Every day you hear of more and more great uses of how people use the power of the internet to make their lives better. It creates opportunities in the most unlikely situations.
Let’s give you an example of the oldest traditional business in history – farming.
Now you’re probably thinking reading this post…what has farming got to do with an article about the beauty of the internet? Well it does..but before we go into that, let’s look at the business model of running a farm.
To run a farm you have to pay for machinery such as; tractors and seeders, you have to spend a lot of money to put in the crops, now depending on the size of the farm, you could be talking about thousands of dollars. You have to pay for fertilizer and staff. Then there’s more added expense of chemicals needed to spray for weeds to ensure the farmer ends up with a good crop. So before you know it, there is thousands of expenses already, before they have even earned a cent.
To add to this you are in the hands of the gods as far as the weather is concerned, you need it to rain at the right time and stop at the right time. You need to protect your crop from the harsh weathers – if it is too cold the entire crop will be wiped out. If the weather is slightly off this leaves the farmer with a poor crop and they don’t get paid much, in fact if anything.
The worst thing about running a farm is that at the end of all this, they go an entire year before they even get paid. The farmers don’t even know how much they will get paid till the end of the harvest, they don’t set the price; the market does.
Does this sound like a business you would want to run?
Now here is where I go back to the beauty of the internet…all of the above still exists for most farmers, however in 2014 the company Unified Marketing Platform (UMP), initiated by the Indian government, launched “Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS) which facilitates the interaction between farmers and traders, in the villages of Karnataka.
The farmers in Karnataka have taken their business online. They sell their produce online, browse for quotes from traders and accept the one that suits them best, then they get paid online. The advantage of this is that traders often delay payments, but now thanks to UMP, the payment is almost immediate.
For farmers the middleman has always been a barrier, as they eat up 75% of the final price, leaving very little for the farmers.
Now the UMP has managed to abolish middlemen from the equation altogether. Now the village farmers of Karnataka can view the quotes traders make to them online, and now have the right to reject them if it isn’t reasonable.
About 1.4 Million farmers have been registered with the system.
The relevance of my post is, if these farmers, in such a remote third world environment can make a success of their business through the internet. This goes to show that there are no limits as to what can be achieved using the power of the internet, and THAT’S the beauty of it!
Here is what the Managing Director of the Rashtriya e-Marketing Service (ReMS) said to the Deccan Chronicle Magazine “The success of this new online marketing system has created ripples and will revolutionise the agricultural sector in the country, greatly benefiting poor farmers and other stakeholders in agricultural markets.”
The article about this system can be viewed in full HERE
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