About Gramin Suvidha Kendra – MCX
There is no denying that the agriculture value chain in India is fraught with complexities. Among the several shortcomings that plague this sector, a few that need immediate attention is the information asymmetry (especially prices), lack of knowledge transfer (agri extension), spurious inputs, lack of storage facilities, and high number of intermediaries that add on to subsequent margins without adding any value to the produce.
Gramin Suvidha Kendra (GSK) is a unique Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) and Indian Postal Department to empower Indian farmers and cater to their need for market information, warehousing, crop advisory, and genuine agriculture inputs. The initiative leverages the 155000 strong office network of India Post and the robust ICT infrastructure developed by MCX to aid price discovery of farm commodities, besides, catering to the marketing, warehousing and crop advisory requirements of farmers. To facilitate the GSK initiative, MCX supplies the right infrastructure in form of computer terminals, Internet access, printers, scanners, fax, webcam and price ticker, which are installed at the village post offices. Further, with a view to reach out to the farmers, a local youth works as a GSK coordinator for each center. Besides, the brand post office head also helps in reaching out to farmers.
Currently, Gramin Suvidha Kendras provide services from over 17 locations in five States. GSK connect 1886 villages through 238 branch post offices. Farmers can pay a one-time registration fee of INR 30 and they can pay INR 5 for each query on issues like weather patterns, pest management, and use of fertilizers. The blackboards and printouts contain information about local spot prices, all-India spot prices, and futures prices on existing contracts.
The partnership between MCX and India Post has demonstrated the following partnership phases:
- Scoping and Identifying: MCX understood that the challenge was to provide crop prices information as well as agri inputs & non agri inputs to small and marginal farmers all over India and during the scoping exercise India Post emerged as the only organisation with the wherewithal to manage the project.
- Building and Institutionalizing the Partnership: the partnership began with the signing of the MoU in 2006. MCX engaged with top India Post officials so that the partnership between the entities is institutionalized rather than remain individualized. Both the partners build working relationship by agreeing with the goals and objectives of the project.
- Planning and Managing the Partnership: During this phase, both the partners planned and managed the project activities so that the information regarding crop prices were provided to the small and marginal farmers all overIndia.
- Resourcing and Implementing: Clear roles were decided among both MCX, which was the resourcing partner while India Post was the implementing partner.
- Measuring and Reviewing: the partnership between MCX and India Post has been measured and reported on impact and effectiveness Presently, GSK operates over 17 locations in 5 States, connecting 1886 villages through 238 branch post offices.
- Revising: In the coming months both MCX and India Post is planning to increase the locations and reach to cover other districts. Also the partners are planning to provide lot more inputs to the farmers apart from crop prices.
- Sustaining the Partnership: The GSK project has grown over a period of time; the money received from farmers in return of the information has been ploughed back into sustaining the project.
Gramin Suvidha Kendra is not just a partnership between MCX and India Post. There are several other stakeholders in the process that aid farmers tackle the key deficiencies in agriculture value chain. [See Fig.]
Gramin Suvidha Kendra – Partnerships
Partnership with Forwards Market Commission and NABARD: Government bodies like Forwards Market Commission and NABARD has been an active partners in MCX’s endeavour to make futures market prices available right to the bottom of pyramid through the GSK project. By funding and partnering in the various farmer awareness programs they have ensured that every single farmer in the target villages is benefitted by the GSK service offerings.
Partnership with Agri input companies: In order to tackle the spurious inputs problem being faced by farmers, GSK has partnered with 9 agri input partners providing a wide range of options to chose for a GSK farmer.
In the end, MCX’s endeavor for a unified Indian commodity market driven by market forces and with a level playing field for all stakeholders by using modern technology was awarded the coveted Businessworld FICCI CSR Award for Innovation promoting CSR for the year 2009-2010.
Businessworld FICCI CSR Award
Businessworld FICCI CSR Award is India’s most prestigious award in the domain of CSR; instituted by FICCI and Businessworld in the year 1999, almost a decade ago, before CSR became a buzzword. Since, FICCI recognized that CSR would play an increasingly important role in the coming years and the need to promote the concept of strategic CSR amongst India corporate organisations is imperative. The award recognizes and honors companies for their outstanding efforts in integrating and internalizing CSR into their core business operations.
Today, the award is recognized as the benchmark that acknowledges the most socially responsible Indian corporate. Through the 12th edition of the Businessworld FICCI CSR Award 2011-2012, we once again aim at identifying and recognizing efforts of companies in integrating and internalizing CSR into their core business operations. Companies interested to apply for the award can download the application kit from the websites www.ficci.com / www.csrcfe.org or for further information on the award can contact FICCI CSR at email@example.com or +91 11 23487475 /23357243 /23753118.