Case Study: Mobile Agro-advisory project in India between CABI and                IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL)      ...
systems are weak and lack adequate manpower to effective support at the doorsteps offarmersiiOne way of dealing with this ...
charge, each day covering both local and national agricultural topics. Green SIM users canalso access an Agri Helpline whe...
Figure 3-IKSL Agro-advisory service schema   PUSH : Voice Based      Information                                          ...
rendered into local languages to bypass the literacy barrier and immediately focus onpeer-level recommendation to lend per...
Among the various ICT initiatives that were studied, the following key themes wereobserved;The Info-centre model: In this ...
provide infomediary services for the farmers to deliver research knowledge for the benefitof the farmers5. Mobile Agro-adv...
Figure 5- Crop Calendars for message planning (developed by CABI for IKSL)The 5 voice messages are created based upon this...
Figure 6- Voice Message (Push) and Helpline (Pull) schemaContent Development and re-purposing:The other challenge about an...
Figure7. Few images of the factsheets produced by CABI in IKSL projectAssuring quality of information and process:One of t...
These factsheets are referred by the IKSL content managers to script the voice messages(OBD or out bound dialler calls). P...
The survey revealed that IKSL service is actually reaching the bottom of pyramidpopulation in India; 87.5% of the IKSL sub...
Figure 10- Implementation of the recommendations by the farmersThe final outcome as revealed by this study was that IKSL A...
agriculture, were also being broadcasted by IKSL, especially during the weekly     phone-in programs.  B. Tailor made Voic...
Key lesson learned and next stepsThe key learning form this project has been;   1. Farmers’ trust is very important, which...
Acknowledgements:i ANNUAL REPORT (2010-2011) Unknown. (2011) ANNUAL REPORT (2010-2011). [online] Available at:http://www.a...
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001 banerjee

  1. 1. Case Study: Mobile Agro-advisory project in India between CABI and IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) Sharbendu Banerjee Director Business Development-South Asia CABI South Asia, New Delhi, India Email: S.Banerjee@cabi.orgAbstract:During 2007 and 2008 CABI carried out a study about the ‘Assessment of information andcommunication technology (ICT) in India to identify a role of CABI for the agriculturalinformation management for the farmers’. The outcome of this study was that, mobiletelephony could be the most prolific and economically viable ICT tool to reach largenumber of farmers in the shortest possible time.To understand further about the possible applications of mobile telephony in agriculture,CABI India, in 2009 partnered with IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL), which is a jointventure between Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) & Bharti Airtel.This paper is about CABI’s insights and learning about how IKSL services, through asustainable business model, have benefitted smallholder farmers in improving theirlivelihood.Key Words: mobile enabled agro-advisory, CABI, IKSL, agriculture, infomediary,knowledge managementIntroduction:Agriculture is the main vocation in India; 60% of its population is directly or indirectlydependent on agriculture for their livelihood. From the point of food security, India feeds17.5% of world population from only 2.3% of world’s total land areai.However, over the last few years, the contribution to GDP of India by agriculture and alliedsector has declined from 17.4% in 2006-2007 to 14.2% in 2010-2011.Some of the reasons for the poor performance of the agriculture sector are; diminishingland holding size, depletion of natural resources (especially ground water) , decreasing soilfertility and above all fast changing effects of climate change (flood, drought, cyclones etc)Farmers lack basic literacy to understand new technologies and desperately need skillsand support for production, processing and marketing. Traditional agriculture extension Page | 1
  2. 2. systems are weak and lack adequate manpower to effective support at the doorsteps offarmersiiOne way of dealing with this problem is using innovative ICT tools like mobile phone toempower the farmers with the ability of seek and source critical information in real-timeand to connect them with the other important actors in the ecosystem like markets,meteorologists and agriculture scientists.Using mobile telephony as ICT tool is also advantageous because its proliferation andgrowth is driven by the industry. Large investments are being made by mobile networkoperators (MNO) in infrastructure development and marketing (awareness generation) ofservices. According to a recent study by Deloitte, in India alone, mobile value addedservices (mVAS) is estimated at USD 158 billion annually, which by 2015 will grow to USD671 billion. For a subscriber, mobile is not just a device to communicate, it’s amultipurpose tool that enables users to communicate as well as provides “infotainment” tothem (IMRB2010)The rural market is very lucrative from the point of view of mobile network operators’market share and it will be the future growth driver. Figure 1-The Economics at Bottom of Pyramid iii Rural India accounts for about 72% of the population while the mobile penetration is around 28%, the reason why most of the mobile network operators are investing in developing tailor made services that appeals to rural population and being a predominantly agrarian society, agriculture is one ofthe most sought after service for rural population.Rural India accounted for around 38-40% of the total Indian mobile handset sales by 2010.Indeed the, proliferation of phone ownership in remote and rural India means that mosthouseholds now have access to a mobile, making it the pre-eminent technology platform.16 mobile network operators (MNO) are at play in the Indian market with the race to 100%tele-density being hotly contested. VAS services are increasingly key to success in thisspaceiv.About CABI and IKSLIFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL)IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) is a tri-lateral venture between the Indian Farmers’Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO) - the largest farmers’ cooperative in India, Airtel - thelargest mobile network operator, and Star Global Resources Limited. IKSL was supportedby the GSMA mAgri Programme in 2009-2010 to provide voice-based agriculturalinformation for farmers and extension agents.IKSL distributes Airtel SIM cards branded ‘Green SIM’ to its IFFCO members and otherfarmers. The Green SIM functions as a normal SIM as well as providing agricultural value-added services (Agri VAS). The user receives five recorded voice messages, free of Page | 2
  3. 3. charge, each day covering both local and national agricultural topics. Green SIM users canalso access an Agri Helpline where they can get answers from experts in agriculture to anyfarming question. The service was launched in 2008.Figure2 -IKSL Business ModelvThe service uses a Push/Pull model, tailored to the farmer’s location. Voice messagesconstitute the ‘Push’. The farmer receives 5 one minute recordings each day, free ofcharge. These are recorded in the local dialect and pertain to crop calendar activities (i.e.when to weed, plant and hoe), localised weather forecasts, yield increase tips, entomologyinformation, Government schemes and disease alerts.Typically, in any given day’s messages, the subscriber would receive 2 about crops, 1 on ageneral horticultural topic, 1 on animal husbandry and 1 reactive message that may begenerated by local news alerts or in response to a preponderance of incoming calls on thetopic to the helpline. This recording into the local language therefore bypasses thelanguage and literacy barriers.The messages are a minute in length and are recorded daily by one of the experts in thelocal agri-helpline call centre. The contents are a mix of general tips and highly localisedinformation (e.g. weather and pest alerts). In the case of weather forecasts, IKSLdeveloped strong links with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) who providelocalised agro meteorological forecasts twice weekly Page | 3
  4. 4. Figure 3-IKSL Agro-advisory service schema PUSH : Voice Based Information IFFCO Database, Specialist’s Inputs, Universities & Research Institutions PULL : Helpline viApart from the Push and Pull advisory services, IKSL also has introduced many innovativeprograms, delivered through mobile phones to keep farmers interest and adoption levelhigh.For example, on an average, every week, there is one “Phone In” program where aparticular local expert (not necessarily from agriculture topic, but other topics like womanand child health specialist, for example) is available between a pre-announced time periodwhen any farmer can call and get their query addressed.Similarly each week, one of the 5 voice messages is a “Quiz Question” about the topics ofthe messages which have been broadcasted last week. Farmers who give correct answerthrough calling up the helpline, gets about USD 2.00 worth of free talk time as reward.These innovative programs help IKSL in engaging its customers to the service andimprove overall customer experience level.IKSL employs over 500 “Marketing Associates” across 18 states in India to promote andsell this service. The marketing activities are predominantly “Below the Line”, road showsbeing the primary one. In a typical road show, a branded canopy is set up in a villagemarket or other high visibilities location from where Marketing Associates distributemarketing collaterals, answer customer questions, explain the product and conductcustomer acquisition activities.Marketing Associates are given a small, battery-powered media player which acceptsmaterial from USB sticks that is generated by IKSL Head Office. In the USB drives, a two-handed, scripted conversation between farmers discussing the benefits of the service isrecorded which is played through this small public announcement system. These are Page | 4
  5. 5. rendered into local languages to bypass the literacy barrier and immediately focus onpeer-level recommendation to lend persuasion and credibility to the service.Typically, 10-15 canopy marketing activities are organized, per state, each month.Figure 4- A farmer listening to IKSL promotion at a road showTill end of 2011, about 4 million subscribers have been cumulatively subscribed to IKSLGreen SIM Card, out of which about 1.07 million customers listen to voice messagesdailyvii.CABI (CAB International):CABI is a not-for-profit international organization that improves people’s lives by providinginformation and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and theenvironment. CABI’s mission and direction is influenced by its member countries who helpin guiding the activities undertaken. These include scientific publishing, developmentprojects and research and microbial services. CABI helps in addressing the issues ofglobal concern, such as food security through science, information and communication.CABI does this by improving crop yields and combating threats to agriculture from pestsand diseases, protecting biodiversity and safeguarding the environment, and improvingaccess to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge.CABI has been working with India for many years; CABI’s first office was established InBangalore in 1948. Today CABI is located in the capital, New Delhi, at the NationalAgricultural Science Centre. CABI works closely and in partnership with organisations likethe Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Ministry of Agriculture, forestry-basedorganisations, NGOs and the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International AgriculturalResearch). India is one of CABIs 45 member countries and plays a key role in determiningits strategy and direction.Since 2007, CABI has been taken up Knowledge Management in agriculture as a priorityarea in India and neighbouring countries and has been actively studying the environmentfor understanding the development of various ICT applications in agriculture.Funded by DFID through CABI Development Fund (CDF), the CABI India undertook adetail study of the various ICT projects in agriculture and the author published a detailreport in 2008. Page | 5
  6. 6. Among the various ICT initiatives that were studied, the following key themes wereobserved;The Info-centre model: In this model, it is assumed that last point intermediation is criticalfor connecting communities digitally with the rest of the world. This last pointintermediation was created in the form of an internet kiosk, which was operated bycommunity volunteers. Farmers were required to visit these centres regularly andapproach the community volunteer (sometimes named as Knowledge Worker) to findsolutions to their problems. Internet has been the primary digital media used by the kiosks.These kiosks were in turn connected to large information centre, through a hub and spokestructure. The information centres were typically operated by large NGO-s/ publicly fundedorganizations and they acted as the resource centre for the kiosks. The Village KnowledgeCentre (VKC) and the Village Resource Centre (VRC) operated by MS SwaminathanFoundation (MSSRF) is one of the prominent examples.The Info-portal Model: In this model, agriculture and allied information were aggregatedinto a portal. The objective was that intermediaries, especially the extension workers willuse these portals for accessing information and enhancing knowledge. In some cases,these were linked with Info-centres where the intermediaries were trained to use theportals to find solutions for farmers’ problems. Aaqua (by Agrocom/IIT Mumbai),The Rural entrepreneur model: This is a variation of Info-Centre model developedkeeping in mind about self sustainability. The Info-centres in the villages get converted intoa rural enterprise offering Business to Customer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B)services (even products). Typically supported through either CSR or business units ofcommercial businesses, the community volunteers/entrepreneurs are motivated to operatethe info-centres in for-profit mode. ITC e-choupal is one of the prominent examples of thismodel.Mobile Agro-advisory: In this model the ubiquitous mobile phones has been convertedinto an all time extension agent. This is a true business model, having the underlinebusiness need of Mobile Network Operators (MNO) need for capturing market share of therural market. Available through Mobile Value Added Service (mVAS) channel, throughphysical coupons based subscription and as an application built into handsets, theseservices operates on the subscription and usage revenues of the users (farmers). Thismodel has the maximum potential in terms of scalability and business viability.CABI found the Mobile Agro-advisory service as the most potential ICT tool based uponthe key inherent unique advantage it has;1. Rural markets have been identified as the growth drivers by the mobile networkoperators from where the next big business is going to come; as a result much investmentis being made by MNO-s to develop rural mobile telephony infrastructure.2. As voice and person to person text messaging services fast becoming commodities,leaving little scope for product differentiation, mobile network operators will depend moreon developing uniquely positioned rural mVAS to capture customer base and retain them.3. Rural society is primarily an agrarian society in India, which provides huge opportunityfor providing high quality agriculture information to the farmers helping them to grow better,loose less and improve food and livelihood security. As an international developmentorganization this is an ideal development opportunity for CABI4. CABI has been long into high end information management business for scientificresearcher fraternity. Though farmers are a completely new end user segment, still CABIhas all the fundamental expertise and experience to develop manage information and Page | 6
  7. 7. provide infomediary services for the farmers to deliver research knowledge for the benefitof the farmers5. Mobile Agro-advisory makes possible reaching maximum number of target beneficiaries(farmers) within minimum time. Also voice being the primary communication medium,language and literacy barrier could be successfully overcome through mobile telephony.Based upon these insights, CABI partnered with IKSL in 2009 as content and scientificbackstopping service provider. Till date CABI has provided high quality content in the formof actionable information packages on key subsistence and commercial crops andlivestock. CABI has also helped IKSL to develop its in-house agriculture knowledgerepository, and implemented extensive quality assurance processes for the IKSL Agro-advisory.Role of CABI in IKSL Agro-advisory:IKSL agro-advisory model seamlessly blends information Push and Pull functions. Theassumption is that farmers, many a time, may not be aware of the imminent problem ormission critical information which they need for good crop husbandry and harvest. Many afarmer follows traditional practices, many of which has become ineffective because ofsubstantial changes in agro-climatic conditions.Because of these reasons, IKSL uses information Push to sensitize the farmers about thecritical issues that might affect farming activity and productivity. The 5 daily voicemessages are the information that is pushed to the farmers without them asking for thesame.However, in order to make the information interesting for the farmer, it has to be relevantto the activities which the farmer may be undertaking when the message comes, whichcalls for a deep insight into how farming is done in India.IFFCO being the largest fertilizer manufacturer in India, has years of institutionalexperience of working closely with farmers. In fact it is constituted by over 40K farmers’cooperative societies, which in a way makes it “farmers’ own organization”.IKSL and CABI, using their individual experience and expertises, have developedspecialized “Crop Calendars” which indicate what would be the activities farmers might bedoing at a particular point in the year if they are growing a particular crop.This information is further fine tuned by IKSL’s local field personnel, who provides highlylocalized and accurate information about the sowing dates of crops and total area sown.Also IKSL have close working relationship with the agriculture universities in India, whoalso provides localized information. Page | 7
  8. 8. Figure 5- Crop Calendars for message planning (developed by CABI for IKSL)The 5 voice messages are created based upon this logical framework. IKSL hasdeveloped individual offices in all the states of India where they operate. These offices aremanned by IKSL Content Manager; responsible for voice message scripting, recording,distributing and also attending helpline queries and IKSL Marketing Manager, responsiblefor marketing of IKSL services along with support staff.Each of these offices has a Hosted Call Centre system installed. The call centre isequipped with a laptop, a desktop, IP phone, mobile phone, wireless router, fibre optic andEthernet switches, and access to the World Wide Web. The knowledge repository (calledIntegrated Information Management, IIMS by IKSL) is hosted in a server at IKSL headoffice in New Delhi and is accessed through web by the Content Manager.In the IIMS, factsheets, containing actionable information, developed by CABI, are stored.IIMS is also integrated with the subscribers’ CRM maintained by the MNO, so thatwhenever a call comes, the Content Manager get to know the profile of the caller. Voicemessages are scripted form these factsheets by the Content Managers and then recordedby her/him in a mobile handset. From the mobile handset, message is sent to the MNO’sdata centre and the server there in turn pushes the messages to the subscriber farmers asper pre-defined schedule. Page | 8
  9. 9. Figure 6- Voice Message (Push) and Helpline (Pull) schemaContent Development and re-purposing:The other challenge about any agro-advisory is how to effectively communicate with thefarmers. Farmers understands communication made in simple and generalist way, yet,most advance scientific knowledge has to be communicated to the farmers to solve theirproblem. This poses a big challenge in terms of re-purposing the communication suitablefor farmers to understand as well as translating in local languages.To address this problem, CABI has developed factsheets for each of the information needof the farmers over the crop growing cycle as identified in the crop calendar. The primaryinformation has been aggregated from the various sources like the extension literatures,package of practices, internet resource etc. This raw information then re-authored by CABIscientists into concise and “actionable bytes” of information termed Factsheets. Eachfactsheet deals with one topic and provides in-depth and contextualized information, re-purposed for farmers’ understanding. The factsheets are then mapped into a knowledgemanagement matrix with a set of metadata for easy retrieval by IKSL Content Managersfrom the IIMS. Page | 9
  10. 10. Figure7. Few images of the factsheets produced by CABI in IKSL projectAssuring quality of information and process:One of the key deterrent factors for farmers’ uptake of mobile agro-advisory is lack of truston the part of farmers to accept recommendations provided remotely by unknown personsover phone. For this reason, information provided through agro-advisory must be ofhighest quality in terms of authenticity, relevance and adoptability. Without having a robustquality assurance system, having meticulous Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) foreach and every process in place, it is unlikely that quality of information will be assured.Because of this reason, CABI has developed detailed Quality Assurance process for IKSLcapturing workflows of various activities performed within the overall agro-advisories,identified actors and created detailed SOP-s and protocols for them.The quality assurance process is a 3600 process which begins with selecting sources forthe information. Since cropping and farming practices varies significantly across differentagro-ecological zones, CABI identified all the leading agriculture research and academicinstitutions representing each agro-ecological zone in India. Also other leading publishedcontent form the leading crop and livestock research institutes, NGOs etc (includingCABI’s own agriculture databases) have also been identified as the authentic source foragriculture information.The age of information is also checked to ensure what goes to the farmers is latest andupdated information.The raw information is re-authored into factsheets by a panel of scientists who are subjectmatter specialist in different areas of agriculture science. A detailed editorial workflowensures that the factsheets contains information that is scientifically validated and locallyrelevant and follows international best practices like GAP etc. Page | 10
  11. 11. These factsheets are referred by the IKSL content managers to script the voice messages(OBD or out bound dialler calls). Periodical quality audits are done to ensure the voicemessage scripts adheres to various quality assurance SOP-s.CABI has developed an Inference Engine for crop health diagnosis. IKSL contentmanager, who use this tool to analyze the farmers’ preliminary queries to ascertain the realproblem. This reduces the chances of guess work and improves the authenticity andeffectively of the IKSL helpline.CABI also undertakes periodic audits of the actual conversations between farmers andIKSL content managers while the attend farmers’ queries through the helpline. This givesinsight about what goes on when the farmer seek solution for problems by calling thehelpline and how much satisfied the farmer gets after recommendation made by thecontent managers.IKSL regularly collects feedback from the farmers in the form of success stories andanalytics about farmers’ listening of the voice messages provided by the MNO. Thesefeedbacks are analysed and taken into consideration for improving the quality of content.Figure7- Content Quality Assurance process by CABI (IKSL Agro-advisory)Impact of IKSL Service:IKSL project was selected by GSMA development fund (funded by the Framers’ helplinefund of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) in 2009 for support. GSMA conducted an in-depth primary research by TNS Global in 2010 to understand the impact of IKSL servicesin the life and livelihood of its target group; the smallholder farmers subsisting under lessthan $1 a day.TNS did desk based and on field research to understand the impact of IKSL service aswell as its perceptual positioning vis-a-vis other similar services. Some of the keyoutcomes are as follows; Page | 11
  12. 12. The survey revealed that IKSL service is actually reaching the bottom of pyramidpopulation in India; 87.5% of the IKSL subscribers were living under USD 2.00 a day andout of that 71.4% were living under USD1.00 a day.However, lack of financial resource did not deter the farmers from seeking qualityinformation for solving their problem in order to get better harvest and profit. 21% of thefarmers brought the IKSL service only for the purpose of agro-advisory, while 46% broughtit for using both the regular calling service as well as agro-advisory.Table1 & Figure 8: The reason for subscribing to IKSL servicesWhy do the farmers buy IKSL service Total Most of the farmers (40% +) whoHeard that the information is useful 59.3 subscribed to the service listens to the messages every day. This indicates thatOthers I know had brought it 22.9 the farmers have significant interest and motivation to learn new things fromThis was the only SIM card available 9.17 mobile agro-advisory.Anyway had to buy a phone and this came 3.3as an added serviceOthers 5.3It was also found that most of the farmers have significant level of trust on the service andreadiness for adopting new knowledgeFigure 9- Adoption by farmers of the knowledge Figure 11- Farmers’ perception: “Learnt this first time”Furthermore, more than half of the farmers adopted the solutions provided by the IKSLhelpline, which indicates the direct impact IKSL helpline is making in solving farmers’problems. Although the adoption rate is lesser for the voice messages, this may bebecause of the fact that there is lesser scope for providing personalized informationthrough Push channel. Page | 12
  13. 13. Figure 10- Implementation of the recommendations by the farmersThe final outcome as revealed by this study was that IKSL Agro-advisory service is beingperceived by the farmers as a “preferred source of information” compared to otheravailable sources like extension agent, radio, television etc. Figure 11- How farmers perceive IKSL service compared to other extension information source“It was gratifying to note that among all active members who participated in the survey,76% were of the opinion that the IKSL helpline service was better than any other source(TNS Global,2010)”Gender sensitization through agro-advisory:Agriculture in India employs 70% of the working population and about 84% of alleconomically active women (NSS, GOI, 1991). However, 84% may also could beunderestimated, since in reality there are few women in rural areas who are not ‘farmers’in some way, be it working on the family farm, working as wage labour, or working asshare croppers. By and large, they have remained as "invisible workers".As a part of the GSMA mAgri funding, CABI India carried out a detail study to find the rolesand contributions of women in farming in India. The study was carried out in two stages; adesk study followed by a field study in Pondicherry and Theni village at Madurai district ofTamil Nadu.As an outcome of the study, IKSL undertook special initiative to increase participation andawareness of women in agriculture. Specifically following activities were carried out; A. Working with women self-help groups to promote IKSL services amongst the women members of the farming households. In order to make the service more useful and appealing to the women, women centric topics, even other than Page | 13
  14. 14. agriculture, were also being broadcasted by IKSL, especially during the weekly phone-in programs. B. Tailor made Voice Messages targeted at women to sensitize them about their role in farming and also improve their knowledge and awareness about new technologies and developments beneficial for women. C. Gender Tagging the knowledge repository; CABI factsheets are tagged depending upon the gender aspect of the particular topic (e.g. while milking of cattle is an activity performed predominantly by men folk in many parts of India, preparing the animal for milking is mostly done by women, hence topics like udder hygiene etc would be tagged as women centric topic.)Few Success Stories of IKSL Agro-advisory: State: Rajasthan (Western India) Region: Dodasara (Churu) Farmer: Navrang Lal Ji Mobile: 9928826440 Problem faced: Weakness in Buffalo, low yield in milk. Solution given: Himalaya batisa 50 gm, anaraczone 2 tab mixed with sugar lump – once in a day for three days to the buffalo. Benefits obtained: Healthy buffalo, increased milk yield. Net increase in income : $ 66.5 / month State: Karnataka (Southern India) Region : Kudarimothi (Koppal) Farmer Name : Nagappa Mobile : 9611430225 Crop : Crossandra Flower crop Problem faced : Plants not flowering Solution given: Spray of Calaxin @0.5 ml/litre water Benefits obtained : Started getting 5-6 kg flowers every day from 0.2 ha area Net increase in income: $265.8/month “It is a Great Idea ... Do it Across the World, Great Work ... Keep it up” Applause by the US President Barak Obama, While visiting IKSL stall at an agri-exhibition During his visit to India November 7, 2010 Mumbai, India Page | 14
  15. 15. Key lesson learned and next stepsThe key learning form this project has been; 1. Farmers’ trust is very important, which comes from authenticity, effectiveness and relevancy of information provided by the agro-advisory service providers to the farmers. Hence “Information Quality Assurance” is critical 2. Farmers are not interested in “General Knowledge” but “Just in time information” that matters to their livelihood, and they are willing to pay for it. Hence information needs to be “multi-dimensional” and “hyper localized” in order to be attractive for the farmers to buy it. 3. Mobile Technology is an “effect multiplier” of convention extension system, mitigating some of its drawbacks, and not an alternative to it. Hence both system needs to operate symbiotically and not in competition to each other.Based upon these learning, in 2011, CABI launched a regional project by nameDirect2Farm.Direct2Farm will be a mobile enabled agriculture infomediary Service, aimed at makinghigh quality information easily accessible to the farmers, enabling them to solve theireveryday farming problems by making “application of better knowledge” and by taking“informed decisions” resulting in profitable farming activity and improved livelihood.Direct2Farm will be an “application box” which just needed to be plugged-in to anyextension system for enabling it with mobile technology for delivering and managing highquality information exchange.This means service providers like Mobile Network Operators, development projects, NGO-s etc will not need to build up their own system from scratch, resulting in significant costand time savings in infrastructure and operations.Direct2Farm will be back-stopped by the scientific expertise of CABI, an internationalorganization, which is globally respected for its research and information managementcapabilities. Direct2Fram will deliver; - High quality agriculture information which are authentic and validated. - Scientific backstopping to service providers for solving complex farming problems - Development of customized scientific tools and applications for extension and development agents to increase their productivity and efficiency - Make difficult to access field data and analytics available to the researchers and decision makers for better research and policy formationIn long term, Direct2Farm is also expected to foster the development of a new breed ofInfo-entrepreneurs at grassroots level, thus catalysing self-reliance for rural youths. Page | 15
  16. 16. Acknowledgements:i ANNUAL REPORT (2010-2011) Unknown. (2011) ANNUAL REPORT (2010-2011). [online] Available at:http://www.agricoop.nic.in/.ii Madhvani, S. et al. (2010) Agriculture and Rural Development Series, Gender and Governance in Rural Services:Insights from India, Ghana, and Ethiopia. Washington, DC: World Bank.iii Source Mafoi Management 2009iv GSMA mAgri Programme Case Study IKSL, India. Fiona Smith & Jack Westhead (2011)v GSMA mAgri Programme Case Study IKSL, India. Fiona Smith & Jack Westhead (2011)vi IKSL : mPowering Rural India (2011) [presentation] India: IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited.vii IKSL : mPowering Rural India (2011) [presentation] India: IFFCO Kisan Sanchar LimitedContact InformationName: Mr Sharbendu BanerjeeOrganization: CABI South Asia – India, 2nd Floor, CG Block,NASC Complex, DP Shastri Marg, Opp. Todapur Village,PUSA, New Delhi – 110012,IndiaTelephone: +91 (0)11 25841906Fax: +91 (0)11 25841906Email: s.banerjee@cabi.orgWebsite: www.cabi.org Page | 16

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