Bringing women farmers and their produce online

Imagine a scenario where you can log in to an online platform to buy produce or products directly from farmers and entrepreneurs — specifically women. ‘I Got Crops’, an initiative being launched on Thursday, aims to make this a reality.

A joint project of mid-tier IT services firm Mindtree and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it is being touted as a “group of apps” that will help bring 18,000 women farmers and entrepreneurs in Karnataka to the fore, enabling them to connect with potential consumers via an online marketplace instead of going through regular channels.

Deepthi Kamath, co-founder of I Got Crops, told The Hindu that the team was trying to mobilise enterprise groups to get them to work at an aggregator level. At the first level, women who have been active in their own space, such as those who are already involved in self-help groups (SHGs), will be registered to lead a group of 100 to 150 farmers or artisans. They will be engaged on an offline app available in Kannada.

“For example, there are a group of women farmers in Kanakpura who predominantly grow organic millets. They have set up an enterprise that sells millet flour or other products made out of millet. The crux of it is to create market linkages and a P2C (producers to consumers) model,” she said, and added that Mindtree was developing the online platform.

The initiative is being launched at a time when Karnataka has seen consecutive years of drought, leaving the agricultural sector in distress. This is why the team has also included interventions in water conservation, change of crops (shifting to less water-intensive crops in drought-hit regions) and multi-cropping too. The UNDP will be helping with the capacity building.

Though agriculture is mistaken to be a male-dominated sphere, the I Got Crops team sees it differently. “Whenever we go to the field, we see women of the household working as labourers. Some of them are setting up SHGs, and mainly they are the ones saving money in the house. By getting them to set some time aside and training them, we hope that they get much more respect in the house, even if they are not considered on a par with their partners,” said Ms. Kamath.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 9:36:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bringing-women-farmers-and-their-produce-online/article19548103.ece

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