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Re: Enabling rural cooperatives and producer organizations to thrive as sustainable business enterprises

31.07.2012
Bhubaneswor

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.

Thank you.
Bhubaneswor Dhakal