TMCD-led Programme Using Mobile Phones Helps Farmers in India
A project by the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD) to use mobile phones in agricultural extension services in India significantly improved the speed and quality of service delivery, according to an impact analysis.
The Rural e-Services project, financed by the EPSRC, developed an information and business system that provided farmers in Madhya Pradesh, India, with expert advice on resolving problems with their crops using mobile camera phones. The project made it possible for farmers to discuss their challenges and get rapid responses using modern communication technology.
The project was carried out in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, the Overseas Development Institute and NGO Saral Services.
The impact analysis also found indirect benefits not only in greater awareness and knowledge of agriculture technology and information but also in terms of farmers' attitudes towards trying new technology in the future. Evidence from the evaluation suggests that disadvantaged farmers benefitted more from the intervention than those who are better off.
The impact analysis, based on randomised survey data, was carried out by TMCD Director Xiaolan Fu and Shaheen Akter of North-South University, Bangladesh.
The Indian government is now using a modified version of the concept and the technology for wider application.