Mumbai: ITC is expanding its fruit and vegetable retail and wholesale business, ''Choupal Fresh'' rural malls, by opening 54 new outlets in select metros in the next three years.
"We will set up 54 Choupal Fresh stores in next three years," ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar said. The company would target metropolitan cities for these wholesale-cum-retail stores.
The diversified group currently a few `Choupal Fresh'' stores operating in Hyderabad and Pune. The first one opened in Hyderabad in August this year.
Besides direct linkages with farmers for sourcing farm fresh produce, Choupal Fresh, ITC''s urban warehousing and cold chain infrastructure, stocks fresh horticulture produce like fruits and vegetables.
While the cold chain ensures availability of fresh products in the market, the emphasis is on improving the quality and productivity of domestic horticulture products through good agricultural practices rather than importing them.
ITC also has plans to add nine more ''Choupal Saagars'' in the next six months. These stores serve as rural hypermarkets, providing multiple services under one roof. They also help farmers to sell t heir produce directly and get immediate payment.
Choupal Saagars offer quality product for farm and household consumption to farmers. They also offer services like soil testing, banking, insurance, medical facilities and restaurants.
ITC currently has 11 such rural malls in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.