New York: The Business Call to Action (BCtA), a global initiative aimed at supporting the private sector's efforts to fight poverty, today welcomed Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd's (MCX) initiative to provide as many as 60,000 farmers across India with access to agriculture information that will help them set more fair and timely prices for their crop sales.
Mumbai-based MCX trades in futures contracts of commodities, including agriculture, metals and energy. The company plans to mobilize US $950,000 to set up 50 service centres in various states across India, in a measure that could help to accelerate progress in cutting poverty by empowering subsistence farmers with up to date trading data.
"MCX's initiative is promoting the empowerment of some of India's poorest people, smallholder farmers," said Natalie Africa, BCtA Programme Manager. By providing this group with this critical information and resources they would become successful in business and gain access to critical business linkages.
Rural farmers often lack access to fast-changing market and pricing information, limiting their ability to obtain fair prices for their crops. In addition, many farmers have to deal with middlemen who take advantage of the information gaps. Through these service centres, farmers can access the latest agricultural pricing information, as well as benefit from expert advice and information on crops, and purchase related goods such as seeds and fertilizers.
By narrowing these gaps, MCX, through its commitment to the BCtA, aims to encourage business expertise and empower communities to help broader development efforts, in particular accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals - a set of eight goals designed to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child deaths by 2015.
MCX builds replicable and scalable business models to bring efficient electronic markets to the countryside," said Sarita Bahl, Vice President of MCX's Group Corporate Social Opportunities. "Our aim is to create a sustainable and comprehensive process of rural development."
The first rural service centre was set up in 2006. Since then, MCX has expanded to 24 locations across six states, reaching more than 9,200 farmers.