e-Krishok: Leading towards ICT enabled market linkage for Farmers
e-Krishok is a highly innovative program linking existing infrastructures and investments into as a network for providing two way business support for Bangladesh's farmers.
Developing from a successful pilot phase in 2008 and with support from and partnerships with Katalyst, Grameenphone, ACI and others e-Krishok has just launched its nationwide scaling up initiative to bring information and other services to rural Bangladesh. However, this is just the beginning. As Minister Md. Faruk Khan, MP, Minister of the Ministry of Commerce said and as was echoed by Mr. Nazrul Islam Khan, PS1 to the Prime Minister and National Project Director, A21/PMO the putting into place of this provides a platform on which to build a means for effective, efficient and transparent service delivery to farmers and communities throughout Bangladesh not only for information but for the products essential to cost-effective and efficient qualitative enhanced farming and perhaps most important to support the development of effective marketing and business development and an enhanced value chain for products produced by Bangladesh's farmers.
e-Krishok is in the process to integrate other ICT channels like mobile based services (SMS, Voice), online consultation and market linkages to connect the wider groups of farmers, traders and bulk buyers.
Building on existing tele-centres and tele-centre networks throughout Bangladesh, e-Krishok provides a means through an open network (open without discrimination to the range of product and service providers) to electronically connect buyers and sellers whether they be for farm products or for farming product inputs. In addition, through the provision of a well-maintained and managed delivery system into rural Bangladesh donors and others will have at their disposal a means for cost-effectively delivery information and related development related activities in such areas as preventive health care, pre-natal education, environmental management and remediation information, small business development and others including through providing electronic supports to local service providers such as agricultural extension, rural health workers and others.
It is the firm intention of the BIID (Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development), the sponsor and organiser of e-Krishok that the platform will evolve in these directions and it is delighted to see that it will find in the most senior ranks of government allies for this vision.
A first step in realising this expanded vision is to develop the model of an e-Krishok as an open network/platform at the conceptual level. Thus BIID with its partner the Centre for Community Informatics Research Development and Training (Canada) are working to frame a strategy paper on this.
Meantime, BIID signed an agreement with Grameen Phone on December 12 to facilitate market linkage between the farmers and buyers including strengthening the value chain.