This week, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) joins partners in India for the launch of the m-kisan project, part of an mFarmer Initiative funded by GSMA (the worldwide association of mobile operators).
In partnership with Handygo Technologies, a mobile value adding service provider for major network operators, ILRI will provide quality content mainly for small scale dairy, poultry and goat farming. With the additional information provided by CABI and Digital Green, the m-Kisan project will run in six Indian states for the next two years.
The project purpose is to develop a comprehensive agro-advisory service for smallholders using mobile devices. Different mobile channels such as voice and text messages and on-demand videos, a Farmer Helpline, including multiparty teleconferences will be used. This exciting suite of agricultural advisory services on mobile will offer affordable and effective advice to smallholders on relevant crop and livestock topics and provide a platform for service providers, interest groups and experts alike to exchange knowledge and experiences of interest for the majority of farmers in each area.
The mFarmer Initiative was launched in 2011 in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID. It exists to support mobile service providers, in partnership with public and private sector agriculture organisations, to utilise the mobile channel to extend the reach and improve the quality of information and advisory services for smallholder farmers in emerging markets. It is expected to reach two million poor farming households by 2015.
The mKisan project management team and GSMA mAgri management are meeting this week (26 – 28 June 2012) in New Delhi, India to kick off the India project. The group will discuss key strategies for marketing and developing crop and livestock content of the service, review the workplan milestones and agree on M&E procedures. The latter will be supported by GSMA by engaging a local agency that specializes in project M&E in rural areas.