These days there is a lot of talk about mobile or unwired applications, iPhone App Store and Android Market have some really interesting and useful / productive apps. But only recently did i come across the mKrishi project by TCS, this initiative has the potential of being truly transformative for India in general and more specifically for the Indian farmer - Who at this time is having a very challenging time in most parts of India.
It addresses one of the key challenges of the farmers - "lack of information". Getting information to the remote corners of India to the farmer has been hard in the past with the lack of communication infrastructure and irregular electricity. Companies have been trying to do improve this for some time now with efforts by companies like ITC - eCoupal, the initiative was covered in great detail in CK Prahalad’s book Fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid. But i believe that leveraging the mobile / wireless communication infrastructure is the step in the right direction.
In India mobile phones have become extremely pervasive, India has about 635 million Wireless connections at this point of time and is expected to grow at 15 million per month. the overall tele-density per 100 people is around 51% – Meaning 51 out of 100 people have either a mobile or telephone connection. The remaining population, mostly situated in rural areas, is still to be connected. Both the service providers and the phone manufacturers are working on addressing this space and have & are making good progress in this space.
Here is a link to the presentation detailing how mKrishi works.
mKRISHI, a platform developed by Tata Consultancy Services to provide personalized advice to Indian farmers on low-end mobile phones. The mKrishi team spent two years studying farming patterns in rural India and developing methods to connect farmers to agricultural experts, with the belief that technology could jump-start some of India's seemingly ancient agricultural practices.
"It appears that there is a last-mile gap between farmers and agricultural experts," said Arun Pande, the head of TCS Innovation Labs and the leader behind mKRISHI. "In the absence of correct information and advice which is specific to him, the farmer relies on what other farmers do—or on his traditional wisdom."
TCS Mobile Agro Advisory System (mKrishi) connects farmers with an ecosystem that empowers them to make sound decisions about agriculture, drive profits, and conserve the environment.
Farmers require information on weather, soil, fertilizer and pesticide that are specific to their plot of land. They need information on the type of seeds, crops available in the market and local market prices.
TCS Mobile Agro Advisory System addresses all these issues. Farmers can receive information on microclimate, local market price and other subjects of relevance to them on a mobile phone. It also enables farmers to send queries specific to their land and crop to receive personalized replies from agricultural experts, on their phones. More details
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