Facilitating farmers

 
Published: Saturday 30 November 2002

http://www.echoupal.com
Harnessing technology for the Indian farmer. That is what this unique web-based initiative of ITC's International Business Division wishes to do. Combining a broad set of online resources and a network of around one thousand kiosks, the site claims to reach rural farmers in about 6,000 Indian villages. It offers realtime agribusiness information, products and services to rural farmers seeking to become more competitive and to have better access to domestic and international market opportunities. Farmers can access latest local and global information on weather, scientific farming practices as well as market prices at the village itself through this web portal - all in Hindi. Choupal also helps supply of high quality farm inputs as well as purchase of commodities at their doorstep.

Given the literacy and infrastructure constraints at village level, this model is designed to provide physical service support through a Choupal Sanchalak - himself a lead farmer - who acts as the interface between computer terminal and the farmers. Full contents of this site are therefore made available to the registered sanchalaks only.

The channels include weather crop-related info, soil testing, suggestions, government schemes and news that are relevant for the farmers.

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