New Delhi, May 30 (Agency) The CSC E-Governance India Ltd (CSC SPV) on Sunday announced the launch of an an e-market place or portal for agri services, mainly to help small farmers. The CSC SPV is a special purpose vehicle under the Ministry of Electronics & IT provides host of electronic services to consumers through its common service centres. Through the agri services portal, the farmers will be able to buy seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, cattle feed and other agri-input products. ‘Aimed at empowering small and marginal farmers, who constitute 86 per cent of India’s farming community, the CSC E-Governance India Ltd (CSC SPV) has unveiled a unique Agri Services Portal that will act as a one-stop destination and marketplace for them,’ a CSC SPV statement said.
The portal — www.cscagri.in – will enable small and marginal farmers, who do not have easy access to the digital world, to avail essential agri services with ease and at an affordable cost, it said. ‘Our newly launched portal can be accessed by farmers with support from local CSCs for buying agri-input products, renting and hire of agriculture implements and machinery, soil testing, sale of farm produce, tele-consultations, loan and insurance facility,’ CSC SPV Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Rakesh said in the statement. CSC SPV plans to reach out to 6,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), one in each block of the country, this year. ‘We have already onboarded 1,000 FPOs on this new platform. These FPOs will enrol about 1 crore farmers for availing various services on the portal,” said Rakesh. With the help of Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) who run the CSCs (common service centres) and FPOs, farmers can connect with buyers for selling their produce through Kisan e-Mart, the rural marketing arm of the CSC. CSC SPV currently operates around 3.74 lakh CSCs, 80 per cent of which are functional in rural and semi-urban areas. The MOVR application hosted on the portal will also allow farmers to hire and rent farm machinery to high value equipment at affordable costs, it added. Agriculture tele-consultation with scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendras of ICAR is also being provided to farmers through the portal. Currently, 32,162 CSCs are connected to over 600 Krishi Vigyan Kendras for providing teleconsultations. In the last one year, almost 4 lakh teleconsultations have been conducted.
‘At a time when rural India is hard hit by Covid pandemic, agriculture teleconsultations through technology have come as a boon for farmers. Apart from teleconsultations, soil testing facility will also be provided to farmers through labs being set up at the blocks under the initiative,” said Rakesh. He further said: ‘CSC has always strived to improve the lives of citizens in rural areas through various interventions. We have been providing various services to farmers like teleconsultations, rental of machinery, IFFCO products, trading platform, etc. The agri platform is an effort to consolidate all those services and provide them under one umbrella so that farmers can gain maximum benefit from it.’ He opined that this e-market place for agri services will transform the rural landscape of the country. ‘We also plan to introduce warehousing and cold storage facilities in the future. This will help increase their productivity and income,’ He said. Various government schemes for farmers will also be available through the agri platform, for example Kisan Credit Card, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana and similar schemes. As per reports, only 30 percent of farmers in India borrow from formal sources, while over 50 percent of small and marginal farmers struggle to borrow from any source leading to issues in their production and income. By leveraging technology, the CSC SPV plans to offer loans with better interest rates to these small and marginal farmers. Farmers can visit a CSC and avail Bank loans through this platform, Rakesh added.