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Plantersnet.com -- ITC unveilsone-stop shop for coffee planters 

Our eFE Bureau  
Bangalore: As a part of ITC Limited's corporate strategy to add value to every business in which it operates, the company's International Business Division (IBD) has launched a Website -- www.plantersnet.com -- exclusively designed to Web-enable coffee planters in the country. The new facility is expected to increase the company's coffee procurement volume from the current 8,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes in three years.

Designed by ITC's technology arm ITC Infotech Ltd, the site is expected to offer real-time price and market information world over to the coffee planter community. The site will function as a one-stop shop to meet all the marketing needs of coffee planters exporters.

Unveiling the site in Mercara (Coorg) recently, Coffee Board chairperson Ms Laskhmi Venkatachalam said the site would guide planters through complex risk transfer mechanisms besides providing them access to various cash management tools which were of critical importance in terms of trading.

Speaking on the occasion, ITC-IBD chief executive Mr S Sivakumar said that the company would set up 25 coffee kiosks (choupals) near coffee estates in Mercara, Mysore and Chikmagalur.

ITC's coffee Website would provide planters latest scientific inputs on the best practices in coffee cultivation and quality management, he said. ``The site will provide scientific counselling in consultation with international coffee cultivation experts,'' Mr Sivakumar said.

In order to add value to plantersnet.com, the site features general news, features & articles on coffee and holiday & golfing packages.

On the future plans, Mr Sivakumar said the company would launch a site for aquaculture (shrimps) in February next year. ``The site will provide information on shrimp farming, weather, health management of shrimps and prices,'' he said.

In June, ITC-IBD had set up around 100 similar kiosks for soya bean in Madhya Pradesh to provide latest local & global information on weather, best farming practices and world market prices of the commodity, he said. ``These soya kiosks connect over 20,000 farmers in 500 villages,'' he said.

During the fiscal, ITC-IBD has procured over 4000 tonnes of soya of the total produce of 200,000 tonnes. ``The supply chain will cut the handling and transportation cost considerably,'' Mr Sivakumar said. To transport one tonne of soya, a farmer needs to spend around Rs 200.

According to Mr Sivakumar, ITC-IBD has plans to extend the concept of e-Choupals to other agriculture crops like wheat, pulses, groundnuts, sesame, paddy and black pepper in 14 states around the country.

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