Rural digital empowerment through free digital marketing, MarketMirchi.com is a boon for farmers

Sept. 14, 2021, 6 p.m.

By:Reshma Jain

In an effort to support the Indian farmers, a mission called ‘Mera Mobile Mera Marketing’ was launched to enable farmers to sell products online. The main motto of this mission is to digitally empower farmers, agro-entrepreneurs, self-help groups, farmer producer organisations, artisans to do free online marketing of their products/services using their mobiles.

The social mission ‘Mera Mobile Mera Marketing’ is the brainchild of Pragati Gokhale who is an Advisor at the Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission and a National Resource Person in the Union Ministry of Rural Development. Retired as the Principal Scientist of the Ministry of MSMEs, Gokhale shared that the three pillars of this mission include Marketmirchi.com, creation of back-end linkages and creation of front-end linkages.

Pragati Gokhale’s work ‘MarketMirchi.com’ has become very useful for farmers to reach out to more and more people through their mobile products. Gokhale who has been working tirelessly for the initiative, said that the movement has been instrumental in effectively providing an online market to rural entrepreneurs, farmers, artisans, self-help groups, farmers; producer organizations and other rural stakeholders. Her initiative to change the rural economy has been noticed globally.

While working as a Principal Scientist at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Industrialization, she realized that marketing was a major obstacle to the growth of the rural industrial sector. Rural industries are centred around raw materials, local agricultural income sources and not in close proximity to the market. Naturally, all the benefits of this go to the brokers. She decided to enable rural entrepreneurs for digital marketing using the mobile in their hands.

Pragati Gokhale, a gold medallist, is a software expert who created MarketMirchi.com using her computer knowledge. It is an indigenous, user-friendly and multilingual web portal covering all rural-agricultural products for digital marketing of rural products, agricultural products, rural services and rural employment.

Developed in new progressive web technology, this portal is best suited for rural areas as it does not require download. But it has all the features of a normal app. Importantly, it sends a link to buyers as soon as the ad is posted, so rural sellers and buyers can contact each other directly for free. Since there is no business model like e-Commerce or Trade India, all sellers and buyers can contact each other for free.

For Training to farmers, self-help groups, rural entrepreneurs Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Ltd (MKCL) has developed beautiful Hindi videos for training on how to post their own advertisements as well as how to interact and deal with buyers by making effective use of MarketMirchi.com. Gokhale has created a network of people from all walks of life working in rural agricultural organizations across the country through whom these videos are disseminated to farmers, artisans, women in self-help groups.

What is special is that even during the Corona era, their effective efforts to reach out to rural entrepreneurs through various webinars continue. Nearly twenty thousand rural entrepreneurs and farmers from all over the country are using their mobiles to advertise themselves on MarketMirchi.com and have managed to find a market for themselves through direct marketing.

“IIT Mumbai has also given the technical strength of Artificial Intelligence to this venture. At the request of the National Bamboo Mission, marketing facilities for bamboo and other forest products have also been made available. In particular, Big Basket, Reliance Retail have also taken the initiative to take goods directly from farmers at Marketmirchi.com”, said Gokhale who was honoured with ‘Global Woman of Worth Award’.

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