The ICT arm of Sri Lanka’s largest community-based organization, Sarvodaya, launched its FarmerNet initiative last month. They have been kind enough to mention that the initiative had been triggered by a LIRNEasia presentation at a National Telecenter Alliance event. As an organization committed to catalysis, we are gratified. And we wish them well.
The premise of the initiative is to create an efficient marketplace, using information technology to reduce transaction costs. The buyers and sellers can exchange information about produce efficiently while bypassing middlemen. FarmerNet is a culmination of a journey that started by Sarvodaya- Fusion in 2006 with the partnership of volunteers, industry experts, and NGOs. A brief time line:
* 2006 – Fusion set up Agri-clinic project, as part of the Village Information Centre (VIC) initiative. Initial feedback suggested farmers were overwhelmed by the complexity of using available IT systems.
* 2007 – Potential of a mobile based solution was first surfaced at a presentation by LIRNEasia at National Telecentre Alliance conference.