue of minimum support price (MSP), Sivakumar said compensating the farmers with the differential price between the MSP and the market price is more practical idea than procurement of crops by the government.

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–IANS

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