'Mobile Applications to Boost 7 cr farmers' Income by Over Rs 56k cr'

The Union Government will be soon introducing interactive voice response systems together with various other methodologies of integrating buyer-seller platforms through mobile applications to make mobile telephony the most potent and omnipresent tool for agriculture governance, administration and development.

"A large, stupendous scope of work is on the anvil to reach out to the farmer and to change his life," said Raghav Chandra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture while inaugurating a conference on 'Mobile: Transforming Agricultural Value Chains Enabling e-Kranti,' organised by the industry body Assocham in New Delhi.

"Increasingly there is the realisation that use of information technology has to become more pervasive and that is perhaps the only way we can achieve the next green revolution," said Chandra.

"That is why a national e-governance plan has been carved out also in the field of agriculture, this includes the use of internet, touch screen kiosks, agri-clinics, private kiosks, mass media, common service centres, kisan call centres, integrated platforms and others along with physical outreach of extensional personnel equipped with projectors," he said.

Talking about the significance of agriculture in India, the top government official said that 13.7 percent of India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is contributed to by agriculture and 56 percent of India's population is directly connected with agriculture.

He also said that the government is hopeful of achieving a higher rate of agriculture growth in the 12th Plan. "In the 9th plan we had a rate of growth of 2.5 percent, in the 10th plan of 2.4 percent which has grown to 4.1 percent in the 11th plan and we are hopeful that we will be able to achieve similar figures in the 12th plan."

Chandra also said that total volume of food grains being produced in the country have been constantly rising as it reached about 275 million tonnes (mt), milk production is a little more than the value of food grains and horticulture is again stupendous figure of 285 mt and exports are constantly rising and today they stand at about $45 billion.

"Introduction of simple mobile services designed to help small-scale farmers in emerging markets could boost farm gate incomes of seven crore Indian farmers by over Rs 56,000 crore by 2020," noted a Vodafone report titled 'Connected Farming in India,' launched at the Assocham conference.

"Average farming household lives on less than Rs 250 per day with many farmers struggling to feed and educate their families," noted the report.

"Simple mobile services could enhance earnings of almost two-thirds of such farmers by an average of Rs 8,000 per year thereby creating a positive impact in communities," it added.