The E-Choupal Initiative
18 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010
An international corporation's agricultural business division reviews its seven-year-old IT initiative among rural Indian farmers. Suitable for learners at all levels, the case is ideal for modules on strategic change, transformational change in a value chain, and development at the bottom of the pyramid. It also provides excellent insight into how corporations can improve both profits and lifestyles in developing nations while bolstering their worldwide competitiveness. The e-Choupal initiative provides Internet access to connect and unite farmers by teaching them more efficient farming methods and wholesaler accountability strategies. Should the company expand the initiative throughout the country? Given India's size and the various challenges involved, expansion would not be an easy task.
June 6, 2009
THE E-CHOUPAL INITIATIVE
“What is needed is a better approach to help the poor, an approach that involves partnering with them to innovate and achieve sustainable win-win scenarios where the poor are actively engaged and, at the same time, the companies providing products and services to them are profitable.”
—C. K. Prahalad, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid
In 2007, S. Sivakumar could look back on 18 years as chief executive of ITC International's Agriculture Business Division with satisfaction and one major point of pride: the e-Choupal initiative that he helped launch in 2000. This initiative had strengthened ITC's international competitiveness by streamlining its supply chain management and, perhaps most gratifying to Sivakumar, had improved the lives of many Indian farmers and made their operations more efficient. Sivakumar sat in his office in Secunderabad, in the Hyderabad province of India, pondering the successes of the initiative. He also thought about the bigger and more difficult challenge that lay ahead: expanding the e-Choupal initiative throughoutthe country.
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Keywords: business ethics, stakeholder management, India, agriculture, strategy, corporate, leadership, bottom of the pyramid, transformational change, value chain
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The E-Choupal Initiative
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