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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.org

Abstract:
During 2007 and 2008 CABI carried out a study about the ‘Assessment of information and
communication technology (ICT) in India to identify a role of CABI for the agricultural
information management for the farmers’. The outcome of this study was that, mobile
telephony could be the most prolific and economically viable ICT tool to reach large
number 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 joint
venture between Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) & Bharti Airtel.

This paper is about CABI’s insights and learning about how IKSL services, through a
sustainable business model, have benefitted smallholder farmers in improving their
livelihood.
Key Words: mobile enabled agro-advisory, CABI, IKSL, agriculture, infomediary,
knowledge management

Introduction:
Agriculture is the main vocation in India; 60% of its population is directly or indirectly
dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. From the point of food security, India feeds
17.5% 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 allied
sector 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; diminishing
land holding size, depletion of natural resources (especially ground water) , decreasing soil
fertility and above all fast changing effects of climate change (flood, drought, cyclones etc)

Farmers lack basic literacy to understand new technologies and desperately need skills
and support for production, processing and marketing. Traditional agriculture extension

                                                                                      Page | 1
systems are weak and lack adequate manpower to effective support at the doorsteps of
farmersii

One way of dealing with this problem is using innovative ICT tools like mobile phone to
empower the farmers with the ability of seek and source critical information in real-time
and 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 and
growth is driven by the industry. Large investments are being made by mobile network
operators (MNO) in infrastructure development and marketing (awareness generation) of
services. According to a recent study by Deloitte, in India alone, mobile value added
services (mVAS) is estimated at USD 158 billion annually, which by 2015 will grow to USD
671 billion. For a subscriber, mobile is not just a device to communicate, it’s a
multipurpose tool that enables users to communicate as well as provides “infotainment” to
them (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 of

the 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 most
households 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 this
spaceiv.
About CABI and IKSL

IFFCO 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 - the
largest mobile network operator, and Star Global Resources Limited. IKSL was supported
by the GSMA mAgri Programme in 2009-2010 to provide voice-based agricultural
information for farmers and extension agents.

IKSL distributes Airtel SIM cards branded ‘Green SIM’ to its IFFCO members and other
farmers. 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
charge, each day covering both local and national agricultural topics. Green SIM users can
also access an Agri Helpline where they can get answers from experts in agriculture to any
farming question. The service was launched in 2008.

Figure2 -IKSL Business Model


v




The service uses a Push/Pull model, tailored to the farmer’s location. Voice messages
constitute the ‘Push’. The farmer receives 5 one minute recordings each day, free of
charge. 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, entomology
information, Government schemes and disease alerts.

Typically, in any given day’s messages, the subscriber would receive 2 about crops, 1 on a
general horticultural topic, 1 on animal husbandry and 1 reactive message that may be
generated by local news alerts or in response to a preponderance of incoming calls on the
topic to the helpline. This recording into the local language therefore bypasses the
language and literacy barriers.

The messages are a minute in length and are recorded daily by one of the experts in the
local agri-helpline call centre. The contents are a mix of general tips and highly localised
information (e.g. weather and pest alerts). In the case of weather forecasts, IKSL
developed strong links with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) who provide
localised agro meteorological forecasts twice weekly




                                                                                     Page | 3
Figure 3-IKSL Agro-advisory service schema


   PUSH : Voice Based
      Information




                                                         IFFCO Database, Specialist’s
                                                                   Inputs,
                                                           Universities & Research
                                                                Institutions

     PULL : Helpline
                                                                                         vi



Apart from the Push and Pull advisory services, IKSL also has introduced many innovative
programs, delivered through mobile phones to keep farmers interest and adoption level
high.
For example, on an average, every week, there is one “Phone In” program where a
particular local expert (not necessarily from agriculture topic, but other topics like woman
and child health specialist, for example) is available between a pre-announced time period
when 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 of
the messages which have been broadcasted last week. Farmers who give correct answer
through 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 and
improve overall customer experience level.

IKSL employs over 500 “Marketing Associates” across 18 states in India to promote and
sell this service. The marketing activities are predominantly “Below the Line”, road shows
being the primary one. In a typical road show, a branded canopy is set up in a village
market or other high visibilities location from where Marketing Associates distribute
marketing collaterals, answer customer questions, explain the product and conduct
customer acquisition activities.

Marketing Associates are given a small, battery-powered media player which accepts
material 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 is
recorded which is played through this small public announcement system. These are

                                                                                        Page | 4
rendered into local languages to bypass the literacy barrier and immediately focus on
peer-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 show




Till end of 2011, about 4 million subscribers have been cumulatively subscribed to IKSL
Green SIM Card, out of which about 1.07 million customers listen to voice messages
dailyvii.

CABI (CAB International):
CABI is a not-for-profit international organization that improves people’s lives by providing
information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the
environment. CABI’s mission and direction is influenced by its member countries who help
in guiding the activities undertaken. These include scientific publishing, development
projects and research and microbial services. CABI helps in addressing the issues of
global concern, such as food security through science, information and communication.
CABI does this by improving crop yields and combating threats to agriculture from pests
and diseases, protecting biodiversity and safeguarding the environment, and improving
access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge.

CABI has been working with India for many years; CABI’s first office was established In
Bangalore in 1948. Today CABI is located in the capital, New Delhi, at the National
Agricultural Science Centre. CABI works closely and in partnership with organisations like
the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Ministry of Agriculture, forestry-based
organisations, NGOs and the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research). India is one of CABI's 45 member countries and plays a key role in determining
its strategy and direction.

Since 2007, CABI has been taken up Knowledge Management in agriculture as a priority
area in India and neighbouring countries and has been actively studying the environment
for understanding the development of various ICT applications in agriculture.

Funded by DFID through CABI Development Fund (CDF), the CABI India undertook a
detail study of the various ICT projects in agriculture and the author published a detail
report in 2008.

                                                                                     Page | 5
Among the various ICT initiatives that were studied, the following key themes were
observed;

The Info-centre model: In this model, it is assumed that last point intermediation is critical
for connecting communities digitally with the rest of the world. This last point
intermediation was created in the form of an internet kiosk, which was operated by
community volunteers. Farmers were required to visit these centres regularly and
approach the community volunteer (sometimes named as Knowledge Worker) to find
solutions 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 spoke
structure. The information centres were typically operated by large NGO-s/ publicly funded
organizations and they acted as the resource centre for the kiosks. The Village Knowledge
Centre (VKC) and the Village Resource Centre (VRC) operated by MS Swaminathan
Foundation (MSSRF) is one of the prominent examples.

The Info-portal Model: In this model, agriculture and allied information were aggregated
into a portal. The objective was that intermediaries, especially the extension workers will
use these portals for accessing information and enhancing knowledge. In some cases,
these were linked with Info-centres where the intermediaries were trained to use the
portals to find solutions for farmers’ problems. Aaqua (by Agrocom/IIT Mumbai),

The Rural entrepreneur model: This is a variation of Info-Centre model developed
keeping in mind about self sustainability. The Info-centres in the villages get converted into
a rural enterprise offering Business to Customer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B)
services (even products). Typically supported through either CSR or business units of
commercial businesses, the community volunteers/entrepreneurs are motivated to operate
the info-centres in for-profit mode. ITC e-choupal is one of the prominent examples of this
model.

Mobile Agro-advisory: In this model the ubiquitous mobile phones has been converted
into an all time extension agent. This is a true business model, having the underline
business need of Mobile Network Operators (MNO) need for capturing market share of the
rural market. Available through Mobile Value Added Service (mVAS) channel, through
physical coupons based subscription and as an application built into handsets, these
services operates on the subscription and usage revenues of the users (farmers). This
model 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 upon
the key inherent unique advantage it has;
1. Rural markets have been identified as the growth drivers by the mobile network
operators from where the next big business is going to come; as a result much investment
is 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 more
on 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 opportunity
for providing high quality agriculture information to the farmers helping them to grow better,
loose less and improve food and livelihood security. As an international development
organization this is an ideal development opportunity for CABI
4. CABI has been long into high end information management business for scientific
researcher fraternity. Though farmers are a completely new end user segment, still CABI
has all the fundamental expertise and experience to develop manage information and
                                                                                      Page | 6
provide infomediary services for the farmers to deliver research knowledge for the benefit
of the farmers
5. 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 scientific
backstopping service provider. Till date CABI has provided high quality content in the form
of actionable information packages on key subsistence and commercial crops and
livestock. CABI has also helped IKSL to develop its in-house agriculture knowledge
repository, 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. The
assumption is that farmers, many a time, may not be aware of the imminent problem or
mission critical information which they need for good crop husbandry and harvest. Many a
farmer follows traditional practices, many of which has become ineffective because of
substantial changes in agro-climatic conditions.

Because of these reasons, IKSL uses information Push to sensitize the farmers about the
critical issues that might affect farming activity and productivity. The 5 daily voice
messages are the information that is pushed to the farmers without them asking for the
same.

However, in order to make the information interesting for the farmer, it has to be relevant
to the activities which the farmer may be undertaking when the message comes, which
calls for a deep insight into how farming is done in India.

IFFCO being the largest fertilizer manufacturer in India, has years of institutional
experience 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 developed
specialized “Crop Calendars” which indicate what would be the activities farmers might be
doing 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 highly
localized 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, who
also provides localized information.




                                                                                   Page | 7
Figure 5- Crop Calendars for message planning (developed by CABI for IKSL)




The 5 voice messages are created based upon this logical framework. IKSL has
developed individual offices in all the states of India where they operate. These offices are
manned by IKSL Content Manager; responsible for voice message scripting, recording,
distributing and also attending helpline queries and IKSL Marketing Manager, responsible
for marketing of IKSL services along with support staff.

Each of these offices has a Hosted Call Centre system installed. The call centre is
equipped with a laptop, a desktop, IP phone, mobile phone, wireless router, fibre optic and
Ethernet switches, and access to the World Wide Web. The knowledge repository (called
Integrated Information Management, IIMS by IKSL) is hosted in a server at IKSL head
office 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 that
whenever a call comes, the Content Manager get to know the profile of the caller. Voice
messages are scripted form these factsheets by the Content Managers and then recorded
by her/him in a mobile handset. From the mobile handset, message is sent to the MNO’s
data centre and the server there in turn pushes the messages to the subscriber farmers as
per pre-defined schedule.




                                                                                     Page | 8
Figure 6- Voice Message (Push) and Helpline (Pull) schema




Content Development and re-purposing:
The other challenge about any agro-advisory is how to effectively communicate with the
farmers. Farmers understands communication made in simple and generalist way, yet,
most advance scientific knowledge has to be communicated to the farmers to solve their
problem. This poses a big challenge in terms of re-purposing the communication suitable
for farmers to understand as well as translating in local languages.

To address this problem, CABI has developed factsheets for each of the information need
of the farmers over the crop growing cycle as identified in the crop calendar. The primary
information has been aggregated from the various sources like the extension literatures,
package of practices, internet resource etc. This raw information then re-authored by CABI
scientists into concise and “actionable bytes” of information termed Factsheets. Each
factsheet deals with one topic and provides in-depth and contextualized information, re-
purposed for farmers’ understanding. The factsheets are then mapped into a knowledge
management matrix with a set of metadata for easy retrieval by IKSL Content Managers
from the IIMS.




                                                                                  Page | 9
Figure7. Few images of the factsheets produced by CABI in IKSL project




Assuring quality of information and process:
One of the key deterrent factors for farmers’ uptake of mobile agro-advisory is lack of trust
on the part of farmers to accept recommendations provided remotely by unknown persons
over phone. For this reason, information provided through agro-advisory must be of
highest quality in terms of authenticity, relevance and adoptability. Without having a robust
quality assurance system, having meticulous Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for
each 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 IKSL
capturing 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 for
the information. Since cropping and farming practices varies significantly across different
agro-ecological zones, CABI identified all the leading agriculture research and academic
institutions representing each agro-ecological zone in India. Also other leading published
content form the leading crop and livestock research institutes, NGOs etc (including
CABI’s own agriculture databases) have also been identified as the authentic source for
agriculture information.

The age of information is also checked to ensure what goes to the farmers is latest and
updated information.

The raw information is re-authored into factsheets by a panel of scientists who are subject
matter specialist in different areas of agriculture science. A detailed editorial workflow
ensures that the factsheets contains information that is scientifically validated and locally
relevant and follows international best practices like GAP etc.



                                                                                    Page | 10
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 voice
message scripts adheres to various quality assurance SOP-s.

CABI has developed an Inference Engine for crop health diagnosis. IKSL content
manager, who use this tool to analyze the farmers’ preliminary queries to ascertain the real
problem. This reduces the chances of guess work and improves the authenticity and
effectively of the IKSL helpline.

CABI also undertakes periodic audits of the actual conversations between farmers and
IKSL content managers while the attend farmers’ queries through the helpline. This gives
insight about what goes on when the farmer seek solution for problems by calling the
helpline and how much satisfied the farmer gets after recommendation made by the
content managers.

IKSL regularly collects feedback from the farmers in the form of success stories and
analytics about farmers’ listening of the voice messages provided by the MNO. These
feedbacks 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’ helpline
fund 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 services
in the life and livelihood of its target group; the smallholder farmers subsisting under less
than $1 a day.
TNS did desk based and on field research to understand the impact of IKSL service as
well as its perceptual positioning vis-a-vis other similar services. Some of the key
outcomes are as follows;



                                                                                    Page | 11
The survey revealed that IKSL service is actually reaching the bottom of pyramid
population in India; 87.5% of the IKSL subscribers were living under USD 2.00 a day and
out of that 71.4% were living under USD1.00 a day.

However, lack of financial resource did not deter the farmers from seeking quality
information for solving their problem in order to get better harvest and profit. 21% of the
farmers brought the IKSL service only for the purpose of agro-advisory, while 46% brought
it for using both the regular calling service as well as agro-advisory.

Table1 & Figure 8: The reason for subscribing to IKSL services
Why do the farmers buy IKSL service         Total

                                                        Most of the farmers (40% +) who
Heard that the information is useful        59.3
                                                        subscribed to the service listens to the
                                                        messages every day. This indicates that
Others I know had brought it                22.9
                                                        the farmers have significant interest and
                                                        motivation to learn new things from
This was the only SIM card available        9.17
                                                        mobile agro-advisory.
Anyway had to buy a phone and this came     3.3
as an added service

Others                                      5.3




It was also found that most of the farmers have significant level of trust on the service and
readiness for adopting new knowledge

Figure 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 IKSL
helpline, 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 be
because of the fact that there is lesser scope for providing personalized information
through Push channel.




                                                                                               Page | 12
Figure 10- Implementation of the recommendations by the farmers




The final outcome as revealed by this study was that IKSL Agro-advisory service is being
perceived by the farmers as a “preferred source of information” compared to other
available 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 all
economically active women (NSS, GOI, 1991). However, 84% may also could be
underestimated, 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 as
share 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 roles
and contributions of women in farming in India. The study was carried out in two stages; a
desk study followed by a field study in Pondicherry and Theni village at Madurai district of
Tamil Nadu.

As an outcome of the study, IKSL undertook special initiative to increase participation and
awareness 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
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
Key lesson learned and next steps
The 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 name
Direct2Farm.

Direct2Farm will be a mobile enabled agriculture infomediary Service, aimed at making
high quality information easily accessible to the farmers, enabling them to solve their
everyday 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 any
extension system for enabling it with mobile technology for delivering and managing high
quality 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 cost
and time savings in infrastructure and operations.

Direct2Farm will be back-stopped by the scientific expertise of CABI, an international
organization, which is globally respected for its research and information management
capabilities. 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 formation

In long term, Direct2Farm is also expected to foster the development of a new breed of
Info-entrepreneurs at grassroots level, thus catalysing self-reliance for rural youths.




                                                                                    Page | 15
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 2009
iv
      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 Limited



Contact Information
Name: Mr Sharbendu Banerjee
Organization: CABI South Asia – India, 2nd Floor, CG Block,
NASC Complex, DP Shastri Marg, Opp. Todapur Village,
PUSA, New Delhi – 110012,
India
Telephone: +91 (0)11 25841906
Fax: +91 (0)11 25841906
Email: s.banerjee@cabi.org
Website: www.cabi.org




                                                                                                         Page | 16

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001 banerjee

  • 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.org Abstract: During 2007 and 2008 CABI carried out a study about the ‘Assessment of information and communication technology (ICT) in India to identify a role of CABI for the agricultural information management for the farmers’. The outcome of this study was that, mobile telephony could be the most prolific and economically viable ICT tool to reach large number 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 joint venture between Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) & Bharti Airtel. This paper is about CABI’s insights and learning about how IKSL services, through a sustainable business model, have benefitted smallholder farmers in improving their livelihood. Key Words: mobile enabled agro-advisory, CABI, IKSL, agriculture, infomediary, knowledge management Introduction: Agriculture is the main vocation in India; 60% of its population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. From the point of food security, India feeds 17.5% 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 allied sector 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; diminishing land holding size, depletion of natural resources (especially ground water) , decreasing soil fertility and above all fast changing effects of climate change (flood, drought, cyclones etc) Farmers lack basic literacy to understand new technologies and desperately need skills and support for production, processing and marketing. Traditional agriculture extension Page | 1
  • 2. systems are weak and lack adequate manpower to effective support at the doorsteps of farmersii One way of dealing with this problem is using innovative ICT tools like mobile phone to empower the farmers with the ability of seek and source critical information in real-time and 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 and growth is driven by the industry. Large investments are being made by mobile network operators (MNO) in infrastructure development and marketing (awareness generation) of services. According to a recent study by Deloitte, in India alone, mobile value added services (mVAS) is estimated at USD 158 billion annually, which by 2015 will grow to USD 671 billion. For a subscriber, mobile is not just a device to communicate, it’s a multipurpose tool that enables users to communicate as well as provides “infotainment” to them (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 of the 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 most households 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 this spaceiv. About CABI and IKSL IFFCO 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 - the largest mobile network operator, and Star Global Resources Limited. IKSL was supported by the GSMA mAgri Programme in 2009-2010 to provide voice-based agricultural information for farmers and extension agents. IKSL distributes Airtel SIM cards branded ‘Green SIM’ to its IFFCO members and other farmers. 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. charge, each day covering both local and national agricultural topics. Green SIM users can also access an Agri Helpline where they can get answers from experts in agriculture to any farming question. The service was launched in 2008. Figure2 -IKSL Business Model v The service uses a Push/Pull model, tailored to the farmer’s location. Voice messages constitute the ‘Push’. The farmer receives 5 one minute recordings each day, free of charge. 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, entomology information, Government schemes and disease alerts. Typically, in any given day’s messages, the subscriber would receive 2 about crops, 1 on a general horticultural topic, 1 on animal husbandry and 1 reactive message that may be generated by local news alerts or in response to a preponderance of incoming calls on the topic to the helpline. This recording into the local language therefore bypasses the language and literacy barriers. The messages are a minute in length and are recorded daily by one of the experts in the local agri-helpline call centre. The contents are a mix of general tips and highly localised information (e.g. weather and pest alerts). In the case of weather forecasts, IKSL developed strong links with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) who provide localised agro meteorological forecasts twice weekly Page | 3
  • 4. Figure 3-IKSL Agro-advisory service schema PUSH : Voice Based Information IFFCO Database, Specialist’s Inputs, Universities & Research Institutions PULL : Helpline vi Apart from the Push and Pull advisory services, IKSL also has introduced many innovative programs, delivered through mobile phones to keep farmers interest and adoption level high. For example, on an average, every week, there is one “Phone In” program where a particular local expert (not necessarily from agriculture topic, but other topics like woman and child health specialist, for example) is available between a pre-announced time period when 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 of the messages which have been broadcasted last week. Farmers who give correct answer through 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 and improve overall customer experience level. IKSL employs over 500 “Marketing Associates” across 18 states in India to promote and sell this service. The marketing activities are predominantly “Below the Line”, road shows being the primary one. In a typical road show, a branded canopy is set up in a village market or other high visibilities location from where Marketing Associates distribute marketing collaterals, answer customer questions, explain the product and conduct customer acquisition activities. Marketing Associates are given a small, battery-powered media player which accepts material 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 is recorded which is played through this small public announcement system. These are Page | 4
  • 5. rendered into local languages to bypass the literacy barrier and immediately focus on peer-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 show Till end of 2011, about 4 million subscribers have been cumulatively subscribed to IKSL Green SIM Card, out of which about 1.07 million customers listen to voice messages dailyvii. CABI (CAB International): CABI is a not-for-profit international organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. CABI’s mission and direction is influenced by its member countries who help in guiding the activities undertaken. These include scientific publishing, development projects and research and microbial services. CABI helps in addressing the issues of global concern, such as food security through science, information and communication. CABI does this by improving crop yields and combating threats to agriculture from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity and safeguarding the environment, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. CABI has been working with India for many years; CABI’s first office was established In Bangalore in 1948. Today CABI is located in the capital, New Delhi, at the National Agricultural Science Centre. CABI works closely and in partnership with organisations like the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Ministry of Agriculture, forestry-based organisations, NGOs and the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research). India is one of CABI's 45 member countries and plays a key role in determining its strategy and direction. Since 2007, CABI has been taken up Knowledge Management in agriculture as a priority area in India and neighbouring countries and has been actively studying the environment for understanding the development of various ICT applications in agriculture. Funded by DFID through CABI Development Fund (CDF), the CABI India undertook a detail study of the various ICT projects in agriculture and the author published a detail report in 2008. Page | 5
  • 6. Among the various ICT initiatives that were studied, the following key themes were observed; The Info-centre model: In this model, it is assumed that last point intermediation is critical for connecting communities digitally with the rest of the world. This last point intermediation was created in the form of an internet kiosk, which was operated by community volunteers. Farmers were required to visit these centres regularly and approach the community volunteer (sometimes named as Knowledge Worker) to find solutions 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 spoke structure. The information centres were typically operated by large NGO-s/ publicly funded organizations and they acted as the resource centre for the kiosks. The Village Knowledge Centre (VKC) and the Village Resource Centre (VRC) operated by MS Swaminathan Foundation (MSSRF) is one of the prominent examples. The Info-portal Model: In this model, agriculture and allied information were aggregated into a portal. The objective was that intermediaries, especially the extension workers will use these portals for accessing information and enhancing knowledge. In some cases, these were linked with Info-centres where the intermediaries were trained to use the portals to find solutions for farmers’ problems. Aaqua (by Agrocom/IIT Mumbai), The Rural entrepreneur model: This is a variation of Info-Centre model developed keeping in mind about self sustainability. The Info-centres in the villages get converted into a rural enterprise offering Business to Customer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B) services (even products). Typically supported through either CSR or business units of commercial businesses, the community volunteers/entrepreneurs are motivated to operate the info-centres in for-profit mode. ITC e-choupal is one of the prominent examples of this model. Mobile Agro-advisory: In this model the ubiquitous mobile phones has been converted into an all time extension agent. This is a true business model, having the underline business need of Mobile Network Operators (MNO) need for capturing market share of the rural market. Available through Mobile Value Added Service (mVAS) channel, through physical coupons based subscription and as an application built into handsets, these services operates on the subscription and usage revenues of the users (farmers). This model 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 upon the key inherent unique advantage it has; 1. Rural markets have been identified as the growth drivers by the mobile network operators from where the next big business is going to come; as a result much investment is 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 more on 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 opportunity for providing high quality agriculture information to the farmers helping them to grow better, loose less and improve food and livelihood security. As an international development organization this is an ideal development opportunity for CABI 4. CABI has been long into high end information management business for scientific researcher fraternity. Though farmers are a completely new end user segment, still CABI has all the fundamental expertise and experience to develop manage information and Page | 6
  • 7. provide infomediary services for the farmers to deliver research knowledge for the benefit of the farmers 5. 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 scientific backstopping service provider. Till date CABI has provided high quality content in the form of actionable information packages on key subsistence and commercial crops and livestock. CABI has also helped IKSL to develop its in-house agriculture knowledge repository, 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. The assumption is that farmers, many a time, may not be aware of the imminent problem or mission critical information which they need for good crop husbandry and harvest. Many a farmer follows traditional practices, many of which has become ineffective because of substantial changes in agro-climatic conditions. Because of these reasons, IKSL uses information Push to sensitize the farmers about the critical issues that might affect farming activity and productivity. The 5 daily voice messages are the information that is pushed to the farmers without them asking for the same. However, in order to make the information interesting for the farmer, it has to be relevant to the activities which the farmer may be undertaking when the message comes, which calls for a deep insight into how farming is done in India. IFFCO being the largest fertilizer manufacturer in India, has years of institutional experience 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 developed specialized “Crop Calendars” which indicate what would be the activities farmers might be doing 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 highly localized 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, who also provides localized information. Page | 7
  • 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 has developed individual offices in all the states of India where they operate. These offices are manned by IKSL Content Manager; responsible for voice message scripting, recording, distributing and also attending helpline queries and IKSL Marketing Manager, responsible for marketing of IKSL services along with support staff. Each of these offices has a Hosted Call Centre system installed. The call centre is equipped with a laptop, a desktop, IP phone, mobile phone, wireless router, fibre optic and Ethernet switches, and access to the World Wide Web. The knowledge repository (called Integrated Information Management, IIMS by IKSL) is hosted in a server at IKSL head office 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 that whenever a call comes, the Content Manager get to know the profile of the caller. Voice messages are scripted form these factsheets by the Content Managers and then recorded by her/him in a mobile handset. From the mobile handset, message is sent to the MNO’s data centre and the server there in turn pushes the messages to the subscriber farmers as per pre-defined schedule. Page | 8
  • 9. Figure 6- Voice Message (Push) and Helpline (Pull) schema Content Development and re-purposing: The other challenge about any agro-advisory is how to effectively communicate with the farmers. Farmers understands communication made in simple and generalist way, yet, most advance scientific knowledge has to be communicated to the farmers to solve their problem. This poses a big challenge in terms of re-purposing the communication suitable for farmers to understand as well as translating in local languages. To address this problem, CABI has developed factsheets for each of the information need of the farmers over the crop growing cycle as identified in the crop calendar. The primary information has been aggregated from the various sources like the extension literatures, package of practices, internet resource etc. This raw information then re-authored by CABI scientists into concise and “actionable bytes” of information termed Factsheets. Each factsheet deals with one topic and provides in-depth and contextualized information, re- purposed for farmers’ understanding. The factsheets are then mapped into a knowledge management matrix with a set of metadata for easy retrieval by IKSL Content Managers from the IIMS. Page | 9
  • 10. Figure7. Few images of the factsheets produced by CABI in IKSL project Assuring quality of information and process: One of the key deterrent factors for farmers’ uptake of mobile agro-advisory is lack of trust on the part of farmers to accept recommendations provided remotely by unknown persons over phone. For this reason, information provided through agro-advisory must be of highest quality in terms of authenticity, relevance and adoptability. Without having a robust quality assurance system, having meticulous Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for each 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 IKSL capturing 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 for the information. Since cropping and farming practices varies significantly across different agro-ecological zones, CABI identified all the leading agriculture research and academic institutions representing each agro-ecological zone in India. Also other leading published content form the leading crop and livestock research institutes, NGOs etc (including CABI’s own agriculture databases) have also been identified as the authentic source for agriculture information. The age of information is also checked to ensure what goes to the farmers is latest and updated information. The raw information is re-authored into factsheets by a panel of scientists who are subject matter specialist in different areas of agriculture science. A detailed editorial workflow ensures that the factsheets contains information that is scientifically validated and locally relevant and follows international best practices like GAP etc. Page | 10
  • 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 voice message scripts adheres to various quality assurance SOP-s. CABI has developed an Inference Engine for crop health diagnosis. IKSL content manager, who use this tool to analyze the farmers’ preliminary queries to ascertain the real problem. This reduces the chances of guess work and improves the authenticity and effectively of the IKSL helpline. CABI also undertakes periodic audits of the actual conversations between farmers and IKSL content managers while the attend farmers’ queries through the helpline. This gives insight about what goes on when the farmer seek solution for problems by calling the helpline and how much satisfied the farmer gets after recommendation made by the content managers. IKSL regularly collects feedback from the farmers in the form of success stories and analytics about farmers’ listening of the voice messages provided by the MNO. These feedbacks 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’ helpline fund 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 services in the life and livelihood of its target group; the smallholder farmers subsisting under less than $1 a day. TNS did desk based and on field research to understand the impact of IKSL service as well as its perceptual positioning vis-a-vis other similar services. Some of the key outcomes are as follows; Page | 11
  • 12. The survey revealed that IKSL service is actually reaching the bottom of pyramid population in India; 87.5% of the IKSL subscribers were living under USD 2.00 a day and out of that 71.4% were living under USD1.00 a day. However, lack of financial resource did not deter the farmers from seeking quality information for solving their problem in order to get better harvest and profit. 21% of the farmers brought the IKSL service only for the purpose of agro-advisory, while 46% brought it for using both the regular calling service as well as agro-advisory. Table1 & Figure 8: The reason for subscribing to IKSL services Why do the farmers buy IKSL service Total Most of the farmers (40% +) who Heard that the information is useful 59.3 subscribed to the service listens to the messages every day. This indicates that Others I know had brought it 22.9 the farmers have significant interest and motivation to learn new things from This was the only SIM card available 9.17 mobile agro-advisory. Anyway had to buy a phone and this came 3.3 as an added service Others 5.3 It was also found that most of the farmers have significant level of trust on the service and readiness for adopting new knowledge Figure 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 IKSL helpline, 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 be because of the fact that there is lesser scope for providing personalized information through Push channel. Page | 12
  • 13. Figure 10- Implementation of the recommendations by the farmers The final outcome as revealed by this study was that IKSL Agro-advisory service is being perceived by the farmers as a “preferred source of information” compared to other available 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 all economically active women (NSS, GOI, 1991). However, 84% may also could be underestimated, 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 as share 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 roles and contributions of women in farming in India. The study was carried out in two stages; a desk study followed by a field study in Pondicherry and Theni village at Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. As an outcome of the study, IKSL undertook special initiative to increase participation and awareness 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. 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. Key lesson learned and next steps The 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 name Direct2Farm. Direct2Farm will be a mobile enabled agriculture infomediary Service, aimed at making high quality information easily accessible to the farmers, enabling them to solve their everyday 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 any extension system for enabling it with mobile technology for delivering and managing high quality 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 cost and time savings in infrastructure and operations. Direct2Farm will be back-stopped by the scientific expertise of CABI, an international organization, which is globally respected for its research and information management capabilities. 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 formation In long term, Direct2Farm is also expected to foster the development of a new breed of Info-entrepreneurs at grassroots level, thus catalysing self-reliance for rural youths. Page | 15
  • 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 2009 iv 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 Limited Contact Information Name: Mr Sharbendu Banerjee Organization: CABI South Asia – India, 2nd Floor, CG Block, NASC Complex, DP Shastri Marg, Opp. Todapur Village, PUSA, New Delhi – 110012, India Telephone: +91 (0)11 25841906 Fax: +91 (0)11 25841906 Email: s.banerjee@cabi.org Website: www.cabi.org Page | 16