25 August 2007

E-commerce for Filipino Famers and Cooperatives

In the recent WITFOR 2007 conference in Addis Ababa, Edgardo Herbosa of b2bpricenow.com introduced an innovative partnership to bring e-commerce to agriculture in the Philippines.

Through an 'E-commerce for farmers program', ICTs are being used in several ways:

First, an e-marketplace has been established where agricultural commodities can be bought and sold online. Cooperatives - agricultural and other - come together to buy and sell different products.

Second, local 'b2b' (business to business) centers in rural areas that provide local connectivity, business and knowledge services to farming communities. Cooperatives run these as telecenters for their members and other customers.

Third, mobile commerce that uses SMS and cashcards to help cooperatives and farmers move money around.

The model is based on an innovative partnership between b2bpricenow.com and the Land Bank of the Philipppines, a government-backed provider of agricultural credit and rural banking services, and UNISYS, a major IT services company.

The initiative aims to help farmers achieve prosperity by lowering the transaction costs of marketing and trading (primarily by supporting the e-commerce efforts of cooperatives affiliated to the Land Bank) and by getting rural people and farmers into the banking system.

Edgardo introduces the initiative in his own words:


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