Having launched three Chaupal ‘Fresh’ stores in Chandigarh, Pune and Hyderabad, tobacco, food, packaging and hospitality major ITC is gearing up to launch the fourth store in Kolkata. ITC has chalked out plans to set up 140 of such fruits and vegetables stores in 54 towns, across the country. These stores are slated to come up within three to four years. ITC’s ‘Fresh’ format, in contrast to most others, is a combination of both the wholesale and the retail formats, where these stores remain open between 4 and 7 AM for wholesale and thereafter for retail.
ITC’s engagement with farmers began a few years ago with the opening of its first Chaupal Sagar hypermarket in Sehore, a small town near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. Today, while there are 12 Chaupal Sagar stores in operation, 11 more are under construction. All of these stores are located in the rural areas of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. In the coming months, ITC has plans to set up 40 more of such stores. The concept of these stores is slightly different from hypermarkets.
Chaupal Sagar stores, besides selling home products but also sell farm inputs like fertilisers, pesticides and implements required by the farmers. In addition to selling products, these stores also procure farm produce from the farmers. They also disseminate information on commodity prices, crop patterns, and farming methods to these farmers. Even, crop demos and cold chain support are made available, where needed.
In short, Chaupal Sagar stores have become meeting points for farmers not only for transacting commerce but also for collecting and exchanging useful information.
News Source: The Hindu Business Line