CASE

Linking Local Producers to Local Consumers: India’s Rural Urban Distribution Initiative (RUDI)

First Submitted By Institute of Development Studies

Most Recent Changes By Scott Fletcher

Location
India
Scope of Influence
National
Links
https://www.eldis.org/keyissues/mapping-participation-economic-advancement
Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zX5dFEhbN0
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Deliver goods & services
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Approach
Co-production in form of partnership and/or contract with private organisations
Civil society building
Social mobilization
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Type of Organizer/Manager
Non-Governmental Organization
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

The Rural Urban Distribution Initiative was started in 2004 by the Self Employed Women’s Association and has since created a local exchange network owned by small-scale farmers and workers.

Problems and Purpose

The Rural Urban Distribution Initiative (RUDI) was established up in 2004 by the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) to generate funds for rural producers. [1] The RUDI Multi Trading Company Limited began in 2007 and has developed into an integrated value chain to improve agricultural efficiency and reduce hardships experienced by small producers by creating employment opportunities and reduction of expenses for small scale producers.[2]

Background History and Context

Linking local producers to local consumers, the Rural Urban Distribution Initiative (RUDI) began as a branded rural marketing and distribution network set up in 2004 by the Self Employed Women’s Association,[3] a union of over 1 million self-employed workers[4]

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

RUDI is owned and operated collectively by a group of women from the Self Employed Women’s Association.[5] RUDI’s affiliation with SEWA means that it builds on the solidarity among women achieved through SEWA’s 40-year history of support to women in the informal sector, raising awareness and providing opportunities to access financial products and other services.[6] 

Participant Recruitment and Selection

RUDI currently has an approximately 200,000 farmers as shareholders of the company.[7]

Methods and Tools Used

Networked economic management and distribution is a fundamentally inclusive form of production and value-generation and exchange. Network economics involve the participation and direct control of workers, producers, distributors, and consumers from the beginning to the end of the value chain.[8] 

In 2013, RUDI introduced a mobile management information system using basic mobile phone technology, saving RUDIbens hours of time they had previously spent travelling to and from the processing centres to place orders.[9]

What Went on: Process, Interaction, and Participation 

RUDI links small-scale farmers, women who work at local processing centres and distribution hubs, and ‘RUDIbens’ or sales women within a value chain, allowing rural capital and good quality food to circulate locally.[10]

Through this network raw agricultural goods are procured locally from marginal farmers and sharecroppers, and then cleaned, sorted, graded, processed and packaged at haat (market) centres where Self Employed Women’s Association members work.[11] Processed goods can be sold back to the farmer at a low price or packaged under the RUDI brand name and distributed through hubs to ‘RUDIbens’ sales women.[12]

SEWA members benefit from RUDI as producers, consumers, processors, and saleswomen, ‘RUDIbens’.[13] RUDI strengthens the local economy by linking producers and consumers in a value chain that allows rural capital to circulate locally.[14] 

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Alongside the farmers, the RUDI Multi-trading Company now has 11 processing centres, 3,500 RUDIbens and 1,500 employees and reaches over a million households annually with good quality, affordable, RUDI products.[15] For the women involved, the employment opportunities and subsequent steady and stable income have enhanced their position as community leaders and contributors to the household.[16]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Want to contribute an analysis of this initiative? Help us complete this section!

See Also 

Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

References

[1] SEWA RUDI. “About Us.” SEWA RUDI, 2019, http://www.sewarudi.com/about%20us.htm.

[2] SEWA. “Rudi Products and Rudi Multi Trading Co Ltd’.” SEWA, 2009, http://www.sewa.org/Rudi%20Products%20And%20Rudi%20Multi%20Trading%20Co%20Ltd.asp.

[3] Thorpe, Jodie, et al. A Typology of Market-Based Approaches to Include the Most Marginalised. 2017.

[4] SEWA. “SEWA’s Structure.” Self-Employed Women’s Association, 2009, http://www.sewa.org/About_Us_Structure.asp.

[5] Ajith, P. “Women Managed Marketing Channel for Women Farmers - the RUDI Model.” ASBM Journal of Management, vol. 9, no. 2, July 2016, p. 80.

[6] SEWA RUDI. “About Us.” SEWA RUDI, 2019, http://www.sewarudi.com/about%20us.htm.

[7] Ajith, P. “Women Managed Marketing Channel for Women Farmers - the RUDI Model.” ASBM Journal of Management, vol. 9, no. 2, July 2016, p. 80.

[8] Benkler, Y. (2018). Working Together in a Networked Economy. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/527171/working-together-in-a-networked-economy/

[9] Pathak, Maulik. “A Mobile-Based Rural Distribution Network.” https://www.livemint.com, 9 June 2014, https://www.livemint.com/Industry/f43NTa005rhooP21DG5TuJ/A-mobilebased-rural-distribution-network.html.

[10][10] Government of India. RUDI-SEWA: Rural Distribution Network. Governance Knowledge Centre, 2010, http://indiagovernance.gov.in/files/gkc_oneworld_rural_distribution_network.pdf.

[11] Government of India. RUDI-SEWA: Rural Distribution Network. Governance Knowledge Centre, 2010, http://indiagovernance.gov.in/files/gkc_oneworld_rural_distribution_network.pdf.

[12] Thorpe, Jodie, et al. A Typology of Market-Based Approaches to Include the Most Marginalised. 2017

[13] SEWA RUDI. “About Us.” SEWA RUDI, 2019, http://www.sewarudi.com/about%20us.htm.

[14] Thorpe, Jodie, et al. A Typology of Market-Based Approaches to Include the Most Marginalised. 2017

[15] Citation needed. 

[16] SEWA. “Rudi Products and Rudi Multi Trading Co Ltd’.” SEWA, 2009, http://www.sewa.org/Rudi%20Products%20And%20Rudi%20Multi%20Trading%20Co%20Ltd.asp.

External Links

http://www.sewarudi.com/about%20us.htm.

Notes 

Lead image: SEWA RUDI/Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sewarudi/

The first submission of this Participedia entry was adapted from a research project by the Institute of Development Studies, 'Linking Participation and Economic Advancement’ licensed and reproduced under Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

Original source: https://www.eldis.org/keyissues/mapping-participation-economic-advancement 

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