What is an e-Choupal ? How is it useful to farmers?
An e-Choupal (External website that opens in a new window) is a service offered to farmers by ITC to help them work their way around market intermediaries and weak infrastructure. It is basically a computer with internet facility that allows users to access the e-Choupal website run by ITC. A local farmer acting as a coordinator or 'Sanchalak' runs this amenity. He receives a small commission from farmers who wish to use this facility. A local commission agent or 'Samyojak' assists the Sanchalak by providing logistical support.Farmers use the computer to access daily closing prices of local mandis, international prices as well as details about new farming techniques. The computer at the e-Choupal may also be utilized for ordering seed, fertilizers and other products from ITC or its partners at discounted prices. During the harvest season, ITC proposes to buy the crop directly from farmers at the previous day's closing price. If the farmers agree, their crop is transported to an ITC processing centre, where it is weighed, assessed and paid for. Farmers who sell through e-Choupals usually receive a higher price for their produce than those who use the traditional mandi system.
How do I reduce financial risk to my farm from natural disasters like floods or drought?
The simplest way to reduce the risk of floods or drought for farmers is to take out a crop insurance policy. In India, the Agriculture Insurance Company of India (External website that opens in a new window) (AIC) is exclusively responsible for implementing the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (External website that opens in a new window) or NAIS. The NAIS Scheme covers all farmers including sharecroppers and tenant farmers growing notified crops in notified areas from risk such as natural fire, lightning, storms, cyclones, floods, landslides, droughts, pests and diseases. Three levels of indemnity, viz., 90, 80and 60 per cent corresponding to Low Risk, Medium Risk and High Risk areas shall be available for all crops (cereals, millets, pulses and oilseeds and annual commercial / annual horticultural crops) based on Coefficient of Variation (C.V.) in yield of past 10 years' data.
AIC has other crop insurance schemes such as Varsha Bima (External website that opens in a new window), Sukha Suraksha Kavach (External website that opens in a new window) and Coffee Insurance (External website that opens in a new window). This company is also involved in creating and implementing more insurance schemes in agriculture and related fields.
Where do I find the latest agricultural machinery?
Farm machines and equipment (External website that opens in a new window) play a pivotal role in crop production, harvesting, transportation, processing and preservation. In 1955, the government established the 'Agricultural Machinery Utilization Training Centre' at Budni, Madhya Pradesh to promote the use of machinery in agriculture. This centre was later renamed the 'Central Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute (External website that opens in a new window)'.This institute is involved in testing the latest imported farm machinery and training farmers on their proper use, maintenance and up-keep.
This institute is involved in testing the latest imported farm machinery and training farmers on their proper use, maintenance and upkeep. This institute has acquired international standards in the field of farm machinery training and testing. It is equipped with demonstration-cum-training laboratories for tractors, engines, irrigation pumps, tractor hydraulics, tractor electrical, improved bullock drawn implements and the like. The institute also consists of a museum of tractors, farm machinery and equipment.
Where can I purchase fertilizers and pesticides? How do I select the right ones?
Fertilizers and Pesticides may be purchased through different outlets such as:
The manufacturers own depots
Marketers, wholesalers and retail dealers
Service Centres of State agro industries, corporations and State commodity federations and agricultural extension centres
Village level cooperative societies of State Cooperative Marketing Federations and PACS (Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies)
Farmer Service centres of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India or NAFED and Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited or IFFCO
What is the difference between ISI Mark and Agmark?
In 1947, the Central Government founded the Indian Standard Institute or ISI. Its main purpose was to maintain and standardize the quality of different products. In 1986, the ISI was renamed as the Bureau of Indian Standards (External website that opens in a new window) or BIS. This bureau certifies products for domestic consumer consumption with an 'ISI' mark. BIS has a list of products that affect the health and safety of consumers or are products of mass consumption. These products include items such as packaged water, milk powder, vegetable oils, cement, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders and food colouring. Indian importers and foreign manufacturers of such products are also permitted to use an ISI mark provided their product passes the certification test. View list of Indian standards under mandatory certification (External website that opens in a new window).
Only agricultural products may apply for the 'Agmark' certification. The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (External website that opens in a new window) gives this mark to products that pass the grading and certification tests. Agmark is used for agri products that need to be exported as well as for domestic trade. There are varied grading standards for different agricultural commodities like wheat, paddy, pulses, cereals, vegetable oils, fruits, vegetables, noodles, fibre crops, animal products and spices. Products that are certified with an ISI Mark or an Agmark are considered to be of a good quality and standard. More details on grading standards (External website that opens in a new window).