Growing demand for rich media content among farmers

20150716_10145620150715_13103020150716_18422420150715_131020After understanding the information need and the information gap among the farmers just before the kharif season in previous visit to Vaishali, ( a district in Bihar), Direct2Farm team visited to villages of Vaishali again, to sensitize about the project ‘Direct2Farm’ and understanding the information gap further on the onset of kharif season. The complete demonstration of the Direct2Farm service was given to farmers and they were suggested to register themselves for their benefits.

Most of the farmers were paddy farmers, so team conducted a PRA study on paddy farmers and on paddy crops. Farmers from two village viz. Lalpura and Dumduma were randomly selected, 30 farmers from each village. This exercise helped to know how far the advisory provided by the Direct2Farm is benefitting them in increasing their knowledge. How far they are aware about the various pests and diseases of paddy and how they manage these pests and diseases. Beside this, information need based on various crop stages was also analyzed.

Four focus group discussions were conducted in Lalpura and Dumduma villages. Images and photographs of symptoms of nutrient deficiency and incidences of insect pest and diseases and weed in paddy crop were used to elicit farmers’ functional knowledge and their management. It was observed that though the farmers were able to identify the symptom of nitrogen nutrient deficiency, a large majority of them could not identify the symptoms about the deficiency of micro-nutrients like zinc, iron as well as those of potassium and phosphorus. Similarly the farmers of both villages could identify the insects like gundhi bug, grasshopper, termites, stem borer but lacked the correct knowledge of their control measures. The farmers of both villages entirely depended upon Input agency or salesman for nutrient, pest and weed management.

The relative importance of the messages desired by the farmers at various crop stages was also identified through PRA. Tillering and flowering were identified as the most important growth stages where advisory was most required

The most interesting observation was that the penetration of smart phone is above average and could be easily be found in the households. Young farmers and youth use low-end smart phones in their day-to-day life and are very verse with applications like Facebook and WhatsApp. They have a WhatsApp group among the farmers and shared relevant information along with other entertainment stuff. Group of farmers, especially young farmers are very much open to receiving the video content that is advisory with visuals/ showing demo/ instructions. Another interesting finding was that they are comfortable in receiving the video content and have suggested that it should be in Hindi language not necessarily in their regional language. Also, depending upon the nature of content the length of the video may vary; say from 3 mins to 10 mins. This emboldens the demand of rich media content with increasing penetration of smart phones even in the remote areas.

Mobile phones can bring significant change in one’s life

Bibipur 1 Recently an event was (on 5 July, 2015) arranged which was actually a competition, organized by CABI’s Direct2Farm team and hosted by one of the Direct2Farm’s implementing partner and Bibipur panchayat (in the state of Haryana). The competition was restricted to the females of Bibipur village and the purpose was to gather the maximum number of real-life stories from females, where mobile has got some significant change in their life.

76 women participated and penned down their stories, in this competition. In these 76 participants, 28 were school girls, 11 were housewives, nine older than 55 years of age, three completely illiterate and seven who asked somebody else to write their stories. The rest were youths. This figure was quite encouraging. Finally, three were selected as winners out of 6 finalists based upon ranking, which was done on quality of narration, depth, intensity and originality of the story.

Bibipur 2This entire episode has brought all the females together and encouraged them to write their stories. The level of participation was showing the emerging confidence among the females of that village; this was not less than their male counterparts.

Winner of the competition was Manisha More, here is her story which she delivered in a impactful manner

“I was in class 10th, when this incidence took place. It was an evening when the entire village was in the celebration mode. There was a marriage ceremony in Bibipur village, people were in festive mood. They were dancing, the music band was at the top of their tone, and loud noise of firecrackers can be heard all around. Suddenly a firecracker slipped from the hand of a person going in the marriage procession, this firecracker remained unnoticed. I picked it up and kept it considering it as a roll of wool. I was completely ignorant that the object could be an unfired firecracker. I cut the wool layer of the firecracker; still I could not make it out what it was. My father saw me with that object and asked me to throw it away as it is dangerous firecracker. I convinced my father that the object is harmless as it has been used during marriage procession. But, he kept on insisting me to throw it away.
I thought stove (chulha) would be the best place to dispose it off. Unknowingly, I threw it into the stove. Then after, my mother came into kitchen to lit fire for cooking. The object got blasted as soon as she set on fire. She was got injured badly and got fainted. Her one hand got badly injured. I was in panic and could not understand what to do. I went to my neighbours and they immediately called on my father’s mobile. My father straightway called a doctor and called some relatives to help with some money. My mother was hospitalised and finally, she was saved. Years have crossed to this incidence. Still, her left hand is not as efficient as her right hand. This reminds me of the accident. But, I am happy she is around us. I am really thankful to the mobile technology which helped to manage everything quickly and saved my mother. She ended up her story with a impactful quotation ‘Mobile par hogi jis ki command, duniya mein hogi uski demand (One who will have command over the mobile will be always in demand),”