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How A Mobile Phone is Revolutionizing the Lives of Soya Farmers in Rajasthan

This article on using mobile technology for social good is part of the #Mobile4Good series & is made possible by Vodafone India.

This mobile-based project is not only helping soya farmers enhance their harvest but also connecting them to the experts and enabling them to access valuable information instantly. Here is all you need to know about how a mobile phone can revolutionize Indian agriculture.

Did you know that a simple mobile is almost doubling the soya harvest of women farmers in Rajasthan? Soya Samridhi, a mobile-based initiative by Self Reliant Initiatives Through Joint Action (SRIJAN), has made it possible through their interesting approach.

Thanks to this mobile-based intervention, the harvest per hectare has increased from 12 quintals to 30 quintals in just one year!

Soya Samridhi was started by SRIJAN to reach out to marginalized farmers.
Soya Samridhi was started by SRIJAN to reach out to marginalized soya farmers in Rajasthan

What is Soya Samridhi?

SRIJAN’s interesting mobile-based Soya Samriddhi project is helping women farmers manage their soya crops and get advice on relevant techniques and best practices from experts to enhance their harvest.

“The productivity of Indian agriculture is in a deplorable condition. Farmers don’t make enough profits and are struggling with poverty. We thought we should monitor each farm to see if farmers are using techniques prescribed by us and determine what is lacking,” says Ved Mitra Arya from SRIJAN.

From monitoring the growth of crops to providing solutions in case of crop failure, this service has had a tremendous positive impact on Indian agriculture.

Farmers also have access to expert advices, weather predictions and other crucial information.
Farmers also have access to expert advice, weather predictions and other crucial information.

How does it work?

The field representatives from SRIJAN register the farmers using a smartphone and create their profiles which have their primary details, land details, crop details, resource details, etc. This is followed by a survey that marks the field and measures the area to optimise input and increase productivity.

The team also checks details like seed rate, application of fertilisers, diseases in the crop, any irregularities and important areas of intervention. “Apart from getting crucial advice and tips, the farmers can also get help in tackling diseases in the crops. The SRIJAN team connects them with agricultural scientists who then provide timely solutions,” says Arya.

In addition to this, the mobile service dispatches information on price and weather forecasts and prediction or forecasts on harvests, which help farmers in harvest collection and better managing the allocation of warehouses.

SRIJAN has connected over 700 women farmers so far.
SRIJAN has impacted over 700 women farmers so far.

Who has it benefited so far?

Launched in 2014, the facility has reached out to over 700 women farmers effectively in 17 villages of Rajasthan. Apart from this, SRIJAN is connected with over 15,000 farmers in four states of India.

“Currently this mobile service is just available in Rajasthan for soya crops. But it can be easily be replicated for other crops in other states of the country,” says Arya.

The USP of this programme is that it reaches out to marginalised farmers with less than one hectare of land. “The government schemes mostly focus on bigger farmers, and small scale farmers are not benefitted from their services. This initiative reaches out to those farmers who need it the most,” says Arya.

Those farmers who do not have access to a smartphone can avail the facility through a text-based service, where the SRIJAN team gives out valuable advice, suggestions and help in Hindi.

The harvest of soya has almost doubled.
The harvest of soya has almost doubled for those using the mobile intervention.

What’s in store for the future?

“Many farmers can’t read, so we are planning to build a vocal component in the service that will read out the solutions to the farmers. But then, with dialect and language being different in every district, it is a challenge to come up with this feature,” he says.

The SRIJAN team also plans to start a peer-to-peer learning experience for the farmers. Through this feature, successful farmers will be profiled, honoured and publicised as case studies to give them a confidence boost and also encourage other farmers to follow similar techniques.

Thanks to SRIJAN, a simple mobile phone is creating a larger impact and helping Indian farmers to make the best out of limited resources.

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SRIJAN was awarded in the Agriculture and Environment category in the Mobile for Good Awards 2014 by Vodafone Foundation – India.

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