Choupal = meeting place where Indian farmers gathered to chat, gossip, or share stories & news from the day. A place for knowledge to be shared & captured.
IBD = international business division, agricultural commodities export division of ITC. Was lagging behind other divisions in the company. In 98 contributed only 5% to overall sales. Soybean = 2/3 of IBD’s sales.
Limited technological resources in the country constrained the sharing of info between small rural communities. Inputs & outputs to the supply chain system were inefficient. Clogged with middlemen.
March 1999 - CEO was challenged to generate a new business plan. Goal of quadrupling sales in 6 years.
Average farmer earns $443 USD/year.
CA = commission agent, a licensed government buyer who buys farmers’ soybean crops at local markets (mandis). ITC hired a CA in each market to buy product.
Amount of time it takes to sell at mandis hurting the farmers. Often had to travel far to mandi, so to return home empty handed would be a waste, and therefore they often had to accept whatever the CA offered. They had no advance notice of what selling price would be, because they lacked the technology to communicate with each other.
May 1999 – eChoupal conceived. ITC supplies each village with computer, connection lines, power supply, printer ($3762 total cost). Another $2213 for travel, training, software, etc. Site contains 8 key areas – Weather, best practices, crop info, market info (world demand, world production, mandi trading volume, mandi price lists), FAQs, news, feedback, & ITC info (this info set was developed with input from farmers). Farmer’s continual input is vital to relevancy of the site.
• 1695 eChoupals in province of MP, 8400 villages & covering 80% of soy & wheat growing areas.
• Web kiosk within 5kms & Hub within 30kms of each farmer (same distances as they would have to travel to a mandi)
• New supply chain where technology is the backbone, rather than the traditional...