Suresh’s story

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Suresh: I don’t have to rely on pesticide dealers; I know how to control pests in my crop

Suresh Kumar is a smallholder farmer from the Jind district of Haryana in northern India. In the local market, pesticide dealers sell all kinds of chemicals to the unsuspecting farmers, by making tall claims. Farmers get panicked when the see their crops are getting damaged because of some insect or disease and in desperation, they try anything that the dealers suggest. However, those chemicals mostly do not do any good and each year many farmers make huge loss first by spending money on expensive chemicals and then when their crop fails. This has been happening for years and farmers have taken it as way of life because they don’t have any other way to get immediate advice when the pests attack their crops. During the last Rabi season, Suresh attended a Krishi Vichar Gosthi (farmers’ consultation) organized by Kisan Sanchar, and there he heard about Direct2Farm. The volunteers told him that Direct2Farm service would provide him advance information about various pests and how to manage them. Not only that, farmers can call up the Toll free number (1800-114-151) and record their questions, which will be answered by the agriculture experts and they can have live chat with the experts, any time. This seemed like a ray of hope for Suresh, because he was worried about pest problem in his crop. However, he was skeptical, since this was a mobile service and he has never used mobile agro-advisory service before. The volunteers assured him that he can try the service free for some time and only if he finds the service good, he needs to continue. This built confidence and Suresh immediately registered himself for the Direct2Farm service. The volunteers asked him about which crop varieties he grows and he was explained that the experts will provide him information which are relevant for the crop varieties, that he grows so that he gets what is needed and no unnecessary botheration. Since then Suresh is a regular subscriber of Direct2Farm service and he has gained lot of new knowledge. In Suresh’s own words…. “Information provided through these messages are very useful and farmers should work according to the advice to get most benefit. I find the helpline service best, because talking to an expert helps me to clear my doubts on the spot and no one can mislead me because they know I can always cross check from an expert, then and there. I will definitely continue with Direct2Farm in future.”

 

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Growing crop with less water: Hemlal’s Story

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Most of the areas of Jharkhand, a tribal sate in the east-central part of India are drought prone. Farmers here depend mainly on rainfall for the farming and late monsoon or less rain makes situation desperate for them. Hemlal Prasad Yadav is one such farmer from Giridih district of Jharkhand, who has always been troubled by the frequent droughts and had to toil hard to feed his family. Being in a remote area, there is hardly any support or information available about weather forecast or new technologies that can help him to grow crop with very less water. He heard about Direct2Farm service from the village headman, when volunteers from Kisan Sanchar visited their village and Hemlal immediately decided to register in the service; because not only he would get information directly in his mobile phone, there was a free trial period offered so that he can really test whether the service is good or not. After registering, Hemlal started getting regular crop advisory and weather updates on his phone, and gained new knowledge about how to retain soil moisture in field so that he can grow crops with minimum irrigation. He also learned about pests prevalent in this location and how to control them. With this new knowledge, Hemlal is confident that he will be able to get a decent harvest this year and his family will no longer go hungry. In Hemlal’s world… “This service is a life saver for the farmers in this remote location, if other farmers too, give their mobile numbers, then everyone will get benefit from this service and our family and children will be happy and healthy”

Krishi Vichar Goshti in Haryana

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In the month of March, 10 Krishi Vichar Goshti (KVG) were organized in 10 different villages covering 5 districts of Haryana. The KVG is the kind of meeting organized to make farmers aware about the Direct2Farm project and to understand the general issues related to farming in their area.

In KVG, farmers can discuss their problems related to agriculture and get the answers from the experts or fellow farmers. Information on various government schemes and other problems such as attack of pest and disease on crops are discussed. Feedbacks on messages are also taken from the farmers.

So far, 10 KVGs organized and were ended on successful note. This has provided farmers, an interactive platform to know about the project more and discuss their farm related issues.

Training on content development for the project Airtel Kilimo in Kenya

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A training program organised for the content development process in Kenya, for the project Airtel Kilimo. 14 scientists from different centres of Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI), people from Kilimo Media International (KiMI) and Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation (KBC) joined the program.

The aim of the program was to train the people involved in content development process for the project, on how to use the Direct2Farm online system for creating content and how to create different type of content like factsheets and subsequently creating voice messages and text messages by using factsheets. In this program, quality assurance process was also focussed as factsheets contains agricultural information that should be validated and localized in order to be fit for use for both agriculture extension workers and the farmers. Therefore, three key elements of the quality assurance viz. accuracy, relevance and clarity were highlighted and discussed during the program.

The program ends up with successful note as a committed content team was trained and established for developing content online keeping the quality assurance criteria in view. This will help in creating and sending most updated, scientific and relevant information to the farmers.

Direct2Farm Newsletter Volume 4 is out now

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Check out the articles on mobile application and update from mKisan in the volume 4 of Direct2Farm newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox email at direct2farm@cabi.org