‘Information’ – the magical potion for successful farming.
We are here to create. To create a better world for ourselves and for everyone. I am thrilled to present my idea as we deepen our understanding and explore the concept of agripreneurship. I am Suryakant Palve, 29, a Horticulture graduate and completed my post graduate studies in marketing management, and a young entrepreneur born and brought up in the Maharashtra state of India.
During my schooling days, I used to spend every summer vacation at the village of my maternal uncle. After having dinner together with entire family my usual question to my dear uncle at the end of story telling in the night was how come he knows everything about when to plant crops, when to irrigate and harvest the yield in the field. And he would say that you will have to learn it through experience, and you only gain experience if you have knowledge of something.
Today, the curiosity of that little child remained same but the question has changed. Now the question is what kind knowledge today’s farmers have inherited based on the experience of their past generation and is that knowledge efficient enough to sustain in today’s scenario. If not, what is the solution?
Here in our state, there are four agricultural universities which are accountable for the development of agriculture region under their working area. Scientists at these institutions have been successfully working on research and development of new agricultural technologies, improved crop varieties, etc. But if we ask farmers from the community about any such new development they are not aware of it. Problem lies in the dissemination of information. This causes the very purpose of such work to remain unfulfilled. Every year many batches of agriculture students graduates from these universities but the unfortunate thing is that they all receive their education in English language and the mother tongue of all citizens of the state is ‘Marathi’ language.
Next to this is when crop is in the field and farmer needs to undertake intercultural operations he shall be well informed in advance about climatic conditions. Indian meteorological department conveys the agro advisory and weather forecast on their website. But most of villages still do not have reliable internet connectivity. This leads to the crop failure because of unexpected pest and disease attack. Due to heavy financial losses, number of farmers committing suicides is alarming situation.
If farmer succeeds even after overcoming all these odds and get a good harvest, to get higher returns for his produce he needs to be aware of real-time market prices in different marketplaces spread across the state. But this market information is inaccessible to most the farmers. State government declares different schemes and subsidies for small and marginal farmers in order to avail them financial assistance and technical support. But the success rate of implementation on the ground level is low due to lack of knowledge about how to access this kind of assistance and also at some extent due to corruption in government machinery.
Group of farmers can successfully run small scale agro processing units if they are guided by experts who are involved in entrepreneurial development as well as experienced in agriculture and allied industry. This will lead to better returns for their produce which will have a long term positive impact on their standard of living and social development.
All these difficulties which are mainstream barriers in the way of growth and development of agriculture sector and farming community have one critical issue in common. And that is access to the right information anywhere at any point of time. In today’s digital world source of information is a critical factor which plays vital role in the success of any enterprise.
Well, after a thoughtful research I have been able to find solution to overcome all these barriers mentioned above and have tried successfully to implement it in the form of a android based mobile application named ‘KrushiSatta’ which has already gone live. It’s been a month and half since launch and while writing this blogpost, 287 users have installed it and the count is increasing. I have been working on my own to make it a successful venture. The word ‘KrushiSatta’ refers to Krushi+Satta. ‘Krushi’ (Marathi) means agriculture and ‘Satta’ means ‘Power’. Altogether it means the power of agriculture.
Most important aspect of this application is that it provides access to all information in the native language of the state i.e. ‘Marathi ‘. It aims to create an ecosystem of information exchange between all the major stakeholders like agriculture research community, agri professionals, industry experts, government and most importantly farmers involved in the development of agriculture sector.
While developing this application I have focused on most essential segments which provide valuable information to its users. There is a segment ‘KrushiShastra’ which provides the scientific and practical information on the application of latest technology for the successful farming business. It includes good agricultural practices, recently improved varieties of crops, integrated pest and disease management.
‘Bazaarbhav’ segment includes information on daily updated prices of different agriculture commodities at various principal marketplaces in the state. ‘KrushiHavaman’ segment informs farmers 5 days in advance of upcoming weather forecast and provides agro-advisory to undertake important activities on the farm as a part of intercultural operations.
Announcement of the agri schemes declared by the government are mentioned in another segment ‘Shaskiya Yojna’ from time to time. Agri-business related segment disseminates the information which includes different types small scale business opportunities like processing units, marketing and sales of food products etc. based on agriculture and allied industry.
Some of the most interesting features are expected to be included in near future like chat and messaging where farmers and professionals can directly communicate with each other and take the benefits of real-time information exchange.
When it comes to measure the success of this amazing mobile application, number of users who have installed this application and daily page views per segment can give an analytical view. In the rural areas where electronic media and print media fail to reach respectively due to the lack of electricity supply and poor transportation facilities, this application will serve every individual anytime anywhere with the help of mobile internet access.
From the monetization point of view, advertising revenue will make this application self sustainable and no repeated investment will be required. Financial grant can be utilized to accommodate costs like infrastructure and administrative expenses, application hosting charges, employee salaries, marketing and promotion expenses, and on revenue generation strategies. This application will be able to start yielding concrete output within six months of utilization of financial aid extended for this project.
Ideal example of such innovative and successful information technology entrepreneurship is the most popular search engine leader ‘Google’ which based on the information source, has dominated the number one position in the world of IT services.
I am very much confident that this project will help in capacity building of state farming community through the powerful information exchange which is possible with the help of using modern information and communication technology. And of course, it will also help me to gain a respectful position in the society as a successful agripreneur and lead the upcoming generation towards prosperous future of agriculture.
Our Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi under whose leadership Indian government has been actively working on e-governance to realize the dream of digital India and to build a better society.
Let’s bring together all the resources to build a healthy and harmonious society. Because we are here to create, to a create a better world for ourselves and for every human being we come in contact with.
You can also visit this link to have a look at my work.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Suryakant Palve (India) – sp.palve(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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