Small farmers in India's rural farmlands may soon join India's thriving, mainstream economy, with the recent announcement that 50 rural service centers are to be set up by the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX). The official press release states that 60,000 small farmers are to go from being "producers to informed marketers who trade their products on the MCX platform."
The new initiative was spearheaded under the Business Call to Action, a multi-stakeholder platform that encourages businesses to adopt measures that simultaneously promote development and business goals.
"This is an excellent demonstration of the innovation that Indian companies can bring to help create inclusive growth domestically, and another example for businesses operating in any market of how inclusive business models can have development impact and create commercial success," said Acting CEO of IBLF, Graham Baxter.
Several players, such as e-Choupal, have tried to link India's agrarian workers with the formal economy by increasing information access and availability. MCX plans to make relevant information on pests, weather, and diseases infestation available to the farmers so they can trade their products fairly.
The initial idea for the rural service centers was forged in 2006 under an alliance between MCX and the India post titled Gramin Suvidha Kendra (GSK). The expansion of 50 additional centers will further the goals of the GSK: "bringing open markets to the doorsteps of farmers, thereby offering them a basket of services and providing the much needed market linkages."
[Photos by Jenara Nerenberg]