Sunday, March 2

Linking small farmers to retailers

Now this is a great idea and perhaps one of the only ways that small farmers can work together to align with the large agronomic value chains ending with the large or small retailers. By linking the small farmers with technology, it removes one of the biggest hurdles in the sustainability of small scale farming, and that is the element of scale.

Whether it is purchasing fertiliser or selling at the local shops, small quantity traders and farmers will always be penalised. I quote:

NEW DELHI: IT major Infosys Technologies on Tuesday said it has entered into a partnership with ACDI/VOCA, a non-profit organisation, for providing an application to improve efficiency of the country's agro supply chain.

The information and communication technology-enabled application minimises inventory requirement, reduces waste and facilitate better integration between retailers and farmers, Infosys said in a statement.

The application manages the supply chain from the level of profiling of farmer clusters, crop planning, scheduling, tracking and forecasting. It also enables farmers to access technical information such as data and images, access to region-specific weat her updates and market information such as daily sales volumes and average prices.

Currently, 1,700 small farmers are integrated into organised retail supply chains through this application and over the next 5 to 8 years the usage is expected to increase to a million farmers, it added.

"This solution gives the organised retail sector access to a reliable small holder production base," Mr Binod H R, Senior VP and Head (India Business Unit), Infosys Technologies said, adding that it decreases farm-to-market losses, currently estimated at 30- 40 per cent on certain products.

ACDI/VOCA is an international development organisation that promotes broad-based economic growth. This application falls under its growth-oriented $6.3-million Microenterprise Development Programme, a USAID-funded initiative. - PTI

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