Chutney spam proves sweet for tele-centre

A PC and internet connection helped chutney makers gain customers

In a small economy such as Fiji’s, a “build it and they will come” attitude to ICT facilities for the general population is too risky and expensive, Abel Caine, of Fijian government-associated provider ITC services told last month’s Pasifika ICT conference, held in Wellington.

Neighbourhood tele-centres offering ICT facilities only work if the need and opportunities for their use are evaluated first, he says. Government information and transaction services can provide useful base-work for such tele-centres, but new initiatives have been found, too. Notable among such has been one involving rural women’s groups.

With a downturn in Fiji’s staple industry, sugar, and the consequent decline in the industry’s requirement for workers, many rural people have lost a major income stream.

In addition, some ethnically Indian tenants have been displaced from their land.

To combat this, a rural women’s group in the village of Navuia has been using traditional culinary skills to make condiments, particularly chutneys, for sale in the local market.

Provision of a PC and internet connection, together with basic word processing, database and mail-merge software, and appropriate training, has allowed the group to greatly enlarge its customer base.

Caine acknowledges that the initial sales boost here, through HTML-enhanced advertising mail to civil servants, was, effectively, spamming. But, it brought in a large group of customers, with a satisfyingly broad range of ethnic origins and tastes, which boosted sales.

The “e-chutney” project threatened to become too successful in its early days. It generated so much work it led to an urgent search for a new supplier of bottles.

The range of products has since been increased and the trade is making a

significant contribution to reducing poverty in the area.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spamfijie-chutneytelecentre

More about ITCProvision

Show Comments
[]