After the launch of CSC Grameen eStore, landless farmers are selling produce every day at this online platform. The VLEs started creating awareness among villagers how to download the app and taught how to order and also explained about e-store in nearby villages. While the spread of virus infections has alarmed customers, for VLEs, this means taking additional precautions.
CSC Digital services like Kisan eMart and Grameen eStore solve the challenges by Indian agriculture, characterized by fragmented farms, weak infrastructure and the involvement of intermediaries. It uses ICT platforms in villages which are run by CSC VLEs, this enables their community to access information in their language regarding purchasing the product. It unleashes the potential of Indian farmer who has been trapped in a vicious cycle of:
• Low risk taking ability
• Low investment
• Low productivity
• Weak market orientation
• Low value addition
• Low margin
• And back to Low risk taking ability.
This has made the farmer and Indian agribusiness sector globally noncompetitive, despite being rich and abundant in natural resources. This market-led business model can enhance the competitiveness of Indian agriculture and trigger a cycle of:
• High Productivity
• High Income
• Better Farmer Risk Management
• High Quality
• Large Investments
CSC Grameen eStore aims to serve the consumers with quality Fruits & Vegetables-F&V produce at affordable prices and also provide market linkage to the F&V growers of the country.
VLE Bitthal Das says, “Now, with the help of Grameen eStore and Kisan eMart, a large chunk of households in Neemuch district have had access to fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices—at rates much lower than what the local vegetable and fruits market or the handcart vendor would charge. This was made possible by standing the concept of CSC Grameen eStore. Instead of the farmer coming all the way to markets where the middleman would fleece him and where he had to pay steep taxes, the market went to his doorstep. As a result, customers could get the fresh products daily, making the farm-to-fork concept a reality long before retail chains began doing so in the metros.”
Woman VLE Vanga Nageshwari has received orders worth Rs. 15,000 for supply of vegetables through Grameen eStore. She runs her CSC at Achampet (Andhra Pradesh.). With the help of Grameen eStore, she enables her community to access information in their language regarding purchasing the produce. VLE Vanga motivated other women to experiment in their own farms and to use eStore. Persuading the men to attend meetings, listen to her and implement her advice was an uphill battle. But when the farmers observed that she had a better yield than they did, they slowly began accepting her advice. Vanga gained popularity not only in her village, but in nearby villages as well.
Today, thousands of such VLEs have reached a stage of self-sufficiency. “I love my work. My biggest achievement was that I first tried everything, gained experience and then advised others,” Bitthal Das told.
“A farmer has a harrowing time when he goes to the mandi. In Madhya Pradesh, we have to pay market fee, and VAT apart from commissions to the adhtiya. We save ourselves all this bother and make a profit even after eStore cuts transport cost from the final price,” explains Bitthal Das. “As VLE, we have already established a good working relationship in our villages over the years through CSC platform,” says VLEs.
The VLEs said, “Our aim is to strengthen our farmer connection to enhance F&V procurement. Our interventions at the farm level have already started showing results and we now plan to enhance our farmer strength in the larger interest of the farming community. We are aggressively pursuing to add 1000 more farmers to our network by the end of this fiscal, which will help us to strengthen the procurement from the State. Because of the perishability of farm producers, the first priority is to evolve a local retail network and then for the national grid of sales outlets.”
CSCs are eliminating the inefficiencies in traditional agricultural marketing which arises as a result of the multi-layer intermediaries and also characterised by poor infrastructure and technology.