More details on ITCs plans for the expansion of its e-Choupal initiative: the company intends to spend Rs. 5000 crore over the next five years, increasing the number of e-choupals to 20,000 across 350 districts, from around 6400 in 130 districts. The initiative will connect 100,000 villages in India, and serve around 10 million farmers by 2010. A part of the plan is the setting up of smaller e-Choupals, called “Choupal Sagar”, which will cost Rs. 2 crore each, as opposed to e-Choupals which require an investment of Rs. 6 crores each.
CEO of ITCs agri business S.Sivakumar says that they’ve focused on connecting less developed states, and are working on adding traceability of farm produce, and adding attributes to provide more value to buyers and sellers. Currently, e-Choupals provide farmers with information on mandi prices, good farming practices, the weather and allow them to place orders for agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizers. More importantly, by providing real time information, they reduce the involvement of the unscrupulous intermediaries. [via the Hindu]
I’ve never seen an e-Choupal…but wouldn’t a mobile interface be less expensive?