ITC's unique strength in this business is the extensive backward linkages it has established with the farmers. This networking with the farming community has enabled ITC to build a highly cost effective procurement system. ITC has made significant investments in web-enabling the Indian farmer. Christened 'e-Choupal', ITC's empowerment plan for the farmer centres around providing Internet kiosks in villages. Farmers use this technology infrastructure to access on-line information from ITC's farmer-friendly website www.echoupal.com. Data accessed by the farmers relate to the weather, crop conditions, best practices in farming, ruling international prices and a host of other relevant information. e-Choupal today is the world's largest rural digital infrastructure.
The unique e-Choupal model creates a significant two-way multi-dimensional channel which can efficiently carry products and services into and out of rural India, while recovering the associated costs through agri-sourcing led efficiencies. This initiative now comprises about 6100 installations covering over 35000 villages and serving over 4 million farmers. Currently, the 'e-Choupal' website provides information to farmers across the 10 States of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Supporting the e-Choupal network are ITC's procurement teams, handling agents and contemporary warehousing facilities across India, enabling its Agri Business to source identity-preserved merchandise even at short notice. ITC's processors are handpicked, reliable high quality outfits who ensure hygienic processing and modern packaging. Strict quality control is exercised at each stage to preserve the natural flavour, taste and aroma of the various agri products.