Give us some insights on the mobile services provided to the farmers and rural communities.
The Rural Distribution Network (RUDI) is an agricultural cooperative business, owned and operated collectively by a group of Self Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA). The business is based on a unique model of procuring agricultural produce from marginal farmers at market prices, adding value to that stock by cleaning and processing it before packaging and selling the products at affordable prices through a network of saleswomen entrepreneurs (Rudibens).
RUDI provides regular updates to farmers on the spot and future prices of markets for their produce which help to take decision on what to produce, where to sell and when to sell. It enables Rudibens to order stock from the field via Rudi Sandesha Vyavhar (RSV) mobile application. The network receives updates from the RUDI such as price changes or marketing schemes in real time and transfers the entire management of the RUDI business from a paper based system to one that would be based on an electronic back-end.
How have these services helped the rural communities?
The RSV not only strengthens the business opportunities but also improves household nutrition and food security. It provides accurate timely information to farmers. RUDI provides the Rudibens with an affordable, simple-to-use, easily accessible mobile tool, which enables them to place orders for new stock, keep track of their inventory and sales, and even run credit outstanding reports on their customers – all using just their basic feature phones.
The RSV mobile application has freed up significant time that the Rudibens would earlier spend on travelling long distances to place orders, collect stock etc. This has led to a much more focused sales effort, resulting in RUDI women’s incomes doubling/tripling within a year of the introduction of RSV. The app has allowed Rudibens to become more familiar with the broad ranging impact of mobile phones, beyond just making calls.
Farmers are also benefitting by selling more produce to RUDI to meet the increasing demand.
Currently how many people are getting benefited through such services?
About 15,000 farmers, 2,500 processors and 3,000 Rudibens are getting benefitted though the RSV services.
To avail the services, how much a subscriber has to shell out?
The application is free of cost and to use the services a subscriber has to pay about Rs 34 per month.
Do you have partnership with any telecom service provider?
Vodafone Foundation has supported in development and initial implementation of the RSV, however, Rudibens are paying for the services they are using.
Do you think the farmers and rural people are tech-savvy to get benefit from your services?
Yes, through usage of RSV technology, the entire supply chain is getting benefits at various levels.
Do you plan to expand outside Gujarat?
Yes, RUDI is planning to expand its operations and setup RUDI network in Rajasthan, Bihar, Assam and Meghalaya this year.