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.

In our cover story, we look at a private sector program that uses the vast nationwide network of the India Post—the state-run postal service  in the country—to deliver relevant information and products to more than 2,500 villages in rural India. Among the services they deliver are futures and spot prices for farmers’ crops, which helps the growers get a better price for their harvest. We also talk to Syuri about their efforts to form farmer cooperatives so apple growers in two states in northern India can become equal investors.

As always, we want to hear from you! If you have any comments, thoughts or feedback, leave a comment on a specific post or get in touch.

The Editorial Team

Contents

Cover Story

India’s state-run postal service reaches 155,000 villages. Find out how one company is using that network to help farmers connect with the market.

Face-to-Face

Beyond Profit speaks to L.P. Semwal, CEO of the Uttarakhand-based Syuri, about the company’s efforts to form farmer cooperatives.

Top 5

We look at five different models that businesses are using to cover the last mile.

Data

The Innovation Capacity Index ranks countries based on their capacity to spark innovation. See how China and other countries rank.

Spotlight

The Honey Bee Network could act as a model for India’s National Innovation Council that was launched last year.

Report Review

A new publication from IFMR says that the revenue opportunity at the rural BoP level is equal to opportunities in urban markets.

Eye On

Vijaya Pastala of Under the Mango Tree talks about the challenges the organization has faced in sourcing organic honey from farmers.



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