More than ever, communication and community media has taken a pace for social change in rural areas. Improved communication facilitates access to timely information for improved agricultural production and above all, encouraging farmer participation in the rural development process.
Generally, farmers have limited access to information sources. To maximize the productivity, farmers should have instant access to information on the real time basis. Access to updated market price, weather information, cultivation practices, disease pest control could really help farmers in maximizing farm productivity and profitability.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) provides farmer with opportunity to have their voices heard. This is a break from traditional method of sharing information which were essentially one way.
One of the initiative “KISHAN CALL CENTRE” initiated by Agricare Pvt. Ltd provides information to farmers through Toll free landline service. I got chance to interview one of the employer of “KISHAN CALL CENTRE” Ms. Sangita Dwadi for getting more information.
She said that they receive calls of farmers from 68 different districts out of 75 with 40-50 average calls per day. Generally, they have 2-3 employees to receive calls from farmers. They have good understanding in major issues, under major issues they connect to experts from research organizations, farmers cooperatives and scientists in different regions.
Starting this initiative, they distributed leaflets, posters, brochures to different co-operative organizations, Farmers groups, District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) and NGOs for disseminating their service.
Chitwan based KISHAN CALL CENTRE has now reached with their services to 16,000 farmers of 68 different districts. They have been providing services regarding cultivation practices, identification of disease/pest and recommendation of effective disease/pest management practices.
When I asked her about how you suggest solution to farmers with their problem, she replied that they start searching other possible symptoms when farmers come up with small hints and symptoms of particular infestations. If a farmer has problem of fruit rot of tomato, the possible infestation might be due to virus, disease, pest of mineral deficiency. They identify the problem by inquiring other related symptoms they might be facing. If farmer have no problem of flies or pest symptom and if they not even apply fertilizers, it might be due to mineral deficiency i.e Calcium deficiency. Thus they recommend calcium treatment to cure it after detail analysis of symptoms.
This type of communication technology has been able to solve farmers’ problem within a short time. Farmers are fully satisfied from such resource saving, human cost and time saving services. It has also been successful in sharing of success stories, best practices and sharing of problems.
Sharing of problems, lesson learnt and good practices with wider community would help to address the challenges effectively and efficiently.
We have a tons of information that need to be disseminated to farmers. Culling out the right one at right time in right way is increasingly a challenge.
[AgriYouthNepal is celebrating International Year of Family Farming 2014 (IYFF14) as a collaborative partner on YPARD Nepal Family Farming Photo Contest. To participate in to the contest send your pictures filling this registration form]