The ITC e-Choupal initiative is a powerful illustration of a unique and innovative model that delivers significant societal value by co-creating rural markets with local communities. A network of village internet kiosks - e-Choupals - enable even small and marginal farmers in rural India, who are de-linked from the formal market, to access real-time weather and price information, and relevant knowledge and services to enhance farm productivity, quality and command better prices - improving their competitiveness and capacity to manage risk.
Complementing this digital infrastructure is Choupal Pradarshan Khet - customised agri-extension services, demonstration plots and training programmes that promote best practices and assist farmers to diversify crop portfolios.
The ITC e-Choupal initiative has emerged as an efficient two-way channel for a variety of goods and services, raising farm incomes and making farming more profitable. The Company leverages the e-Choupal platform to support holistic development of rural communities in and around e-Choupal catchments through a number of initiatives - dairy management, agarbatti manufacturing and skills development - aimed at stimulating non-farm incomes and creating sustainable livelihood opportunities. This endeavour also includes the Swasthya Choupal initiative that focuses on enhancing awareness on maternal and child care through a network of Village Health Champions.
Launched in 2000, ITC e-Choupal is today the largest initiative among Internet-based interventions in rural India. Its services reach out to more than 4 million farmers in over 40000 villages through 6500 kiosks spread across 10 states. ITC e-Choupal's achievements have been well documented as case studies in premier institutions like the Harvard Business School, references in World Bank reports and in eminent publications like The Economist.