Farmers Say...Atul Bharve, a farmer from Marathwadasaid..."When the rains didnt arrive in earlyJune, I panicked. But that crucial SMSfrom Nokia was a lifeline of sorts formy family."
Kapil Mehta, a traditional paddy farmer fromSabakantha district in northern Gujarat –- Took up sorghum cultivation, which requires lesswater- This was in line with a voice message advisory fromIffco Kisan Sanchar, a joint venture between mobilecarrier Bharti Airtel and fertiliser firm Iffco.
When population is huge, and the agricultural spacefor feeding the population is very less, every farmeris concerned about:MonsoonsWeather reportType of seedsType of soilLand irrigation methods Time of plantation and many more attributes
The reason for the concern might be:The information inequality among the mass of thefarmers that lead to an asymmetric information andhence devious results in farming.
Hence to overcome the problems of communicationbarriers & information unavailability– Governmentdeviced the best solution for farmers.The solution is one of the best contemporarymedium of all times:‘Mobile Phone for Every Farmer’
How it helps???Through mobile technology farmers can now readilyavail information like the weather forecast, croppingpatterns, etc. which are critical to a good harvestThe farmers receive messages and information intheir vernacular language via handsetLeads to better informed decisionsBenchmarking in norms, calls and practices infarmingAdded benefits leading to crop rotation, and betteryield
How it helps???Lead to better farming methods, as attained throughsymmetric information on the attributes mentionedaboveFarmers are not dependent on the weather ormonsoon predictionThere is a reduction of time, and wastage of the fieldusageThere is a benefit to the microfinance companies, asthey would bundle calls, promotions, seedinformation through voice short messaging servicesor text messages
Can this lead to ‘Mobile Revolution’ inagriculture?
If some authentic sources are to be believed –Agriculture is already witnessing ‘Mobile Revolution’Government policies have made proliferation of#cell-phones & eventually technologyOutlook Business in its special issue of Oct 2008stated that --“Indian agriculture is ready for a makeover. Fourteenstories from the fields that show the way ahead”
Some InitiativesGovernmet & private service providers have facilitatedmany of the ‘agri-advisory’ services that aid farmersiKisan Kisan Mitra e-ChoupalNokia Life Tools
Technology has made life very simple!And this has extended even to agricultureIts a known fact that agriculture in India isvulnerable to natural as well as man-made factors,technology acts as a shield against such unavoidablesituationsConsidering the same, GOI has ensured that everyfarmer in the counrty is equipped with handsets,which is also essential to bridge a Urban-Ruraldigital divide