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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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),”

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.

Direct2Farm Scale Up Service: Voices from the field

Hemlal Prasad Yadav, a farmer from the Giridih district of the state Jharkhand, in eastern India, told that that he regularly receives information on weather and agriculture from Direct2Farm and finds them very useful. Especially the Information at the time of irrigation and pest management practices has helped him a lot. There is no other source of information available there, that is why he has enrolled himself in the service by providing his mobile number to the Krishi Kendra. He mentioned that if other farmers too, give their mobile number, then everyone will get benefit from this service

Saag Ram is a farmer from a place Dabawali in Sirsa district of the state Haryana, in northern India. He receives information on weather and agriculture twice a week from the Direct2Farm service. He takes up works in his farm according to the weather information provided to him. Market price updates are also beneficial. He said he also receives information on livestock and pest management practices which he plans to implement in his farm.

Virendra, a farmer from Haryana using Direct2Farm service

Virendra, a farmer from Haryana using Direct2Farm service

Virendra is a farmer from the Ambala district of the state Haryana in northern India. He regularly listens to the voice messages from the Direct2Farm service. He feels that the information received on the weather, management practices and irrigation are very good and he gets benefitted from them.

Suresh Kumar, a farmer from the Narwana village of the Jind district of Haryana, in northern India. He expressed that he is a regular listener of the agriculture advisory messages of Direct2Farm. He thinks that the information provided through these messages is very useful and all the farmers should work according to the advice, to get most benefit. He emphasised that a helpline service would have been very good, since he could then call up whenever any information is required.

On the International Women’s Day

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The gram panchayat of village Bibipur of Jind district of Haryana organised a program on the International Women’s Day i.e. on 8th March. 100 women farmers attended the program. The program was chaired by Sarpanch (the head of Panchayat) and key issues related to women were discussed. CABI was also invited in the program to connect Bibipur with Direct2Farm service. Sharbendu Banerjee, the Global Director-Mobile from CABI, presented on how farmers can get benefitted from mobile information service and also explained about the special benefits women farmers can obtain. He also announced the story telling competition for the rural women on the topic ‘How you have made a positive change in your life by using mobile phones’. The objective of the program was to popularise mobile based service among women farmers and making them understand on how they can use mobile phone to improve their livelihood.

Visit of Janny Vos to a regional office of IKSL

Janny Vos, interacting with IKSL people

Janny Vos, CABI’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, visited India in May and travelled
to one of the regional offices of IKSL located in Chandigarh. The regional office covers
the three north Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. During her visit, Dr Vos
spent time with both the Content Team and the Kisan Call Centre team, understanding
how they work in delivering the agro-advisory service. She saw how content is developed
and disseminated to the farmers according to their information needs, which can vary
by season and crop. The content has to account for the wide variety of crops grown in
the region, such as cereals & fruit, and must also be aligned with crop calendars. She
also saw how the helpline service works and provides advice to farmers based both on previous
experience and on the factsheets that have been developed by CABI under Direct2Farm.
Lastly, she learned about a special phone-in program that runs once a week and a
quiz for farmers operated through the service.  At the end, Dr Vos was highly impressed with the scale and thoroughness of the implementation of the IKSL service.

Content Workshop

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Participative training program organised for the content teams 

of Eastern Zone and Northern Zone 

On 11 March, 2013 and on 10 April, 2013, Content Workshops were organised for two zones viz. Eastern zone and Northern zone respectively by IKSL in association with CABI. The program was focussed on developing good content management practices. Entire program was conducted in 5 different modules.

On 11 March, in  Bhubaneswar program was organised for Eastern zone, where content team and sales team from Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal participated. For Northern zone, the program was organised in Chandigarh, where the content team of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan participated.

Participants felt that the entire program was quite interesting, informative and participatory.  They shared that the various modules in the program have helped them to provide in depth insight about content management practices, this would help them in building robust knowledge management system.

Participants from NZTraining program for NZ