1. Agriculture World

50 percent more Earnings for Farmers via e-choupal, says ITC

The Farm Acts may have opened up a debate about whether or not the entry of the corporate sector would actually lead to a rise in farmer incomes. ITC, one of India’s largest conglomerates, however, claims it has already demonstrated corporate intervention in agriculture pays off by the success of its famed e-Choupal model.

Chintu Das

The horticulture related enactment cleared by parliament in the midst of extreme emotion a week ago may have opened up a discussion if the entry of the corporate sector would really prompt an ascent in farmer earnings, yet the results of perhaps the biggest conglomerate in India, ITC's e-choupal model showed, corporate mediation in agribusiness pays. 

Organization authorities stated that farmers have earned up to 50 percent more by utilizing e-Choupal, which the firm uses for direct sourcing of agri products. A significant aspect of ITC's agri sourcing foundation, e-Choupal is a mix of click and mortar (a sort of business model that has both online and offline activities). 

While farmers advantage through improved farm profitability and higher firm gate prices, ITC profits by lowering the net expense of procurement, having wiped out unnecessary costs in the supply chain. 

ITC sources more than 3 million tons of agri items from 225 regions in 22 states, of which around 66% is through e-Choupal. Throughout the years, ITC has been interacting with farmers by means of e-Choupal to produce excellent wheat, potato, fruits, milk, vegetables, and coffee etc. 

It has been a sure shot approach. Presently in its twentieth year, e-Choupal provides 6-10 percent of cost savings for ITC and 10-25 percent improvement in efficiency for farmers through the implementation of suggested practices, prompting a general higher pay of upto 50%. Those advantages, ITC says, hold for any point in time. 

A few projects have yielded earnings higher than even 50% for farmers. Projects like BaarehMahineHariyali (covering 2 lakh farmers) have exhibited capability of multiplying farmer’s livelihoods twice through different interventions like expanding cropping intensity, Sivakumar, group head (Agri and IT businesses), ITC, noted, including e-Choupal had helped farmers in getting value revelation of yield in the village itself, helping them to settle on right selling choices. 

"The modern quality assessment and computerized weight management at purchase centres focuses guaranteed extra benefit of 4-5 percent", he said. 

Sivakumar, the architect behind e-Choupal, says that in the new worldview of making an environment that offers "opportunity of decision making" to farmers, intensity of competition from various buyers is the best defend policy. 

Exempting the value chain players from the provisions of Essential Commodities Act will bring more competition. In any case, with APMC continuing to operate, farmers will have even more choices than before,” he pointed out. 

Excluding the value chain players from the arrangements of Essential Commodities Act will bring more rivalry. Regardless, with APMC's proceeding to operate, farmers will have a much larger number of choices than previously," he commented. 

Unexpectedly, the development of ITC's e-choupal had hit a speed breaker in 2007-08 because of absence of horticultural changes. Export bans, subsidies, stock controls, and moderate correction to the APMC Act had frustrated the development of e-Choupal and incited ITC to zero in on growing the extent of services. 

Sivakumar said ITC was currently prepared to actualize e-Choupal 4.0 at scale and bring the advantages of the computerized insurgency to enable farmers significantly more adequately. From pilots, ITC is presently trying to take e-Choupal 4.0 to cover 1 million farmers. 

"The computerized platform, planned as a yield skeptic incorporated solution framework, will synergistically advance technologies like remote sensing, precision cultivation, drone based, quality measuring, e-commercial market and numerous others. It is presently ITC's vision to enable 10 million farmers in India to multiply occupations that will profit more than 50 million individuals, " he clarified. 

The e-Choupal ecosystem has so far connected with 4 million farmers. The new farming laws are making ITC to investigate new openings. 



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