Agriculture Industry

ITC’s Climate Smart Agriculture Programme Extended to Over 10 Lakh Farmers

28 June 2024, New Delhi: Recognising that the agriculture sector faces colossal challenges of ensuring food security, addressing climate change and enhancing productivity & farm incomes, ITC has pioneered several interventions to strengthen the competitiveness and build the resilience of agri value chains.

A comprehensive Climate Smart Agriculture program has been launched across 19 states to enable a transformation journey from Low Yield Low Resilient areas to High Yield and High Resilient villages through a package of agronomy practices, climate-resilient varieties, precision farming, water management and appropriate mechanisation.

Till date, 27.94 lakh acres and over 10.5 lakh farmers including 1.95 lakh women farmers have been covered under ITC’s Climate Smart Agriculture program. Powering NextGen Agriculture, ITC has accelerated digital adoption in agriculture enabling farmers to benefit from its advanced solutions. Regenerative agri-practices, farm mechanisation and adoption of climate-smart agriculture are bolstered by the efficient aggregation of farmers to future-ready FPOs.

In addition to the promotion of Climate Smart Agri practices at scale, in core agricultural catchments, ITC also has a Climate Smart Village (CSV) program, wherein support is provided to a majority of the village population to enable adaptation to climate risks, mitigating the same through knowledge, livelihood diversification, natural resources management and institutional support. 6,755 CSVs covering major crop value chains are currently part of the program. To provide additional support to farmers in dealing with climate risks, 15.24 lakh linkages were facilitated for farmers with six major Government schemes.

Collaboration with NITI Aayog In 27 Aspirational Districts

The collaboration with NITI Aayog, aimed at boosting agricultural and allied activities in 27 Aspirational Districts of eight states under the Aspirational Districts program, is in its second phase. This phase focuses on internalising capability enhancement methodology for the training of farmers as well as communicating the model village template amongst Government teams and agencies such as Krishi Vikas Kendras. During the year, over 12 lakh farmers were trained on the package of practices for principal crops of the region as well as on livestock management, resulting in over 44 lakh cumulative farmer interactions. Similarly, the Government has also initiated work on 8,000 model villages based on the activities demonstrated by ITC across 1,350 villages during the initial period of the partnership. Estimates indicate yield improvement of up to 30% for cotton, maize, paddy and soybean in locations covered by the program; similarly, the cost of cultivation is estimated to have reduced by nearly 15%, resulting in expansion of farmer incomes by up to 60%.

ITCMAARS integrates 15 lakh farmers

Towards enhancing the competitiveness of domestic agri-value chains, strengthening market linkages and building traceable & climate-smart value chains, ITC has successfully scaled up ITCMAARS – a crop-agnostic full stack AgriTech digital platform, together with a physical ecosystem, across ten states. The ITCMAARS ‘Phygital’ platform now spans more than 1,650 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) encompassing more than 15 lakh connected farmers and several industry partners including agri input manufacturers, banks, financial institutions and agri-tech startups.

By synergistically integrating NextGen agri technologies, ITCMAARS is developing a robust ecosystem to seamlessly deliver hyperlocal and personalised solutions to the Indian farming community leveraging world-class digital tools (including IoT) to develop new and scalable revenue streams, strengthen sourcing efficiencies and power ITC’s world-class Indian brands. The ITCMAARS platform provides hyperlocal e-market services for agri inputs and farm outputs, enables access to credit and provides a wide range of predictive and prescriptive advisory services covering weather forecasts, agronomy, best practices for improved productivity, quality assurance, etc.

The integration of these package of practices enables the agri ecosystem to make a transformational shift towards superior value creation for all stakeholders. The ecosystem also provides access to sustainable Agri-inputs such as biologicals and nano-nutrients to farmers. New age functionalities such as ‘KrishiMitra’ – the world’s first Gen AI-based voice chatbot for farmers, enables innovative user interfaces in vernacular languages deploying voice-to-text technology, thereby easing the adoption of digital technology by farming communities.

ITC remains committed to supporting the Government’s efforts to promote millets given their immense benefits in terms of nutritional properties and attributes as a planet-friendly and climate-resilient crop. ITC has extended the ITCMAARS ecosystem to promote FPOs engaged in millet farming and has also partnered with the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad to promote high-yielding varieties and advanced package of practices among millet farmers.

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