Mobile services could boost the farm gate incomes of 70 million Indian farmers by US$9 billion in 2020, according to a new report by Vodafone.
Vodafone's Connected Farming in India report says that six simple mobile services could boost earnings by an average of US$128 a year for almost two-thirds of Indian farmers.
The first of these services are agricultural information services that provide early warning of weather events, information on the best times to harvest and advice on crop techniques to enhance yields.
Receipt services are designed to provide greater transparency in daily commodity supply chains, which improves efficiency and eliminates fraud for farmers.
"One-third of humanity relies on food grown by 500 million smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land," said Vodafone Group regional chief executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region Serpil Timuray. "Mobile has a critically important role to play in increasing agricultural resilience and enhancing quality of life for some of the poorest people on earth. Our experience in Turkey has demonstrated how mobile services can transform farmers' ability to increase crop yields, improve efficiency and grow farm gate incomes."
Payments and loans
Farmers can leverage payments and loans services to access simple and secure financial products and services using mobile money payment systems.
Field audit services enable auditors to move away from paper records and adopt instead electronic reporting using tablets and mobile data.
Local supply chain services enable small-scale producers to transact with local co-operatives through simple but robust information services and mobile money systems.
Smartphone-enabled services are designed to provide deeper functionality and richer sources of information than is possible using basic SMS and voicemail services.
"As the global population continues to expand, farmers have an urgent need to produce ever-increasing amounts of food without destroying habitats or depleting resources in a way which is unsustainable," added Serpil Timuray. "Smart and forward-looking initiatives such as the Vodafone Farmers' Club concept can make a real difference in addressing the global challenge of food production and security."
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