The Indian Farmer Fertiliser Cooperative, better known as IFFCO, has recently announced the news of the company signing an agreement with CSC e-Governance Services India (CSC SPV). The main aim of this signing is to facilitate the access to e-commerce services related to agriculture to the villages and rural parts of India.
This aim is to be achieved via the introduction of a digital initiative by IFFCO, which is slated to be an Indian Cooperative Digital Platform (ICDP), called the IFFCO Bazar. According to the MD and CEO of IFFCO, Dr US Awasthi, IFFCO Bazar, as a part of the agreement, will display all the products and services that are offered by IFFCO and its group companies, on a CSC e Commerce web portal.
As is aptly described in the IFFCO MD’s blog, a cooperative refers to an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily unite to meet common social, cultural, and economic aspirations and needs through a democratically-controlled and jointly-owned enterprise. Cooperatives are basically business organizations that are owned and managed by the people they are meant to serve. According to Dr US Awasthi, IFFCO Bazar is such a cooperative platform that aims to connect the farmers and different cooperative societies in India. The platform is built on the principles of the Prime Minister’s cashless drive and digital initiative. The portal means to provide a single platform where IFFCO and its group companies, different societies, and the consumers can communicate and conduct commerce.
To make IFFCO Bazar more accessible to the rural population and to facilitate easy usage, the platform is available in 10 different regional languages, and offers a way to seamlessly connect the rural parts of India to the rest of India. The platform offers farmers a Free Delivery and no Minimum Order Value scheme and is set to empower the farmers in our country, helping them get a firmer grasp over the commercial parts of their businesses.
IFFCO Bazar as a platform has a number of features to offer, including:
- Ability to register for societies and individuals via Aadhaar or mobile numbers
- Offers collective information about the platform as well as the schemes under it
- Provides comprehensive information on the member societies of IFFCO, for corporates
- You can also get information on business opportunities offered by IFFCO and its group companies to societies and individuals. It also acts as a single point for contact details in case anyone has queries
- IFFCO Bazar also features a discussion forum where one may ask questions, share ideas and best practices. These forums also have facilities for comments and voting
- The platform offers a chance to ‘learn by self’ through a number of helpful videos on topics like soil testing, best practices in farming or rearing live-stock, means of cashless payments, and so on
- One of the features is an Online Mandi that offers information on probable buyers and sellers for agri-produce, farm-equipment, livestock, etc. There is also the facility to list requirements by both buyers and sellers
- You can also buy products and services of IFFCO and Group Companies online
- It also provides information for future events, like field programs, farmers meet, Medical or veterinary check-ups, etc.
- The top feature, as mentioned earlier, is the availability of this platform in 10 Indian languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam
Making it simpler for the farmers
Dr US Awasthi’s blog and Twitter handle dedicated this portal to all the farmers and cooperative societies of the country. According the contract that was signed, Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) will be the ones to accept the orders that come in from farmers for various agri-inputs and other services. Once a significant quantity of orders has been aggregated, the VLEs will be placing the orders on the CSC portal and then remit the payment. This move is slated to further simplify the process of supplying agri-inputs to the farmers, which in turn should also encourage the farmers to use digital technology effectively.
This move is just one more in the line of efforts by IFFCO, under the stewardship of Dr US Awasthi, to empower the Indian farmer. In 2001, consequent to the massive earthquake in Gujarat, IFFCO has also created a charitable trust called the Kisan Sewa Fund (KSF). This fund was later renamed as the “IFFCO KISAN SEWA TRUST (IKST)”. The IKST was established to provide relief and rehabilitation to victims in event of a natural disaster, including earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, cyclones, etc. It also aimed to undertake programmes that worked towards the welfare and critical medical attention needs of the farmers, with numerous projects for improving their quality of life.
The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) is one of India’s biggest cooperative societies and is owned wholly by Indian Cooperatives. IFFCO has always been ahead in technological breakthroughs, and the man who restlessly works towards the adoption of cutting edge technologies at the cooperative is Dr US Awasthi, the MD of IFFCO.