Accessing Agricultural Information through Mobile Phone: Lessons of IKSL Services in West Bengal

Ashutosh Das, Debabrata Basu and Rupak Goswami


Agricultural information is a key component for increasing agricultural production and productivity that leads to improved rural livelihoods and food security. In order to counter recent decelerating growth rate of agriculture, the challenges of infrastructural constraints, supply chain inefficiencies, and diffusion and access to information are to be addressed. In this context, increasing penetration of mobile network and widespread use of mobile phones, voice mail and SMS solutions could be an opportunity to make useful information available at the farmers’ doorstep. In West Bengal, IFFCO Kishan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) made an endeavour to disseminate information and knowledge amongst the farmers through voice messaging system in local language. However, its relevance, quality and timeliness have been an issue of serious concern to the farmers. The present study was also undertaken to explore the potential of this mobile- based voice messaging services provided by IKSL Green Card, to know the frequency of its messaging. The study was conducted with sixty randomly selected farmers, who were using IKSL Green Card, from two blocks of Paschim Medinipur district, West Bengal. The result of the study revealed considerable contact of farmers with the progressive farmers (43.3%) followed by IKSL (40.0 %) and input retailers (28.3%). In respect of frequency, quality and timeliness of the information provided by IKSL, farmers ranked fertilizer, pesticide and seed as Ist, 2nd and 3rd. Market information of agricultural produce was rarely covered by IKSL service. Farmers were mostly benefited from voice mail in adopting better agricultural practices followed by increased production and revenue, change in cropping pattern and connection to market

Keyword: Agricultural information;

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