ICT and agriculture benefitting the poor

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Presentation by Md. Asad-Ur-Rahman Nile of Katalyst, 17 May 2012, in the Bangladesh country session at the WSIS Forum 2012.

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ICT and agriculture benefitting the poor

  1. 1. ICT and Agriculture : Benefiting the Poor Presented by Md. Asad-Ur-Rahman Nile Senior Business Consultant Swisscontact, Katalyst Geneva, Switzerland May 2012
  2. 2. A real life story Moharaja Hossain A 32 year old farmer, from Pantapara village, Sharsha of Jessore District, with little formal education. On average his yearly earning is BDT 50,000 (≈USD 595) Last season, Moharaj observed that the leaves of his bitter gourds were curling up. This disease was gradually spreading and diminishing his gourds. Within 15 days, approximately 160 Kgs of what could have been his produces got damaged. He was unable to find solutions from regular sources.Finally after 15days he took the solution from one of the telecentre’s known asGrameenphone Community Information Centre (GPCIC) and managed to save hisproduces. At the end of the season he earned BDT 18000 (USD 214)
  3. 3. Content• Katalyst at a Glance• ICT & Bangladesh• ‘The Constraint” and Katalyst Strategy• Innovations with private sector – Grameenphone CIC experience – Banglalink Agri-helpline experience – Impact• Lessons Learned• Way Forward
  4. 4. Katalyst at a Glance Phase I Phase IIDonors • DFID • DFID • SDC • SDC • SIDA • CIDA • The Embassy of NetherlandsImplementers Swisscontact, Swisscontact, GTZ-IS GTZ-ISDuration • Oct ’02 –15 Mar ’08 • 16 Mar ’08 – 15 Mar ’13Budget • US$ 20 million • US$ 45 millionLine Ministry Ministry of Commerce Ministry of Commerce
  5. 5. Katalyst Approach Supporting Functions InformationGovt. Informing & Communication Private Sector Demand Core SupplyInformal Setting & Business Regulations Enforcing Rules Membershipnetwork Informal Rules Organizations & Norms Standards Laws Rules Source: The Springfield Centre
  6. 6. The Constraints ADVANCED MARKETING PROCESS Limited access to Lack of appropriate ICT- ICT tools and based service offers technology targeting rural sectors Growth Potential of The FarmersLack of appropriatepolicy support forgrowth of ICT Low awareness andbased services usage of among rural people Service Delivery Lack of adequate skill set among service providers
  7. 7. Katalyst Strategy
  8. 8. Partnership with Grameenphone (GP) Katalyst Grameenphone• To develop a delivery channel • To create a strong rural presence• To create a sustainable mechanism • To develop potential touch-points for for access to technology and products and services information • To develop the rural segments with• To develop a private sector led & bundle of Value Added Services (VAS) commercially viable ecosystem for • To promote data usage in rural areas accessing agriculture information Partnership formed
  9. 9. The CIC’s• Grameenphone (GP) branded rural telecentre• Franchise model – GP provides technology, branding material, training – Entrepreneur invests in equipments & establishments• Standardized• Bundle of services – Information services – IT-enabled services – Top-up, photography, telco-products• Commercially motivated entrepreneurs• Without any subsidy
  10. 10. The Ecosystem • Developing commercial content provider • Commercial content providersKatalyst • Capacity building of the developed service providers • The channels became efficient in delivery • Awareness increased • Promotion • Service integration • Number of services increased GP • Monitoring and advice • Business case strengthened A sustainable delivery channel to deliver agriculture information with nationwide outreach
  11. 11. Deepening the Impact• “Now What?”• More than 18 million farmers• High & growing tele-density• High latent demand of information• Interested private sector partners• Ecosystem of commercial content providers needed more opportunities
  12. 12. Partnership with Banglalink Improved Value added services performance of for more market farmers & rural Katalyst Banglalink share in rural markets entrepreneurs Banglalink Katalyst Market assessment Branded Value added service for targeted Capacity building customers Content/Service Capacity building of the development Call Center service Promotion provider Demand stimulation and promotion of VAS
  13. 13. The Outcome: Bangallink Agri-helpline 7676• A call-centre offering only agriculture related solution• Commercially operated• Branded by the second large mobile phone operator Banglalink• Commercial content provider, commercial call- centre• Human interface not IVR based• Affordable for the farmers (0.06 USD / Min)
  14. 14. Service Delivery Model Routed to a call center Call center agents receive customers call Agents provide the Customers dial a info over phone Agents browse the database short code 7676 and finds the solution If the information is not available in the database Customer is called back Agents take Support team Database isnotes of queries gathers info updated
  15. 15. The Impact• There are more than 500 CIC’s in rural areas of Bangladesh – The average footfall in each CIC is 100 per day – Cumulative access outreach from March 2008 - June 2011 is 1.5 million+ only from the Grameenphone – Cumulative benefit outreach from March 2008 - June 2011 is 600,000+• Impact of Banglalink Agriculture helpline from Jan’11 to Dec’11 – Relevant calls 32,904 – Repeat calls 22% (7,219) – Asia Mobile Awards 2009, organized by the GSM Association – Nomination in The World Communication Award 2009 and The Global Mobile Award 2010. Source: Katalyst Annual Report 2011, Banglalink & Grameenphone
  16. 16. Agriculture Information• The demand of agriculture information services is low compare to other services but its growing slowly• Specialized Agriculture information like online based Fertilizer Recommendation System has been integrated in both the platforms• The reasons behind the growing demand of agriculture information services – Easily accessible through the operators/entrepreneurs – Quick service delivery (very crucial in case of disease) – Possible to take print of the solution – A wide variety of solutions (crops, fisheries, livestock, poultry, fruits )
  17. 17. Challenges Ahead• Slow adoption among the intended Target group • Latent demand • New technology • Reliability factor• Revisiting the business case for different key actors• Harmonization between different projects for optimum impact at beneficiary level – Reduce cannibalization – Increased Synergy
  18. 18. Lessons• Partnering with right large Private Sector (PS) partners with right commercial incentive• High Volume-Low margin business model• Effective service development and delivery process – Demand led – Conveniently accessible• Multi-stakeholder partnership for: – Taking ride on the core expertise of different actors – Reduction in cost of doing business and associated risk – Time efficient implementation
  19. 19. Lessons (contd.):• Role of Government • Creating conducive policy environment for PS to perform – Extend cooperation to PS for developing and delivering need based services – Service quality and standardization – Endorsement and mass promotion of private sector lead initiatives • Shift from “service provider” role to “facilitator” role
  20. 20. Way Forward• Changing the “mindset”• Increase participation of women in availing ICT based services• Developing strong role based partnerships with government organizations• Advocacy for conducive environment• Deepening the impact by developing ecosystems
  21. 21. Way Forward (contd.)• Widening the impact by developing right partnerships• Increasing specialized agricultural services like fertilizer recommendation, irrigation recommendation, soil testing, weather forecasting etc.• Introducing mobile fund transfer for benefitting the farmers• Facilitating direct market access of the farmers
  22. 22. Thank You

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