New Delhi, April 14: The homeland of the agrarian revolution — Punjab — is emerging as the hotbed of contract farming. The latest to join the bandwagon is Escorts Limited.
Escorts will undertake contract farming in an area of 50,000 acres, for basmati, oil seeds and durum wheat in kharif and rabi seasons of 2003-04.
Under an MoU signed recently with the Punjab government, Escorts will work actively with Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) in six chosen districts providing full range of agro inputs and extension services.
The Rs 2,500-crore Escorts conglomerate has business interests in agri-machinery, telecommunications, healthcare, construction, automotive, railway ancillaries and financial services among others.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Vinay Upadhayay, head of strategic planning and projects, Escorts Agri machinery group, said, “Escorts will be investing more than Rs 100 crore in the next three years, in the collection, handling and storage of grain in six chosen districts of Punjab.”
Mahindra and Mahindra, Rallis India and Pepsi Foods are some of the big-time players already operating in Punjab as corporate contract farmers. “Escorts will be acting as the facilitator between bulk buyers and farmers, with the permission of the government,” Upadhayay said.
“Punjab is moving from agriculture to agri-business and we have got an opportunity to be present right through the agri-chain of the country,” said Rajan Nanda, chairman of Escorts Limited.