Indian co-op giant IFFCO begins deliveries to remote areas from its online services portal

'We plan to convert this platform into a thriving digital marketplace where farmers and co-operative societies can buy and sell their produce online'

Fertiliser co-op giant IFFCO has begun free door-to-door delivery services of its agricultural inputs across India through its digital platform, Indian Cooperative Digital Platform (ICDP).

The portal, which is available in 13 major Indian languages and has a membership of 25 million, was created to bring the benefits of modern e-commerce to rural India by combining IFFCO’s supply chain system with the latest technology tools.

IFFCO says the initiative will offer services to farmers in hinterlands of rural India which are inaccessible to the rest of the country. They will now have access to an entire range of essential agricultural inputs such as water soluble fertilisers, agro-chemicals, bio-fertilisers, seeds, plant growth promoters and other agro-based products.

These products will be available in packages of up to 5kg and will be delivered at no additional cost. As a first of its kind industry-initiative, ICDP will offer these delivery services even in interior rural areas where leading e-commerce players have not operated.

Dr U.S. Awasthi, IFFCO’s managing director, said: “We are truly delighted to announce our latest and exclusive and free of cost door-step delivery services through a robust rural network to simplify the agri-business.

“Farmers would be able to procure agricultural inputs instantly by the click of a button through our digital platform. ICDP has been working in this direction with the aim to enable as many farmers as possible to reap the benefits of digitisation.”

Farmers in remote areas can now receive doorstep deliveries via the new portal

He said the co-op has launched training and awareness-building campaigns to teach farmers to use online and digital payment gateways, and educate them about the benefits of going cashless.

It is hoped this training will help the farmers from remote areas compete with the semi-urban and general urban farmers, who are closer to the markets.

Dr Awasthi added: “We plan to convert this platform into a thriving digital marketplace where farmers and co-operative societies can buy and sell their produce online without going through the vicious cycle of middlemen and touts who eat away a large chunk of their profits.

“We hope this initiative will reap financial benefits for the farmers of the rural hinterlands and eradicate the roadblocks permanently.”

The online portal is in line with prime minister Narendra Modi’s cashless drive and #DigitalIndia initiative, and is part of IFFO’s bid to double farmers’ incomes by the year 2020.

The platform also has also an active Facebook page, which includes case studies within IFFCO and promotes discussions on topics like production, co-operatives, distribution and agricultural best practices.

The page has a following of more than half a million people, most of them farmers, and works alongside IFFCO’s presence on other social media platforms.

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