Lending Mobile to the Farmers

Mobile Usage in Vernacular Languages
When population is huge, and the agricultural space for feeding the population is very less, every farmer is concerned about the monsoons, weather report, type of seeds, type of soil, land irrigation methods, time of plantation and many more attributes. One reason might be the information inequality among the mass of the farmers that lead to an asymmetric information and hence devious results in farming.
What if now, the farmers were at a point that allowed them to be fully informed about the attributes beforehand via the suitable means of telecommunications? What if they received messages and information via their vernacular language in their handset? Bangladesh has successfully attributed a part of their success in transforming lives of the farmers, by providing a low cost carrier at the palms of the farmers.
Imagine this now. A few years later, a farmer receives a bundle of promotional calls and short messaging service in his mobile, regarding various attributes as mentioned above. With informed knowledge, he then goes about his farming in proper means.
Lets us now explore the advantages, disadvantages, risks, mitigation of risk or the final solution for the concept. Would a better solution proceed above others? Let us have a look.
Advantages
There will be better informed decisions, no doubt. Benchmarking in norms, calls and practices in farming would be there. Added benefits leading to crop rotation, and better yield would be there. There will be an introduction to better farming methods, as attained through symmetric information on the attributes mentioned above. Farmers will not be dependent on the weather or monsoon prediction. There would be a reduction of time, and wastage of the field usage. There would be a benefit to the microfinance companies, as they would bundle calls, promotions, seed information through voice short messaging services or text messages.
Disadvantages
There might be a stakeholder’s crisis, as the head village men might feel left out in decision making, as a dilution of power. Central Government has to bear the initial cost. Would there be an initial investment from the telecom carriers also? Guess, it is hard for them. To penetrate a village might be tough.
Risks
Acceptance of the Mobile might be a very hard task for the farmers, not so susceptible to technology. Then comes the making of the software and calls in every vernacular language, and the cost associated with that. In absence of a vernacular, how many people would be embracing the English language. Will there be an information plethora through mobile.
Mitigation
The mobile network and lending of mobiles at a subsidized rate requires low investment cost, and high usage. To support bandwidths of such nature would require investments and time from the Government. There should be a pilot project in a state, with a few villages on the radar. Proper incentives should be there, for the use of mobile. The middle men should be slowly abolished, taking in count the sarpanch and panchayat committee. Mobile school for farmers can also be started. The cost distribution can be done with BSNL.

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