Archive for E-Magazine Issue 15

Lessons from the Last Mile

Dear Reader,

Earlier this year, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) released its 2011 Rural Poverty Report. IFAD reports that more than two-thirds of the world’s 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty reside in rural areas. What’s more is that 55% of the population—3.1 billion people—in the developing world live in rural areas.

While the fact that the rural populations need to be reached, the question is how. Many companies have tried—and many have failed—at reaching the billions of rural villages throughout the world. In this issue we examine ways business is overcoming the last mile barrier, and the lessons we can learn. » Continue reading “Lessons from the Last Mile”

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This story originally appeared in our April 7, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Getting products and services into the hands of rural villagers has been a challenge. We look at two models with promising solutions.

Each day the mail arrives in more than 155,000 branch post offices throughout India. In more than 450 of those branch, information about commodity futures and spot prices also arrives.

The sender, the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited (MCX), is the sixth largest commodity exchange in the world, and with 80% marketshare, the largest in the country. In addition to the exchange, MCX also distributes information on futures—to the very last mile.

As part of their Corporate Social Opportunity (CSO) Group, in 2006 MCX started Gramin Suvidha Kendra (GSK), a private-public partnership with India Post—the national postal service—that brings futures information to Indian farmers in six states. A year after the program started, MCX realized it could do more. In 2007, the company expanded its offerings and now sells seeds, water purifiers, micronutrients and solar lanterns to farmers. » Continue reading “NETWORKING TO BRIDGE THE LAST MILE”

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Cooperative for Sustainable Development

This story originally appeared in our April 7, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

L.P. Semwal, CEO of the Uttarakhand-based Syuri, discusses empowering apple farmers by building a cooperative.

What does Syuri do?

Syuri Nogaon Fruits Collection Private Ltd’s vision and mission is to encourage farmers to join a collective in order to form a joint venture private limited company with a business partner. Through [the collective], they can process and sell their produce jointly at better prices. The goal of the project is to facilitate a process of empowerment among small-scales apple farmers in order to promote sustainable socio-economic development through promotion of a value-addition business chain, owned and led by farmers themselves. » Continue reading “Cooperative for Sustainable Development”

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The Models that Work

This story originally appeared in our April 7, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Reaching the rural poor has always been a challenge. We look at five models that work.

1. Hub and Spoke

This is one of the most common business models employed by rural businesses. A company will set up a hub or center in a city or larger village. From that point, employees travel to the more rural areas to sell or provide services. Many microfinance institutions (MFIs) function on this model. Field officers leave the branch office in the morning to travel to villages to collect the payments. » Continue reading “The Models that Work”

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Data: Lessons from the Last Mile

This story originally appeared in our April 7, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

By the Numbers

China’s growth has been cited as an example for other emerging economies to learn from. Beyond Profit looks at China’s scores in the latest Innovation Capacity Index (ICI) figures that covers 131 countries.


China’s ranking in the 2010-2011 ICI, the same as Greece but lower than Singapore, which ranked third. » Continue reading “Data: Lessons from the Last Mile”

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Harvesting Rural Knowledge

This story originally appeared in our April 7, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

2010-2020 has been declared the decade of innovation, and the National Innovation Council has been established to pursue that objective. The Honey Bee Network is one model already working on sparking innovation among the rural poor.

The Indian National Innovation Council (NInC) was founded in 2010 and held its first meeting in September 2010. At that meeting, the NInC decided to set up a US$1 billion (INR 44 billion) fund to support innovations that affect the bottom of the pyramid (BoP). Another fund will be set up to address national challenges.

One such challenge is the lack of connection between panchayats, the village-level legislative body that is the first rung of India’s democracy. Over the next two years, the NInC will create a multi-lingual portal using broadband internet connectivity that aims to connect all 2,500,000 panchayats. The content on the network will include information support for employees, education health, feedback on public services, computer-based literacy tests and e-libraries. » Continue reading “Harvesting Rural Knowledge”

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Rural Distribution Models

This story originally appeared in our April 7, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Rural distribution at the Bottom of Pyramid (BoP) level is challenging, but a new IFMR report analyzes different distribution channels and their potential.

At least 400 million people in India earn US$1 (INR 45) per day. Of the country’s 1.2 billion population, only 50 million people earn more than US$5 per day. However, according to a 2011 publication by the Centre for Development Finance at IFMR called The Base of the Pyramid Distribution Challenge, the year 2020 will bring a host of income distribution changes. By then, the number of people earning US$1 a day will decrease to 250 million and approximately 150 million will have a daily income over US$5. Sachin Shukla and Sreyamsa Bairiganjan, authors of the new publication, note that the revenue opportunity at the rural BoP level is on par with opportunities in urban markets. » Continue reading “Rural Distribution Models”

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Improving the Source

This story originally appeared in our April 7, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Under the Mango Tree teaches small and marginal farmers to harvest honey and creates a market linkage for their yield.

By Vijaya Pastala

Under The Mango Tree (UTMT) is a social enterprise that creates market access for poor primary producers while simultaneously increasing their agricultural productivity through assisting them with the adoption of sustainable and fair-trade farming practices.

To strengthen farming livelihoods we equip and train farmers to add beekeeping to their basket of activities. Beekeeping is the only form of agriculture input that has an overwhelming positive impact on agriculture yields and farming incomes. Our bees for poverty reduction program has resulted in improved income by 40% through the sale of honey and increased agricultural productivity by more than 25% through increased bee pollination. » Continue reading “Improving the Source”

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