As Far As The Coconut Goes

SourceTrace Systems has signed up with the Palakkad Coconut Producers Company (PCPCL), an entity based in the southern state of Kerala, India, which is engaged in procuring coconuts, tender coconuts, Neera (unfermented coconut sap), palm sugar and other produce from the coconut farmers. PCPCL resells this raw or value added produce through its retail outlets. Currently there are 18 outlets and the number is continuously expanding.

One of the recent issues raised at PCPCL is that while the prices of other food commodities like table salt or cereals have gone up, the price of coconut has stagnated at around Rs. 5 per piece for over two decades. PCPCL says that it is not because the world forgot the coconut – rather, because its production, sale and value addition have not undergone organization and modernization that matches today’s scenario. Only when it does will it achieve a sustainable scale of economy. And only then can PCPCL fulfill its mission of ensuring just prices and returns for an average coconut farmer.

A coconut farmer is typically a representative of the population of Kerala and there are an estimated 600,000 of them. At present, the so called organization of coconut farmers is limited to being grouped into Coconut Producing Societies (CPSs) comprising 40 to 100 farmers, and further into Coconut Producing Federations (CPFs) with 8 to 10 CPSs in a gram panchayat (cluster of villages). For these farmers to reap the benefits of their labor, the entire operations need to become more efficient and transparent, through optimal resource use, timely sales and by avoiding wastage. Signing up with SourceTrace Systems is a first steps towards modernizing its operations.

Towards this, SourceTrace deployed the ESE™ Agrisolution and Retail Solution. The first step is by digitizing the billing process in its retail outlets by making the sale on the mobile application. The sale information is received at the central office at near real time, thus making the sales transparent and efficient. As the transactions are carried out through Android mobile device, the data is transferred to the ESE server in real time. If there is no Internet connection available at transaction time, it will be done in offline mode and uploaded to the ESE Server as soon as Internet network connection is restored. The Web application is available to manage staff, devices and stock updates. Also, transactional and operational data is stored permanently in the ESE server and it is available for generation of analytical reports. Based on the data collected, real-time dashboards with graphical representation are also available.

This way, the operations are always visible, transparent and tracked in real-time, providing valuable and timely information at hand for the decision makers for any decision from pricing to field level interventions. The fall-out of such efficiency and vision would hopefully percolate to the humble coconut farmer.