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Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Vodafone launches ‘KisaanMitr’

NEW DELHI: In an effort to increase the productivity of small-scale farmers and enhance entire agriculture value chain in India, Vodafone has launched ‘KisaanMitr’ on Tuesday here. Speaking on this occasion, Sunil Sood, MD&CEO, Vodafone India said that it is the first step to address the needs of farmers in India by providing access to timely information, markets and financial inclusion through mobile technology.

“The basis for the next green revolution in India will be a “knowledge revolution”, and technology, particularly mobile, will play a key role in driving it. Today, 46% of people in rural areas have a mobile phone and access to mobile services among those yet unconnected is growing rapidly. This offers a new channel for delivering agricultural services and an opportunity to engage rural communities in a new way,” Sood added.

Vodafone also released a report ‘Connected Farming in India’ which concludes that the introduction of simple mobile services designed to help small-scale farmers in emerging markets could boost the farm gate incomes of 7 crore Indian farmers by over Rs. 56,000 crore in 2020.

The Vodafone report, based on research commissioned from Accenture Strategy with support from the Vodafone Foundation, has found that the average farming household lives on less than Rs. 250 per day with many farmers struggle to feed and educate their families. Simple mobile services could enhance earnings of almost two thirds of such farmers by an average of Rs. 8,000/- per year, creating a positive impact in communities.

Releasing the report, Raghav Chandra, Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture, said, “Technology for farmers is one of the focus areas under e-Kranti, a key pillar for realising the Digital India vision.  The future of agriculture lies in bringing digital services to the farm as agriculture is increasingly becoming more and more knowledge intensive”.

India is one of the world’s largest food producers with more than 20 crore people currently estimated to work in agriculture. Around 62% of farmers own less than one hectare of land, significantly increasing their exposure to the effects of crop failure, pests, disease and volatile market pricing

Vodafone also announced the expansion of its Farmers’ Club initiative in six countries and its equivalents in other emerging markets –Ghana, Kenya, New Zealand and Tanzania-over the coming year and in Turkey where it has been operational since 2009 and has already benefitted 1.2 million farmers, helping them to enhance crop yields and increase farm gate incomes.

The VodafoneFarmers’ Club is a social business model which offers a range of mobile services to help farmers boost productivity. Specific services offered under the Farmers’ Club  in each country will vary but will include information services, virtual marketplaces in which farmers can sell their produce and mobile money financial services and products.

Launching the Farmers’ Club  proposition across multiple countries, Vodafone Group Regional Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region, Serpil Timuray, said, “One-third of humanity relies on food grown by 500 million smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land. Mobile has a critically important role to play in increasing agricultural resilience and enhancing quality of life for some of the poorest people on earth. Our experience in Turkey has demonstrated how mobile services can transform farmers’ ability to increase crop yields, improve efficiency and grow farm gate incomes.”