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Rural portal spurs IT upgrade among farmers

Rural portal spurs IT upgrade among farmers

The emergence of Internet and website services tailored to rural needs has resulted in an uptake of information technology among farmers.

RD1.COM chief executive Neal Murphy said the company had sold more than 400 personal computers to farmers in the last 10 weeks, suggesting that newcomers and not only existing Net users were being attracted by online services.

The computer deal offered by RD1.COM included a start-up kit to get farmers online. RD1.COM estimates around 46% of farmers have Internet connections. Around 60% of farmers are thought to own computers.

“We’ve become an important PC retailer almost by accident,” said Mr Murphy, referring to the strong demand from farmers for new PCs that are Internet ready.

He said that the response underscored that farmers knew the value of the Internet to their business.

“Now that there are services specifically for them, they’re more willing to invest in the technology to go online.”

Mr Murphy said that RD1.COM’s goal was not only to develop its traditional rural supplies business using e-commerce, but to expand the rural supplies and services market.

“We know we’re growing the market, as well as competing harder within existing rural services,” said Mr Murphy.

RD1.COM now has more than 12,000 registered users around the country, and more than 6,000 items available at its online store at www.rd1.com.

Mr Murphy said that the response had been strong not only in the Waikato, but also in the deep south which is experiencing major development in the dairy sector.

“There’s no doubt that the Internet and the kinds of services RD1 offers will be integral to future farm management,” said Mr Murphy.

ENDS

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