In 2000, harnessing the empowering force of information technology and its scalabilty, ITC launched e-Choupal - a knowledge portal providing farmers with a range of information and services. Designed to enable them to bargain collectively and enhance their transactive power, e-Choupal became the much needed and easily adoptable tool farmers had been waiting for. Today e-Choupal is a vibrant and rapidly growing zone of business and interaction for over 4 million farmers. Today 4 million farmers use e-Choupal to advantage - bargaining as virtual buyers' co-operatives, adopting best practices, matching up to food safety norms. Being linked to futures markets is helping small farmers to better manage risk. e-Choupal has been specially cited in the Government of India's Economic Survey of 2006-07, for its transformational impact on rural lives. ITC's strategic intent is to develop e-Choupal as a significant two-way multidimensional delivery channel, efficiently carrying goods and services out of and into rural India. By progressively linking the digital infrastructure to a physical network of rural business hubs and agro-extension services, ITC is transforming the way farmers do business, and the way rural markets work. The network of 6,500 e-Choupal centres spread across 40,000 villages has emerged as the gateway of an expanding spectrum of commodities leaving farms - wheat, rice, pulses, soya, maize, spices, coffee, aqua-products. The reverse flow carries FMCG, durables, automotives and banking services back to villages.
'e-Choupal' also unshackles the potential of Indian farmer who has been trapped in a vicious cycle of low risk taking ability > low investment > low productivity > weak market orientation > low value addition > low margin > low risk taking ability. This made him and Indian agribusiness sector globally uncompetitive, despite rich & abundant natural resources. Such a market-led business model can enhance the...
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