Kolkata: Tobacco and hospitality group ITC Ltd has launched an 'e-choupal' initiative to empower the farmer. The aim, according to the company's chairman Y C Deveshwar, is to create a low-cost IT-based interactive transaction and fulfilment channel to cover a lakh villages and a million farmers over the next decade.
The programme will use information technology to deliver real time information and customised knowledge to farmers. The information should help farmers to adapt their cultivation to market demand and improve price realization through better quality and higher productivity.
According to Deveshwar, this large Internet-based initiative is now reaching out to 6,50,000 farmers in 6,000 villages in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka through 1,020 kiosks. It currently covers four crops - soya, coffee, wheat and aquaculture.
The IT management sees the programme as a direct marketing channel that will work in competition with the existing mandi system.