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ICTI expands digital empowerment initiative for farmer producer organisations

Online marketing training for farmer producer organisations

March 26, 2017; International Centre for Technological Innovations (ICTI) has launched – an online marketplace for farmer producer organisations. The project was funded by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development through grant support under farm sector promotion fund. primarily facilitates networking of farmer producer organisations and wholesale trade. The website was inaugurated at the Kerala Regional Office of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. NABARD Chairman, Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chief General Manager, Mr. V.R Raveendra Nath, ICTI Director, Mr. Aaron Joseph George were present. CEO of FarmerTree, Mr. Geo Mathew Thomas and Director, Mr. Abraham Joji also attended the inauguration function. “Presently around 100 farmer producer companies in Kerala collectively market their products through the web-portal.” says Mr. Aaron Joseph George, “the project will be expanded to all India level in next few months by on-boarding farmer producer organisations and farmer cooperatives in other states”.

With increasing penetration of internet connectivity (rise of smartphone users), growing popularity of mobile shopping, and dealing in daily consumption commodities, grocery e-stores do hold a potential in India. While the grocery e-commerce does holds a good opportunity, there are challenges in different areas of operations – technology, vendors, logistics and more. ICTI spinout FarmerTree Producer Co. Ltd., (a farmer producer organisation) operates an online supermarket. The company focuses mainly on customers in villages and rural areas. “Customers can shop from a wide variety of categories and orders are delivered at doorstep on time. Our products are sourced directly from farmer producer organisations and farmer cooperatives,” says Mr. Shebin C Babu, Manager – FarmerTree. “By creating online food communities of women self-help groups and other customers, we make it easy to buy great food at wholesale prices directly from producers, by shopping together with friends, family and colleagues. Our goal is to provide safe, hygienic and healthy food at a fair price for producers and customers.”

“One of the major challenges faced by FarmerTree is the low digital literacy amoung rural communities in India” says CEO, Mr. Geo Mathew Thomas. “Aligned with National Digital Literacy Mission and the Digital India campaign, we associates with ICTI and implement digital literacy initiatives to empower farmers, women and rural communities.” Training is provided to women self-help groups (SHGs) and farmer groups, in using computer, internet and digital devices. Advanced training in e-commerce and digital payments is provided to farmer producer organisations. Loans are also provided to entrepreneurial women and JLGs for purchase of computers and starting grocery distribution centres.

International Center for Technological Innovations (ICTI) is a not-for-profit Open Innovation Centre promoting consortium research, technology development and dissemination in emerging countries. ICTI works in partnership with stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors in the emerging economies to make technological innovations commercially successful for the benefit of nation building, through capacity enhancement, technology transfer initiatives, new product development and enterprise building to create opportunities for inclusive growth, generate jobs and poverty reduction.

FarmerTree Producer Co. Ltd., (FarmerTree) is a farmer producer company established under PRODUCE Scheme of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development and incubated by the International Centre for Technological Innovations.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is an apex development bank in India, headquartered at Mumbai with branches all over India. The Bank has been entrusted with matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India. NABARD is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.