Infosys Empowers Indian farmers
Supply chain solution to integrate individual farmers to retail outlets
Bangalore, India - February 26, 2008: Infosys Technologies has partnered with ACDI/VOCA, a non-profit international development organization that promotes broad-based economic growth, to develop an information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled application that would improve efficiencies in the agro supply chain in India. The solution successfully minimizes inventory requirements, reduces waste and allows retailers and farmers to be better integrated.
This application falls under ACDI/VOCA's Growth-Oriented Microenterprise Development Program (GMED), which is a $6.3 million, USAID-funded initiative. GMED is an innovative program that develops sustainable and scalable approaches to job creation by fostering the growth of micro and small enterprises.
Commenting on the application, Binod H.R., Sr. VP & Head - India Business Unit, Infosys Technologies Ltd. said, "Maintaining on-time, programmed delivery of fresh produce from a large and scattered production base is a complex and critical operation. This solution gives the organized retail sector access to a reliable small holder production base. It thereby decreases farm-to-market losses, currently estimated at 30% to 40% on certain products."
The application tackles supply chain management from profiling of farmer clusters to crop planning, scheduling, tracking and forecasting. The application allows farmers to access technical information including database searches for data and images, access to region-specific weather updates and market information, i.e., daily sales volumes and average prices.
The application can handle several thousand concurrent users and yet ensures that data is secure through data-encryption mechanisms. There are 1,700 small holder farmers currently integrated into organized retail supply chains through this application, thereby bridging the urban-rural agricultural divide. Over the next five to eight years, the usage is expected to increase to a million farmers.
Speaking on the benefits of the solution, ACDI/VOCA's GMED Chief of Party, Don Taylor, said, "The system is accessible across GPRS and CDMA devices, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the field force. It ensures that there is no loss of data if connectivity or power is lost. The application also gives farmers real-time access to agricultural experts, thereby improving farming technology at an overall level. This technology intervention in the agricultural sector in India will reduce rural poverty in the long run."
Infosys has built the solution consisting of wireless software applications that are accessible on handheld devices, enabling agents to address information gaps constraining vegetable and fruit farmers and enabling other supply chain participants to monitor and control the back-end and front-end supply chain functions. The application also enables wholesaler/retailer or other intermediaries to optimize cost by allowing large procurement, efficient transportation management and enabling intelligent crop production management.
The solution is built on Infosys TruSync, a context-aware, client-server solution that is designed for situations with limited or no network availability and allows for peer-to-peer (p2p) synchronization between field agents without connecting to a central server.