IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited

Telecommunications is a fast growing arena to transform Indian rural landscape. In the recent years, it has demonstrated its potential to play a vital role in contributing to the empowerment of people living in Indian villages. Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), together with telecom giant Bharti Airtel and Star Global Resources Ltd. has promoted IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited as a joint venture. Airtel is extending its network backbone to IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited and also provide a sustainable income generating business opportunity to Cooperative Societies. In this model, the telecom products of Airtel are made available to farmers and people living in villages through cooperative societies. The same SIM Card which is used for communication, is turned into a powerhouse of knowledge for empowering people living in villages through relevant and pertinent information which is being provided by IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited through Value Added Service (VAS).

IFFCO

IFFCO has always been in the forefront in spreading the benefits of latest in science and technology for the improvement of quality of living in rural India. IFFCO nurtures a strong bond with millions of farmers who are its key stake holders. The extension services are an integral part of the marketing activities which have been the source of farmers trust in the organisation. In addition to a very large number of programmes like field demonstrations, campaigns, soil testing, critical input packages, medical campaigns, village adoption, farmers training programmes, etc., IFFCO has the distinction of floating several institutions with focused programmes targeting rural India like CORDET, IFFCO Foundation, Kisan Sewa Trust and IFFDC. Unique initiatives have also been launched through subsidiaries like free insurance coverage under 'Sankat Haran Bima Yojna' and commodity trading. IFFCO was amongst the first in India to have realised the importance and benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) for the overall development of rural India and has implemented special project under 'ICT Initiatives for Farmers and Cooperatives'.

Communication is a major challenge and is a serious impediment in taking the fruits of ICT to rural parts of the country. Majority of the villages - which form bulk of India, fall abysmally short of access to basic source of quality communication. IFFCO has realised that absence of reliable medium as well as appropriate services of relevance to ride over it have been acting as a major bottleneck. The need of the hour is to take valuable information inputs to farmers - directly to their 'ears' and 'eyes'. Equally important is the ability to scale up these services so that the large rural base is not left out in the process of e-transformation. It is apt to note that many initiatives fall short in replicability on a large scale. Thus, communication, content and scalability are three major concerns in this arena which IFFCO sought to address.

'IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited' is IFFCO's determination to take the above challenges 'Head On'. IFFCO Kisan has been formed with an exclusive mandate to design, develop, source and supply state of the art, economical and rural communications with value additions of content and services. The focus is to take the advantage of latest in technology to address several issues faced by the farmers for simple need for communication, access to input from experts and services of reliable quality. The objective is to empower people living in villages of the country in a sustainable and viable manner. Cooperative Societies form the core of the strategy which is enabled to be a catalyst for promoting these products and services in an economically viable manner.

In order to achieve the objectives cited above, IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited was incorporated on Apr 12, 2007. Initially pilot projects were launched in Eastern UP to test the model. IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited has forged strategic relationships to evolve products in mobile telephony which are tailor made to suit rural requirements. IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited is endeavouring to ensure that the basic need of communication for people living in villages is lowest possible so that they do not feel hampered in their need to 'talk' to their near and dear.