Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd is working on an aggregator model to strengthen its backend for its e-Choupal initiative which currently enables four million farmers in the country digitally.
At an event organised by the CII, Sanjiv Puri, managing director at ITC said, “There are huge opportunities which comes with digital technology. For our e-Choupal initiative, we are working on a backend which will empower a set of rural youth who in turn can help the farmers”.
It is expected that under this initiative, which is in its pilot stages, a set of rural youth will be trained digitally who can learn modern technology and mining a mobile phone app for data and pass on their knowledge to the farmers as well as provide them with specific inputs.
This aggregator model, which includes a mobile phone app, will be the fourth version of the e-Choupal which will become the aggregator of e-services to the farmers. The existing one offers personalised crop management advisory services and increases the employability of the rural youth besides providing other digital services.
It is projected that under the version 4.0 of e-Choupal, digital technology will no longer be limited inside a kiosk and will be made available on the mobile platform.
Complementing the digital infrastructure is Choupal Pradarshan Khet which comprises customised agri-extension services, demonstration plots and training programmes that promote best practices and assist farmers to diversify crop portfolios.
Launched in 2000, the e-Choupal model, a network of village internet kiosks enable small and marginal farmers, who are de-linked from the formal market, to access real-time weather and price information, and relevant knowledge and services to enhance farm productivity, quality and command better prices - improving their competitiveness and capacity to manage risk.
From its current base of 4 million farmers spread over 35000 villages through 6100 kiosks across 10 states, ITC has targeted to cover 10 million farmers under this initiative.