ITC eChoupal Initiative
Soybean farmers in India have traditionally sold their product through ineffective and frequently dishonest physical marketplaces (mandi). Farmers are generally poor and often illiterate and are forced to be "price-takers" after an arduous journey to the mandi. They also have very limited access to information and education on farming techniques. Describes the use of Internet technologies to reach these farmers and, in particular, examines a new system called the eChoupal, developed by the Indian conglomerate ITC. The eChoupal has reengineered the antiquated soybean export supply chain using digital technology in rural farm villages. Based on a clever understanding of technology, sociology, and the incentives of the various players involved, the eChoupal provides farmers with effective methods of price discovery, honest trading, and information sharing to the benefit of all in the channel. Discusses the achievement, opportunities, and challenges of the managers of the new supply chain.