Insufficiencies in physical infrastructure, problems and poor access to agriculture-related information have been the major constraints on the growth of agricultural productivity in India. Over the past few years, the rapid growth of mobile telephony enabled a variety of m-agricultural services as a means to overcome the existing information asymmetry. It also helps, at least partially, to bridge the gap between the availability and delivery of agricultural inputs and agriculture infrastructure.
And the latest entrant to the m-agriculture space is Handygo Technologies, with Behtar Zindagi, a pan-India IVR and SMS service in 18 regional languages, available to farmers 24/7 throughout the year. The organization has joined hands with CABI to provide exhaustive and up-to-the-minute information on health, education, finance, weather information, mandi rates, livestock, agriculture and fisheries, with a dedicated focus towards agricultural, regional health, banking, and education issues.
Apart from the rural audience, the service can also be used by mobile network operators, government bodies, NGOs and educational and research institutions to provide customized solutions on agriculture and allied topics to the rural subscribers. Also, the government and private bodies involved in different projects in the rural segment can make use of this service to access customized information about the market.
Previously Nokia Life had launched information related to agriculture, horticulture, dairy farming and fisheries on Nokia’s feature phones. IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL), a joint venture between Star Global Resources Ltd, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) and Bharti Airtel, commenced agricultural information to farmers via SMS. Government of Kerala in partnership with Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management –Kerala launched Kissan Kerala – an integrated, multi-modal Agricultural information system, which provides several dynamic and useful information and advisory services for the farming community across the state of Kerala. BSNL had partnered National Fertilizer Limited to launch a pilot project offering crop information services, weather forecasts, soil testing as well as health information in local languages.