Government of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday launched e-Rythu, a mobile platform that digitises agriculture marketplaces, payments, workflows, and provides farmers an easy and secure way to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural products via their feature phones.
E-Rythu, which means ‘e-farmer’ in Telugu, will help small farmers looking to sell their produce to connect with the right buyers more efficiently in local language and receive the best possible prices. The platform has been developed by Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, Kenya and customised for India by the Labs team based at Pune, said the company in a statement.
Due to long travel distance to the places where they sell, most of the small and medium farmers in the state lose income. As these farmers also do not have a formal credit history, it is difficult for them to access any formal financial services. The State government has plans to reach out to one million horticulture and agriculture farmers and over 300 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) in the state through this platform.
The project kicked off with one large buyer, Lawrencedale Agro Processing India Ltd (LEAF), and four FPOs, LEAF Lambasinghi Horticulture Farmers Producers Co-operative Society Limited, Visakhapatnam, Chicacole Coconut Farmers Producer Company, Srikakulam, Giri Chaitanya Farming and Marketing Mutually Aided Cooperative Society Ltd, Visakhapatnam and Andhra Kashmir Farmers Producer Organization (Grijana Vikas Foundation), Visakhapatnam.
At the launch, Chiranjiv Choudhary, Commissioner of Horticulture, Andhra Pradesh, said, “It is time that we leverage innovation in technology to address the challenges present in state’s horticulture sector. Our partnership with Mastercard to introduce e-Rythu will make horticulture markets more transparent for sellers, buyers, and other stakeholders, and pave the way for financial inclusion of millions of small and medium farmers in the state.”
Porush Singh, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard said, “Mastercard is glad to extend partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to introduce e-Rythu, a digital solution that will help farmers deal with the challenges of receiving optimum price for their produce and gaining access to the marketplace. We are confident that the use of digital solutions can potentially transform the lives of millions of farmers in India by providing them financial access, transparency and inclusion.”