Just as LinkedIn connects all the players in the employment market so too does ConnectFarmer.com connect Indian farmers with potential customers.
As has been documented, farmer suicides in India are a pressing issue, with agricultural livelihoods eroding, in part because of climate change, land acquisition and the introduction of patented BT cotton seeds. With some small farmers at a loss to make ends meet, agriculture starts to look less and less appealing to younger generations. Like in China, more and more Indian youth prefer to leave farming careers in rural areas behind, opting to head to the city in search of employment opportunities.
Two young entrepreneurs Balachandra Hegde Sayimane and Shrikrishna Hegde Ullane are therefore looking to turn this situation around by designing an online fair for rural Indian agriculture and cottage industries fair where farmers can exhibit their products and connect with potential consumers. With great courage and equipped with a good business plan, they founded Connectfarmer.com in 2012.ConnectFarmer.com gives farmers a leg up in the digital age, linking them directly to customers via the dedicated web platform. Customers can browse through categories such as ‘Food and Drink’, ‘self-prepared Pesticides’ and ‘Nursery and seeds’ (to name a few) to find the best locally-grown and made produce from farmers and rural households who are passionate about what they do.
To be honest, I find their website quite sophisticated in terms of the organisation of the different sections. Farmers can promote and register their in-season produce in the “Buy/Sell” section and take part in eco-tourism by giving info to an online database and directory. There is one section called “Event listing” where farmers can receive SMS alerts for agriculture and cottage industries related events.
For farmers who do not have access to ICT or lack digital literacy skills, ConnectFarmer.com provides a phone service whereby people can call in and inform the team over the phone about the products they have for sale. A small call centre was even set up to help farmers update their web offering.
It’s amazing how many ICT initiatives are out there that possess great potential to ease the lives of small farmers and help them improve their income streams. If you want to connect with the team, you can check out more about them on their LinkedIn profile