16 January 2012

Digital Marketing & Agriculture

The ICT initiative (information and communication technology) e-Choupal is the largest technology fabricated to improve competence in the rural Indian agriculture sector, leverage greater exchange of information and provides substitute market structure. However, weak ICT infrastructure and poor literacy rate dominates in the rural India, better information about the alternative markets and its policies provided by the initiative to the farmers will reduce rural depression and poverty by creating transparency hub. This would in turn help the farmers to improve their productivity and income.

Agriculture is important to India; as 23% of its GDP and 66% of employs are still dependent on this sector.  India has achieved a successful stage over the period of time in farming which build the country self-sufficient and also a net exporter in quantity of food grains. Though, most of the Indian farmers are still living in poverty due to antiquated agriculture system based on small landholding, meagre regulations and inadequate market composition.

In countries such as United States well established agriculture economies support the farmers to acquire market information and benefits of vertical market integration. Unfortunately, farming in India is characterized by fragmented landscape, pitiable infrastructure and presence of countless intermediaries.  Here, structure of the system can be explain as, farmer sold the crops to small traders who then act as an agent to sold  them to the corporate buyers at government authorized place called mandi.  Due to lack of information farmers have to sell their crops at the price offer to them and thus the benefits are consumed by the traders alone.

India rural farmers are abide due to illiteracy and poverty, they need a mechanism to access information regarding marketing policies and education on improved techniques of farming to seize the price of their hard work.  Little knowledge regarding the digital marketing technology can support them to realize the real price of their effort.  

Internet centres are set up under the e-Choupal project where the rural farmers easily gather real-time information via internet.  Other than this, e-Choupal portal offer information in local languages for the ease of the farmers, here they get every answer of their question including weather forecast, learn better techniques of farming and risk management as well as knowledge about the better quality farm inputs. Even with this e-network they can mail or consult with the agronomist for the assistance of their problems.

Learning about the basics of digital marketing can benefit the farmers a lot. Besides accessing information from various such assisting portals they can also create their own websites for crop selling purpose to increase their business.

Areas of IT convergence
  1. Economic development of agricultural producers;
  2. Community development;
  3. Research and education;
  4. Small and medium enterprises development; and
  5. Media networks.

                            Some agricultural development services that can be provided in the developing world, using ICT, are:
  • Online services for information, education and training, monitoring and consultation, diagnosis and monitoring, and transaction and processing;
  • E-commerce via direct linkages between local producers- traders-retailers-suppliers;
  • Interaction Facility amongst  Researchers, extension (knowledge) workers, and farmers;
  • Q&A  services where experts respond to queries on specialized subjects 
  • Up-to-date information, supplied to farmers as early as possible, about subjects such as packages of practices, market information, weather forecasting, input supplies, credit availability, etc.; 
  • Creation of databases with details of the resources of local villages and villagers, site-specific information systems, expert systems, etc.;
  • Provision of early warning systems about disease/ pest problems, information regarding rural development programmes and crop insurances, postharvest technology, etc.;
  • Facilitation of land records and online registration services;
  • Improved marketing of milk and milk products;
  • Services providing information to farmers regarding farm business and management;
  • Increased efficiency and productivity of cooperative societies through the computer communication network and the latest Satellite  technology;
  • web-education for farmers in Regional Languages

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