Dear Moderator and members in FSN Forum,
Cooperative and Digital Divides in Nepal’s Rural Communities
Evidence shows that some farmers take advantage of digital technology through cooperative. Many Nepalese commercial vegetable farmers have formed cooperative. Some cooperative representatives live in Kathmandu and sell the products sent by farmers from countryside. They also sent instant market price information to farmers on mobile. Based on the information farmers decide whether to harvest their vegetable on the day or wait for a few days. The information also helps them whether sell the product to local brokers or send to Kathmandu. Some farmers used mobile to call cooperative manager and ask availability of fertilizers. Greater number of farmers depends on radio based information of market prices. Some of cooperatives representative put some information in internet and access to members only. Internet based information are used only by brokers and a few rich commercial farmers.
Some farmers do not want to be members in cooperative. When the agricultural inputs are shortage in the market the cooperative often do not sale the inputs to non-members. These evidences indicate there is cooperative as well as digital divide in farming communities. A good extension and training supports to farmers would reduce the digital technology divide and help to utilised potential benefits of cooperative and digital technologies. It is interesting that the people managing extension division and field workers know little about the problem of digital divide and areas for interventions.
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Related links and resources:
FAO's website on cooperatives and producers organisations
World Food Day
Good practices in building innovative rural institutions to increase food security
Agricultural cooperatives: paving the way for food security and rural development (Brochure)
My.Coop - Managing your agricultural cooperatives
The Group Promoter's Resource Book
The Group Enterprise Resource Book
The Group Savings Resource Book
The Inter-Group Association Resource Book
New Strategies for Mobilizing Capital in Agricultural Cooperatives
Computerizing Agricultural Cooperatives: Practical Guidelines
Cooperatives: Has their Time Come or Gone?
Agricultural cooperative development - A manual for trainers
Capital Formation in Kenyan Farmer-owned Cooperatives: a case study