GreenPHABLET and GreenSIM deliver personalised information to Indian farmers
ICRISAT has launched the GreenPHABLET, a low-cost phone / tablet computer combination for Indian farmers. It is water-resistant; shake-, dust- and shatterproof; readable under bright sunlight; and operates from -20°C to +60°C. It uses a customised SIM card, the GreenSIM
ICIRISAT has commercially launched the GreenPHABLET, a customized low-cost combination phone and tablet computer. The price is $299, and it has been developed by the ICRISAT Center of Excellence in ICT Innovations for Agriculture in collaboration with NUNC Systems, a company based in Hyderabad, India.
“The GreenPHABLET will allow information to be precisely targeted to individual smallholder farmers. This will help farmers purchase inputs at lower price, get a better price for their produce, and link them to markets, thus putting them on the path to prosperity,” said Dr William Dar, ICRISAT’s Director General, while launching the GreenPHABLET.
Info-entrepreneurs/extension professionals equipped with a GreenPHABLET serve as intermediaries, collecting information on registered farmers’ landholdings and cropping practices, and questioning the database to pull information on their behalf, supporting informed regular decision-making and monitoring.
“Real time information sharing between farmers and researchers enables farmers to improve crop productivity and researchers to collect accurate data in real time. This lays the road for future innovations in the field of agriculture,” said Sandeep Dega, Senior Director at NUNC Systems.
“This device acts like a mobile village knowledge center/common service center, enabling farmers to benefit from contemporary information and communication technologies and expanding Internet connectivity in remote rural regions,” said Dr Dileepkumar Guntuku, Director of the ICRISAT Center of Excellence in ICT Innovations for Agriculture. “It creates an ecosystem of services that will improve the quality and convenience of information dissemination and knowledge sharing among stakeholders,” he added.
The GreenSIM is a special SIM card that can be used with any mobile phone. Apart from regular phone services developing world smallholder farmers receive free messages about the weather and pest problems while sharing the most competitive agricultural input and crop prices. This has proven successful in pilot tests.
In its first six trial months of operation, the GreenSIM program has saved precious food supplies while improving farm incomes through timely messages to 40,000 rural subscribers so far – a level of uptake that exceeded all expectations.
“In 171 villages across three states of India (Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka), farm incomes have gone up since farmers can now compare prices of agricultural crops and inputs offered by both the traditional local agent and, now, via the GreenSIM,” says Dr Guntuku.
GreenSIM is also applauded for encouraging entrepreneurship at the grassroots level. Interested youths, farmers, women and unemployed community members act as “info-entrepreneurs,” selling GreenSIM cards, earning 10 rupees for each card and 2.3% of every mobile recharge coupon sold to the farmers.
The GreenSIM (previously trialed as Krishi Gyan Sagar and Krishi Vani) was created under a partnership between ICRISAT, mobile phone service provider Airtel, and the IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative).
Discussions are in progress for the device to be rolled out India-wide and to Africa.