A WINNING MOMENT

SourceTrace Systems has won the 2015 [app] design awards ASIA for its application Empowering farmers through digitization of farmer information under the category “Best expanded service or application”. This is an award conferred to mobile, web and other such technological applications that address development challenges on the ground. This is a joint entry submitted to competition by VAPCOL (Vasundhara Agri-Horti Producer Company) and SourceTrace Systems India Pvt.Ltd. The trophy presentation event will be held in Hong Kong and Singapore on 18th and 20th of August respectively.

Sustainable development programmes targeted at farmers have succeeded to a great extent in breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, starvation and migration. Yet, what this winning entry demonstrates is that it is often a seemingly small change on the ground that produces a significant and long standing cumulative impact. And this one is set among the cashew plantations of Navsari in south Gujarat, India, where an organization VAPCOL is supporting cashew and mango farming. The farmers, many of them from the tribal communities, sell their produce to local cooperatives. At these collection centres, each farmer’s produce is graded and weighed. Then the bill for collection of payment is prepared, for which the farmer needs to go to the cooperative office. Despite the cumbersome procedure, at least a fair price was guaranteed.

Sitaram Gangaram Birar is one such farmer, who regularly sold his produce to the Dixal cooperative nearby. It’s always a long queue and an exhausting wait at the collection centre, as anyone who stands in queue for most of the day will know. Such a time consuming and tiring wait had become the reason why many of his fellow farmers began to be lured by local traders and middlemen. These middlemen offered quick money, but they would exploit the farmers by under-weighment and low prices.

When VAPCOL finally came into talks with SourceTrace Systems, they decided to deploy the application called ESE Agrisolution, for which financial support was provided by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) as part of its Umbrella Programme for Natural Resource Management (UPNRM).

As a provider of customized application software solutions, SourceTrace replaced the old billing machines and thermal printers by Android smart phones and Bluetooth printers. Apart from speeding up the billing process, the ESE Agrisolution is also used by field staff to capture all transactions at field level – in hilly and remote terrains as well. It now holds a database of 1300 farmer profiles. By testing this first at the Dixal cooperative, the rest of the cooperatives also came under its coverage. Its head Jignesh Patel says that each transaction now takes less than a minute – gone are the days of those serpentine queues, and far less is the temptation to sell their produce to middlemen. A simple matter of saving time and effort of hundreds of farmers became possible through the use of such a back-end web and mobile technology-based application.

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