Victor Sarkar, Kaushik Pradhan, Bankim Ch Rudra, Rakesh Roy, Subhajit Chakraborty, Biman Maity and Md Shajahan
Malda Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Uttar Banga Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ratua, Malda- 732205, West Bengal,
India's mobile internet holds immense potential for enhancing agricultural knowledge access among smallholder farmers. The imminent expansion of internet and social media usage presents a unique opportunity to disseminate agricultural information through platforms like Facebook, messenger & WhatsApp. WhatsApp, a popular tool, offers distinct advantages as a farming extension tool, though challenges must be tackled for effective utilization. The integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) through partnerships, government initiatives, and research has already begun to impact Indian farmers' lives, though obstacles like poverty, illiteracy, and resistance to new tech persist. Numerous farmers in India have experienced positive outcomes in income, produce quality, and market information accessibility due to mobile applications like WhatsApp. Recognized as a user-friendly platform, WhatsApp facilitates the exchange of localized information and acts as a query resolution forum. The paper aims to gather meaningful agricultural data for analysis and develop automated systems for needs-based agricultural information through WhatsApp. This involves collaboration between farmers, researchers, NGOs, and other stakeholders. An analysis conducted by Malda Krishi Vigyan Kendra involved 96 respondents divided into four groups, querying a total of 360 agricultural-related messages. Pest and disease management emerged as a prominent topic. WhatsApp has greatly aided in addressing both financial& social issues. The platform serves as a hub for farmers to seek advice and receive instant solutions. The study also presents a case study of an existing WhatsApp group, showcasing how it bridges information gaps within Indian villages. Analyzing chat logs reveals query patterns, offering insights into prevailing agricultural trends. By using chat logs as a foundation, this research demonstrates that Indian farmers leverage WhatsApp to connect with stakeholders, gaining economic and political empowerment. The platform grants consumers direct access to current and pertinent information, influencing decisions based on trends and preferences.