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A REVIEW OF LITERATURE STUDY ON INFORMATION AND

COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES IN INDIAN


AGRICULTURE

Submitted to

(As part of partial fulfillment of M. Sc. (ICT-ARD) Program, Session 2009- 2011)
Worked at

IITMS Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI), Madras

Guided by
Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, IIT,Madras
And
Dr. Girja Sharan, Professor, M. Sc. (ICT-ARD) Program, DA-IICT,
Gandhinagar

Submitted by
Anil Kumar Sahu
(ID: 200913009)

May 2011


2

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Sl. No. CONTENTS PAGE No.
Acknowledgement 5
Executive Summary 6
1 Introduction 8
2 Objectives 8
3 Research Methodology 8
4 Results and Discussion 9
4.1 Understanding the status of existing ICT efforts in the Indian
agriculture
9
4.1.1 Mobile Phone/Telephone 12
(a) mKRISHI 12
(b) Kisan Call Centres 15
4.1.2 SMS based 16
(a) Reuters Market Light 16
(b) Nokia Life Tool 18
4.1.3 Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) 19
(a) LifeLine India 19
(b) IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) 21
4.1.4 Radio Dial-up and Broadcasts 22
Avaaj Otalo 22
4.1.5 All India Radio (AIR) and Television (TV) 24
Agromet Advisory Services 24
4.1.6 Community FM Radio 26
TNAU Community FM/e-Radio 26
4.1.7 Video-conferencing 27
n-Logue 27
4.1.8 Web 28
(a) Agriculture Knowledge Management in India (AKMINDIA) 28
(b) aAQUA 30
4.1.9 Multimedia 32
(a) Digital Green 32
3





(b) Interactive Multimedia Compact Disc (IMCD) 34
4.1.10 Online Video Channel 35
Kissan Information Dissemination and Networking, Kerala
(KISSAN-KERALA)
35
4.1.11 Print Media 37
Agriwatch 37
4.1.12 Phone based Information Portal 39
VoiKiosk 39
4.1.13 Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) 41
i-Shakti 41
4.2 Agricultural Advisory Information Systems 42
4.3 ICT based training for farmers 43
4.3.1 Multimedia based ICT Training for Farmers 43
4.3.2 Web based ICT Training for Farmers 45
4.3.3 Multi ICT based Training for Farmers 46
4.3.4 Radio Dial-up and Broadcast based ICT Training for Farmers 46
4.4 Challenges in Implementing ICT based Agri-advisory
Systems
46
4.4.1 Challenges in Web based Agri-advisory Systems 46
4.4.2 Challenges in Mobile Phone and Print Media based Agri-
advisory Systems
52
4.4.3 Challenges in ICT based Training for Farmers 54
4.4.4 Challenges in Voice based Agri-advisory Systems 54
4.4.5 Challenges in Multi ICT Agri-advisory Systems 55
4.5 Issues Related to Sustainability of ICT Efforts in
Agriculture
56
5 Conclusions 57
6 References 57
Annexure 72
4

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE NO. NAME OF FIGURES PAGE NO.
1 Number of ICT projects implemented by various
states in India
9
2 Number of ICT tools/media used for information
delivery system
10
3 Number of ICT projects by various organizations 10
4 Number of ICT projects launched in various time
periods
11
5 Types of services by ICT projects 11
6 Types of services by government (a) as well as private
(b) based ICT organizations
12
7 Number of ICT projects providing various kinds of
information
42


LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NO. NAME OF TABLES PAGE NO.
1 Project wise ICT based training for farmers 43
2 State wise name and number of ICT projects 72
3 Name and number of ICT projects with their mode of
information
73
4 Number of ICT projects along with ICT tools/media
and its organizations name
74
5 Review of ICT initiatives in Indian agriculture 75






5

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank all RTBI team for their kind support who made this winter
internship project report possible:-

Dr. Ashok Junjhunwala, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT,
Madras, for giving me a great opportunity to work with RTBI as an intern. His
kind help and support throughout the project made me a complete
understanding of ICTs initiatives for Indian agriculture. His valuable
guidance, suggestions and comments helped me in effective making of this
project report.
Ms. Suma Prashant for regularly evaluating my progress work and guided me
in effective making of project report. She always helped me when I faced
difficulties.
Dr. M. Ganesan who helped me at each moment of four months internship
period and he instructed, taught and guided me at each and every stage of the
project. He regularly advised me some useful corrections after reading and
evaluating my report. He continuously made me understanding in research
findings, analysis and finally report documentation preparation.

I would also like to extend our sincere thanks to DA-IICT faculties for giving insight
during my project:-

Dr. Girja Sharan, Professor, DA-IICT for his valuable comments and
suggestions during my project. Being my colleges project guide, he also
helped me in finding conclusion by making mirror copy of objectives of my
project.
Dr. Ranendu Ghosh, Professor, DA-IICT for his regular support and
motivation to me and he always rectified by doubt during my project. He also
helped a lot in making effective presentation slides by putting very relevant
information.


6

Executive Summary

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play a vital role in
communicating scientific and sustainable farming practices to the farming community
in time. In order to analyze and synthesize the research findings on the impact of ICT
on the farmers, it was determined to collect and review the literature on the existing
published results from various sources. The literature review has been designed with
the following objectives; to understand the existing ICT efforts in the Indian
agriculture scenario; to analyze agricultural advisory information such as cultivation
practices/marketing/Government programmes/inputs availability/ others etc; to
identify ICT based training for farmers; to review the challenges in implementing ICT
initiatives; to analyze issues related to sustainability of ICT efforts in agriculture.
Each objective was thoroughly discussed from the result of the paper published.

The literature review process was targeted particularly on the impact of ICTs in
Indian agriculture. The researcher have collected around 334 papers of which
about150 papers were selected and reviewed in depth suitable research articles and
reports focused on ICT in agriculture. The literature search was from internet source
as well as electronic journals and websites. At the end, the collected literatures were
arranged, explained and summarized according to objective designed.

From the literature study it was found that there were 64 ICTs initiatives being
implemented in India. Following are the ICT tools/media with number of projects;
mobile phone/telephone based (16); SMS based (10); Interactive Voice Response
System (IVRS) based (11); radio dial-up and broadcasts (1); AIR Radio based (1);
community FM radio based (3); video-conferencing (4); web based (51); multimedia
based (19); television based (2); online video channel based (1); print media based
(3); phone base information portal (1) and PDA based (1). The researcher summarized
the best one or in some case two ICT projects from each category which has
mentioned above. The best ICT projects have been selected on the basis of current
studies, award winning and latest innovation. Interestingly, it was observed most of
the ICT projects being implemented in Tamil Nadu (17) followed by Andhra Pradesh
(14), Karnataka (14), Maharashtra (12), Uttar Pradesh (12), Madhya Pradesh (11),
7

Punjab (11), Haryana (11), Kerala (10). These projects have come up with the effort
of private companies, government, cooperatives, academic institutions and NGOs.

With regard to agricultural information, these projects are giving following
information: weather data, market price, agri-inputs, pest and disease management,
soil testing, cultivation practices, fertilizer scheduling and recommendations, agri-
credits, e-agri-trading, crop insurance, cold storage availability, agriculture contents,
irrigation techniques, bio-fertilizers, vermi-compost, agri-news, animal husbandry,
crops tips, farm machinery, pre-and post-harvest etc. The generic information is also
giving such as microfinance, health, life insurance, education, Govt. schemes, e-
Governance etc.

Apart from agricultural advisory, farmers are also being trained by using suitable ICT
tools/media such as multimedia, web based systems and radio dial-up and broadcast.
There are various socio-technical challenged has been incurred during implementation
of the ICT project. The common challenges were frequent power cut, low bandwidth,
poor dial-up connection, poor telephone connectivity, illiteracy and hesitation of
farmers, lack of familiarity with computer/OS.

In addition to web, multimedia, radio, TV etc. mobile phone is having the number of
facilities and options and that would be great scope of innovations. Therefore several
ICT projects are now incorporating mobile phone as one of the ICT tools/media.
Intervention of GPS, GPRS, IVRS, GIS, Remote Sensing and wireless network
technology have created lot of scope to innovate with unique solution for problems
existing in Indian agriculture.









8

1. Introduction

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play a vital role in
communicating scientific and sustainable farming practices to the farming community
in time. In order to analyze and synthesize the research findings on the impact of ICT
on the farmers, it was determined to collect and review the literature on the existing
published results from various sources. The findings of review of literature study
would help the ICT innovators and scientific communities to tailor cost effective
technologies according to the local environment and need of the farmers. Hence the
present study has been designed with the following objectives:-

2. Objectives

To understand the status of existing ICT efforts in the Indian agriculture
To analyze agricultural advisory information
To identify ICT based training for farmers
To review the challenges in implementing ICT initiatives
To analyze issues related to sustainability of ICT efforts in agriculture

3. Research Methodology

The literature review process was targeted particularly on the impact of Information
and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Indian agriculture. The researcher has
collected around 334 papers/reports that were published between 2000 and 2010.
About 150 papers have been selected based on the relevant to the objectives designed
in this study and reviewed in depth. The literature search was done using Google
engine and browsed papers listed in electronic journals and suitable websites. Finally,
the literatures were arranged, explained and summarized according to thematic areas
based on types of research conducted (qualitative/quantitative, theoretical
frameworks, methodologies), location of research (countries, regions, local/national)
and types of research questions (venue operation, usage, impact). The review of
literature report is focused on research findings on venue operations, usage and its
impact.
9

4. Results and Discussion

4.1. Understanding the Status of Existing ICT Efforts in the I ndian Agriculture

From the present review of literature study it was found that there were 64 ICT
initiatives being implemented in India between 1998 and 2010.

The mentioned ICT tools/media in Figure 2 are mainly focused on information
disseminating related to agricultural practices including market price, crop production
and weather data. Interestingly, it was observed that most of the ICT projects are
being implemented in Tamil Nadu followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and
other states as indicated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Number of ICT projects implemented by various states in India


It was also found that most of the ICT projects have been implemented on web based
followed by multimedia, mobile phone, IVRS, SMS and others as shown in Figure 2.




17
14
14
12
12
11
11 11
10
8
7
7
5 5
4 4 4
4 4
4
3 3 3
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
N
o
.

o
f

I
C
T

p
r
o
j
e
c
t
s
States
State wise ICT projects
10

Figure 2: Number of ICT tools/media used for information delivery system


ICT projects have come up with the effort of Government, Private companies, NGOs,
Academic Institutions, Cooperative organizations, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs),
Private & NGO and Public, Private & Academic Institution. Government has
launched most of the ICT projects followed by private, NGOs and others as shown in
Figure 3.

Figure 3: Number of ICT projects by various organizations


51
19
16
11
10
4
3 3
2
1 1 1 1 1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
N
o
.

o
f

I
C
T

p
r
o
j
e
c
t
s
Name of ICT tools/media
Number of various ICT tools/media
0
10
20
30
24
17
7
5
4 4
2
1
N
o
.

o
f

I
C
T

p
r
o
j
e
c
t
s
Organizations
Organizations initiated ICT projects
11

There were various ICT projects that have been launched during successive years.
From Figure 4, it indicates that most of the ICT projects were launched in 2000
followed by 2003 and 2008. The researcher found that the total of 64 ICT projects for
Indian agriculture has been implemented during the period of 1998 and 2011. Some of
the ICT project, researcher could not find the launched year of the four ICT projects
and marked as NA in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Number of ICT projects launched in various time periods


There are various ICT initiatives which give services to farmers on paid as well as
free mode. It was found that out of 64 ICT projects, 64 percent projects are paid
mode, 31 percent are free mode, 2 percent are some free and some paid mode and 3
percent projects have no information on the same as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Types of services by ICT projects

2
2
10
5
1
8
8
1
6
2
7 7
1 1
4
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 NA
N
o
.

o
f

I
C
T

p
r
o
j
e
c
t
s
Year
Year wise ICT projetcs
Free
31%
NA
3%
Paid
64%
Some free & some
paid
2%
Types of services in ICT projects
12

The main ICT initiative has been launched by Government and Private Organizations.
Under Government based ICT projects has shown that 58 percent projects give free
services whereas Private based ICT project has shown that 89 percent projects give
paid services as figured out in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Types of services by government (a) as well as private (b) based ICT
organizations


(a) (b)
The researcher summarized the best one or in some case two ICT projects from each
category of ICT tools/media which has mentioned in Figure 2. The best ICT projects
have been selected on the basis of current studies, award winning and latest
innovation. The researcher went through the published articles and brought up the
case studies on each category of ICT tools/media and described in the following
headings:-

4.1.1. Mobile Phone/Telephone

(a) mKRI SHI (Banerjee, 2010; Suresh, 2011; TCS, 2010; TRI, 2011; Kumar, 2010)

The innovation lab at Tata Consultancy Services located in Mumbai has developed a
concept called mKRISHI. It involves various research components such as mobile
applications, wireless sensor networks, speech recognition and natural language
processing areas. This project was first piloted in Maharashtra state in 2009 and
consequently expanded to Punjab and Uttar Pradesh states also based on the outcome
in the pilot project. mKRISHI is a mobile and sensor network based agro-advisory
Free
11%
Paid
89%
Services of private ICT
initiatives
Free
58%
Paid
42%
Services of government ICT
initatives
13

system. The mobile phone is equipped with multiple features like sensors, camera,
global positioning system (GPS), and microphones which has enabled farmers to
interact with agri-experts. The information from all the sensors gets stored in an
integrated disease analysis console which can be remotely accessed by an expert who
can advise the sender of the query on further course of action. The application has
been designed for various Indian languages and successfully made possible for the
farmers to access the information at right time.
mKRISHI has also been using an internally developed and patented Interactive Voice
Response System (IVRS) type platform called Packet Interactive Multimedia
Response (PIM2R). It uses the inexpensive data channel for transferring rich content.
Mobile Agro Advisory System shows how several stakeholders such as farmers,
government, research institutes, agro based industries and content providers can be
connected for mutual benefit. TCS partners with wireless operators to allow farmers
to download the platform on high-end phones, and TCS has set up "mini-mobile sites"
that farmers can visit to have the platform installed on low-end phones. It also
facilitates web based services for farmers. It has been reported that m-KRISHI now
serves about 500 farmers but TCS believes at least 1,000 farmers benefit via the
farmers' social networks. The service cost for a farmer lie between Rs. 46 and Rs. 92 a
month.
In this project, farmers are allowed to send their queries related to agriculture to agri-
experts in their local languages through a mobile phone and receive personalized
advice or relevant information in the local language. It also provides warnings to
farmers about impending pest attacks, take preventive measures, using the ubiquitous
mobile phones. In addition to farming advisory, the Wireless Sensing Network
(WSN) collects details of the weather and soil parameters such as ambient
temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, soil moisture, soil temperature, wind
speed, and wind direction. These parameters are communicated to the server located
remotely through a wireless modem. The existing disease forecasting models are used
to compute the disease risk due to environmental factors. The application installed on
farmers mobile phone can be triggered from a remote location automatically to
collect symptoms of the various diseases affecting the crop. It requires the farmer to
answer simple questions about the disease symptoms with simple (Yes/No) inputs.
14

The collection of these inputs also leads to the computation of diagnosis severity and
effective decision-making by the expert.
The mobile phone sensors help farmers in capturing additional information regarding
the diseases present in the farm and microphone can be used to record the voice in
order to capture the context in which the images were captured. The GPS can record
the exact location in the field where the infection has occurred. These sensors are
helpful in rigorous analysis of the disease spread. Farmers can now receive
information on microclimate, local mandi (market) price, experts advice and other
information relevant to them like government policies, financial institutions, crop
insurance, fungicide, pesticide, seeds and cold storage availability on a mobile phone.
The mKRISHI application enable farmers to send queries, comprising of text, voice
and pictures, specific to their land and crop to agricultural experts, using their mobile
phones.
The mKRISHI ecosystem provides an integrated view of the farmers profile, farming
history and the required farm parameters on a console at a remote location to an
expert. Voice based querying system gives freedom to the farmers to ask any query in
their local (natural) language. After analysis of the available information, the experts
advice on the farmers query is provided on the farmers mobile phone. With the help
of developed Rural-Net (R-Net), a mobile phone based social networking
environment, rural masses can interact with each other by posting and browsing voice
microblogs in any language of their choice. The application also provides news feeds
in local language and information about cloud coverage, rainfall and temperature in
easy to interpret graphical format. Currently R-Net is available in its two variants
Gappa Goshti and Gappa Shappa, for Maharashtra and Punjab respectively.
The system helps in establishing farmers trust in the experts advice as it is
personalized. With the involvement of more farmers sharing the infrastructure, the
overhead cost will become manageable. The solution has rich content and media
formats, local language interfaces, voice messaging systems that are accessible to
semi-literate users. The technical adaptations and the business model of the Agro
Advisory System can be scaled to reach a large underserved population. It provides
another channel for stakeholders in the agriculture sector to address the base of the
15

pyramid market. Based on the outcome of mKRISHI project, they have planned to
scale up for various crops diseases and for different geographies in India.
(b) Kisan Call Centres (Sharma & Rao, 2005; IASP, 2011; DAC, 2010; Chanduka, 2007;
IBEF, 2004)

Kisan Call Centre (KCC) was launched all over India by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Govt. of India in 2004. The main objectives of KCC are to address the need of the
farming community making use of increased tele-density and Information
Technology, making professional help and information available to farmers at their
doorstep, on a toll free telephone number, putting the farmers directly in contact with
Agriculture Experts and making authentic field data available for Agriculture Policy
decisions by the authorities. It is on-line phone based expert advice system to all
Indian farmers by calling toll-free number 1551. Expert advice has carried out by
trained Agriculture Graduate (Level I) in the local language. If complex problem exist
then call transferred to State Agriculture University Scientist (Level II), State
Department Officials (Level III) and other responsible expert on-line.
The service is operational in all working days during 6.0 am to 10.0 pm. Farmers also
can call after 10.0 pm to till 6.0 am but during this time call can only recorded on
Interactive Voice Recording System (IVRS) and expert will give answer within next
three days. During 18 months of operation KCC recorded 10 lakh calls of farmers. As
on the year of 2010, 11 Kisan call center locations are operating successfully in the
country, which approximately attends 3500 calls per day. Since the inception of the
scheme, over 39.65 lakh calls have been received till January 2010 which included
31.22 lakh live calls and 8.43 lakh Interactive Voice Response calls. During the
current year, around 6.89 lakh calls have been received up to 31 October 2009.
All reports of KCC activities generates and available on internet managing through
Kisan Knowledge management System (KKMS). For example: data on replies to
farmers, best practices online, quick and easy access to information, quantitative
analysis. On an average over 70 percent of the questions from the first level expert get
forward to specialists (level II), wherever possible or required, the young graduate
simply routes a farmers call to the specialist through a teleconferencing facility. KCC
centres are at Mumbai (covers Maharashtra and Gujarat), Kanpur, Bangalore, Kochi,
Indore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata and Chennai.
16

According to latest statistics, KCC gives service in 22 Indian Languages (local) from
14 locations across India. It covers all fields of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry,
Fishery etc. Agriculture information includes market information, weather
information and considers local agro-eco factors on free of cost country wide help-
line for farmers. Problems of farmers countered firstly by level I (Agriculture
Graduates as Call Centers Agents (CCAs), if not then level II (Scientists from various
Agriculture Institutes as Level II support), again not then level III (Nodal Agency for
the State/ Agriculture Directorate of the State).
4.1.2. SMS based

(a) Reuters Market Light (Arora & Cummings, 2010; Kumar, 2010; BCA, 2011; Prakash &
Velu, 2010)

Reuters Market Light (RML) was promoted by Thomson Reuters. This project was
initiated in 2006 following full fledged operations from 2007 in Maharashtra. The aim
of this project is to facilitate greater transparency in the Indian agricultural markets
allowing individual farmers to increase their productivity and maximize their revenue,
and this new distribution channel helps to meet those goals. It provides highly
customized and localized agricultural information services via mobile phonebased
Short Message Service (SMS) primarily for RML subscribed farmers. Farmers
subscription is increasing anywhere from 300 to 2,500 subscriptions every day,
depending upon the day of the month or season. They have developed its own
voucher card along the lines of a mobile recharge card. RML now has a tieup with
mobile service providers and handset manufacturers like Nokia to distribute the
service. RML works wherever there is GSM network coverage.

The subscription-based service of RML provides each individual farmer with a choice
to receive information about over 150 crop types in more than 1,000 markets via
mobile phone messaging services. Since launching in October 2007, nearly 300,000
individual farmers across 15,000 villages have bought subscriptions to RML. RML is
planning to extend service throughout most of India by April 2011. RMLs service
was initially available in three states of India (Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab) and
the company has expanded sales to 13 states by the end of 2009. They are selling its
service through agricultural retailers, a model called RML Direct, which was
17

launched in February 2009. Now farmers of Maharashtra can subscribe to RML
through 2,500 retail outlets.

RML is providing up-to-date, customized commodities pricing information, weather
updates specific to their taluka in the early morning (7:30 am), market prices from
three selected mandis and tips as well as best practices of production related to
specific crops (chosen by the farmer) in the afternoon and also relevant national and
international news in the evening. There are also partnerships with agricultural
universities and institutes in Maharashtra and Punjab for crop advisory content such
as seed varieties, plant protection and fertilizer application.

Agricultural institutes share data free of cost, and the RMLs content team aggregates,
scans, and translates it into local languages. On an average, each farmer receives four
messages each day. Farmers can subscribe to services for 3, 6, or 12 month periods at
rates that amount to just a few Indian Rupees a day or Rs. 175 for 3 months. These
subscriptions can be purchased through a network of distributors, including post
offices, banks, seed and fertilizer dealers among others. RML has also developed a
voicemail service to serve the needs of illiterate farmers.

RML is having least technology-related challenges and remain easily accessible and
affordable. It has developed a partnership with Idea Cellular in Maharashtra and Goa,
Nokia for its Life Tools program and BioStadt India Limited. The RML service has
helped farmers increase their crop yields and improve productivity. Approximately
US$8,000 is the highest reported saving by a farmer according to the information
shared by RML. About 70 percent of subscribers have changed their behaviour after
using the technology. Their behaviour also got change such as when they harvest and
when and where they sell. Farmers gain information and knowledge and as a result
get more respect from fellow farmers and agricultural traders. Transport costs saved
by avoiding unnecessary trips to markets on days of suboptimal prices or unexpected
closure.

The prevention of crop wastage, excess usage of water, as in flood irrigation, and
availability of warehouses are other environmental benefits that could result from the
use of RML services. They also partners with Aadhar of Future Group, a rural retailer
18

group, oil exploration and extraction company Cairn Energy for better services. In
India alone, there are more than 250 million agricultural producers which represent an
estimated Rs. 22,450 million potential market opportunity. Although RML is still a
start-up enterprise that has yet to break even, sales of the service crossed the Rs. 44.94
million sales mark in 2009. Just a little over two years after launching the new
product, RML has reached nearly 300,000 subscribers in 12 states. The company was
planned to reach 500,000 subscribers by the end of 2010. RML has been so
successful, Thomson Reuters is eager to replicate the initiative in key African
markets. Without the support of top management, this project would not have
received the initial funding and support needed to make it a success.

(b) Nokia Life Tool (ICTupdate, 2010; Kumar, 2010; Nokia, 2008; Europe Nokia, 2011)

Nokia Life Tool was launched by Nokia India Private Limited in 2009 in Maharashtra
then it expanded as a commercial enterprise to provide agricultural information to
customers in 18 Indian states. The services are subscription oriented, where one pays
a monthly fee and some are chargeable on a per download/request basis. The SMS
based service sends basic text messages on an icon-driven interface; the delivery
system ensures that the service works wherever mobile phones work. It works
wherever there is GSM network coverage. It works across mobile network operators
(MNOs) like Airtel, Vodafone, IDEA, Aircel and BSNL.

Service is currently available in various languages (English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu,
Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, and Punjabi). Charges applied by
the operator may vary from operator to operator. The services are offered in two easy
to use packages: Basic and Premium. Users can subscribe to either of these packages
on a monthly basis. Each includes a number of services. The basic package includes
weather and news & tips. The Premium package includes weather, news & tips and
market Prices. Farmers in India pay 60 rupees per month and receive automatic
updates every day. When a farmer subscribes, which can be done directly from their
mobile phone, he or she gives their location, which crops they grow and their
preferred language. The user gets a filtered list of crops to choose from up to a
maximum of three and then selects from a list of 11languages for customers in India.
The service is currently only available on 11 phone models produced by Nokia. Some
19

handsets of Nokia for these services are Nokia 2323 classic and the Nokia 2330
classic.
The main motto of this project for agriculture is to empower with tailored information
delivered in synch with the cropping cycles and to get information on weather,
agriculture tips & techniques and market prices and improve productivity and
earnings. The information is customized to their location and crops. The information
provided by the service is also relevant to the season and to the stage of crop growth.
Getting the information at the right time (on how to protect a crop, which crops to
grow in that area, how to treat the soil between crop cycles) helps farmers to make the
right decisions about what to plant and when, and to reduce losses and optimize
income. It also offers an education service, which provides English language learning,
general knowledge and exam preparation tips. There is an also entertainment service
giving news, astrological reports and sports coverage.

4.1.3 Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS)

(a) LifeLine I ndia (Lall & Sahi; 2009)

The LifeLines India was launched in 2006 as an information delivery service at the
grassroots-Suchna Se Samadhan (Solutions through Information) by OneWorld
International Foundation (OWIF) in collaboration with British Telecom (BT) and
CISCO Inc. The main objective of LifeLines India was to increase livelihood and
income opportunities for Indian farmers with access to technology and critical
information, and take a step forward in the realization of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDG). Other organizations such as TARAhaat, ISAP and
Datamation Foundation also have been involved in the field implementation.
It was started in 700 villages in north and central India in the states of Uttar Pradesh,
Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, with Haryana joining in later stage and
covering around 2,000 villages across 23 districts. The Information delivery is
through digital platform, using the telephone as a primary medium for information
access and use. The service receives an average of 450 calls daily contributing to the
development of a database of more than 180,000 frequently asked questions.
Productivity and incomes have grown tremendously ranging from 25 to 150 percent in
some cases.
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The project mainly delivers critical information on mobile phone pertaining to
agriculture and animal husbandry to farmer. It is also extended to education.
Agricultural information includes insect, pest and disease management; seeds and
fertilizers; watershed management and micro-irrigation; livestock and organic farming
and available funding and Government schemes on loans and subsidies; banking and
insurance; market prices and region specific market information.
The farmer called a designated number from a mobile or landline to register his/her
agriculture-related queries using an IVRS. The farmer is then given a query ID and
prompted to call back 24 hours later for an answer. Answers to the queries are sourced
from a panel of agriculture and animal husbandry experts, or from the compilation of
earlier responses to similar queries that constitute the systems Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs) database.
Farmers pay a nominal fee of Rs. 10/- for this service. Revenue earned from call
charges is being used to offset part of the operating expenses of the service. Farmers
can also avail LifeLines online service by visiting the nearest information kiosks. The
web interface enables the farmer to access the database online, listen to audio clips of
frequently asked questions, and send digital images of diseased crops for remote
diagnosis and advice by experts. The user can also retrieve the answer in text format
from his/her village information centre.
The LifeLine India project has paid close attention to impacts, and has repeatedly
surveyed users as to outcomes. They have consistently found that users report
significant productivity and income gains. In 2009, the partnership is exploring how
best to assure long-term business sustainability for the service. A survey conducted by
TARAhaat among farmers in target districts to gauge satisfaction levels shows an
amazing increase in the number of satisfied farmers from an approximate 6 percent in
October 2006 to around 69 percent in March 2007.
Farmers have accepted the LifeLines India service as a valuable tool for information
exchange, and there is substantial evidence of its contribution to improved crop
productivity and sustainable farming practices. LifeLines Indias versatile and
dynamic application can be customized and adapted locally for information sharing in
other sectors, such as health and employment as well.
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(b) I FFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (Narula et al., 2010; Kumar, 2010; IFFCO, 2010)
IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) is a subsidiary unit promoted by IFFCO in
2007. It is mobile phone based communication in far flung rural areas of India. They
are tied up with Bharti AirTel to build and offer a platform for the farmers through the
cooperative society network. AirTel is to prepare a unique SIM card IFFCO-AirTel
Green Card. Marketing of this product is carried out by society and they get income of
Rs. 9500 per months through Green SIM Card. The call rates within the CUG (Close
User Group) would be just 50 paisa.
Through this service, all subscribers are provided five 1-minute voice-based messages
free of cost every day. Farmer can also access a toll-free helpline service (534351) at
the cost of Re. 1 per minute where they receive farm advisory messages and practical
inputs from experts. It is voice based messaging and works wherever there is GSM
network coverage. It covers 18 states, 51 zones and involvement of 17 content
managers and 57 experts.
Since inception 95156 total messages broadcasted, solved 80845 questions on
helpline and 4905 feedback got from farmers. There was 4,661,296 subscriber base up
to January 2010 and therefore increase of 16-25 percent in terms of yield. There was
also improved quality of crops, low input costs, higher produce price and increased in
procurement by 30-35 percent of Haryana State Cooperative & Marketing Federation
(HAFED).
Agri-experts of IKSL in the fields of agronomy, pathology, animal husbandry and
entomology help to generate and validate content related to agriculture. Agri-expert
guides the farmer on soil testing, fertilizer application techniques, insecticides,
pesticides and forewarning on pest/ insect attack, problem solving through the use of
help line, getting the optimum value on produce through Mandi rates would certainly
fetch him more return then his investment on mobile telephony.
The messages to be delivered to the farmer would be in the local language, as per crop
and area specific. A specially designed software has been hosted that would enable
recording of these voice messages and their dissemination among the local Green
Card users in a short interval. IKSL would also create a help line to seek assistance
for answering any query. IKSL intends to engage adequate number of consultant to
22

reply to any doubts, any questions or any clarifications. The emphasis of the content
to be disseminated to farmers is that it is local specific, dynamic and demand driven
so that it would be of local relevance.
For IKSL models to be sustainable in long run, new revenue generation sources
should be explored so as to achieve the expected scale. The success of these projects
requires strong commitment of all stakeholders involved especially the societies. For
content generation, the state agricultural marketing boards, local district authorities,
extension officials need to work together in co-ordination with local agencies to serve
the farmer better.
The success of this model depends upon the information sharing by market
intermediaries, farmers and kiosk operators and if implemented successfully, these
can bring revolution to the Indian farming system as well as improve the life of
farmers and then achieve financial viability. The company aims to make this model
financially viable by earning revenues through selling information related goods and
services. Accessibility, scalability, replicability and sustainability are strengths of
mobile based services for rural empowerment.
4.1.4 Radio Dial-up and Broadcasts
Avaaj Otalo (Parikh, 2010; Patel et al., 2008; Patel et al., 2009; Patel et al., 2010)
Avaaj Otalo (AO) project is a voice-based community forum for small farmers which
was built and deployed by IBM Research India Laboratory based in New Delhi
partnered with Development Support Center (DSC), an NGO in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The project was designed in 2008 and implemented in 2009 in Gujarat on a pilot
basis. Forum would help to the farmers for asking questions and browsing others
questions and responses on a range of agricultural topics. AO explores the use of a
voice message forum to provide interactive, on-demand access to appropriate and
timely agricultural knowledge accessed by using low-cost mobile phones. The project
allows farmers to access agricultural information over the mobile phone in Gujarati
language.
The application is also allowing farmers to receive timely and relevant agricultural
information over the phone. A user interacts with the system by navigating a
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hierarchical menu using isolated-word spoken commands. The announcement board is
a list of headline-like informational snippets, uploaded to AO by DSC staff or other
agriculture experts several times per week. The radio archive lets the caller listen to
archived radio programs produced by DSC on agricultural topics of current interest.
Finally, AO allows farmers to record their own questions, for review and response by
experts. These are implemented both isolated word speech and Dual-tone Multi-
frequency (DTMF) versions of AO.
Users could choose to record a question, provide an answer, or browse the existing list
of questions and answers. Users were limited to 30 seconds for each question or
answer they recorded. Broadcast announcements of general interest, including
messages about agriculture, animal husbandry, relevant government programs, market
prices and weather through announcement board.
The radio archive contained all previously broadcast programs, starting with the most
recent. Users browsed the archive by listening to 30 second summary recordings and
then choosing to listen to the full 15 minute program or continue browsing. Farmers
can record their questions using a toll-free number, which are replied to by other
farmers, or by experts working for the NGO. Farmers can also browse prior questions
and answers, finding responses to their queries or for general learning. The most
popular questions and answers are re-broadcast on a local agricultural radio program
for wider dissemination.
A total of 610 questions were posted. The most common were related to pests and
diseases (39 percent of questions). The system has averaged over 1000 calls per
month, with many of the answers being provided by other farmers (as opposed to
experts, reducing a significant information bottleneck). One farmer self-reported an
increase in income of over Rs. 1,34,475 due to information he obtained through the
system. Through this project, farmers learn and train on best agricultural practices, the
advice of experts, and the experiences of one another.
Result of AO project showed that despite the difference in task completion rate, there
was no significant difference in user satisfaction. In both groups (DTMF and Speech
input voice user interface), over 80 percent of users reported that they found it easy to
access information from the system. Over 75 percent of both groups said they would
definitely use such an application if it was made available. The overall task
24

completion rate with DTMF was significantly higher than with speech (74 percent vs.
61 percent; p < 0.05). In terms of difficulty, across all tasks, the percentage of such
responses was 49 percent for speech and 30 percent for DTMF (p < 0.05). When
specifically users were asked whether they faced any difficulty in providing input to
the system, 81 percent of DTMF users answered no or definitely no, compared to
38 percent for speech users (p < 0.01).
With speech input, the task completion rate was 42 percent when one or more
recognition errors occurred, compared to 67 percent when no errors occurred
(p < 0.05). Given the recent emphasis on designing limited vocabulary speech
interfaces for semi-literate users, it is notable that the only group who performed
better using speech for multiple tasks was the most educated group. This indicates that
less educated users may have more difficulty recovering from recognition errors.
Many farmers told that the ability to access information at any time would have a
significant impact on their farming practices.
A few farmers singled out the ability to share their personal experiences with other
farmers and with DSC staff as a key benefit of the system. The service was available
through a toll-free number, so that callers incurred no airtime costs, which were borne
by DSC. Another possibility is to generate revenue through selling advertising to
companies who target rural markets. Finally, it could be argued that AO increases
agricultural productivity, while being much cheaper to provide then traditional
extension, and so the government should subsidize some or all of the costs.
4.1.5 All India Radio (AIR) and Television (TV)
Agromet Advisory Services (MES, 2010; Rathore et al., 2009; Abdus Sattar, 2011)
Agromet Advisory Services (AAS) are provided by all the state government for
issuing weekly/bi-weekly bulletins. Agromet advisories have been regularly issued at
the state and district level for the benefit of the farmers. Based on past and anticipated
weather conditions and are broadcast by All India Radio (AIR) stations in the
respective regions in regional languages and also telecast through TV by Durdarshan
(DD) wherever the facilities exist. Central Government of India launched District-
level Agro meteorological Advisory Service (DAAS) in June 2008 as one of the
flagship programme of Ministry of Earth Sciences. The DAAS aims to generate agro
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meteorological information (weather forecast and agromet-advisories) and develop
suitable dissemination system, to the farming community in order to improve
crop/livestock productivity.
The DAAS is multidisciplinary and multi-institutional project. It involves all
stakeholders such as State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), Indian Council for
Agriculture Research (ICAR), Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK), Department of
Agriculture and Cooperation, State Departments of Agriculture/ Horticulture/ Animal
Husbandry/ Forestry (up to District level offices), NGOs, Media Agencies, etc. The
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has a network of 125 Automatic Weather
Station (AWS) and a large number of manual observatories.
Agromet Field Units provides district level weather forecast and advisories. These
advisory helps in crop protection and growth of crop. Weekly Medium Range
Weather Forecast for 630 districts was communicated through Regional
Meteorological Centres (RMCs)/Meteorological Centres (MCs) for preparation and
dissemination of Agromet Advisory Service bulletins. Weather based agro-advisories
are disseminated to the farming community at district level through mass media
(Radio, Print and TV).
Under AIR station (Darbhanga, Bihar), they are providing daily weather data with
advisory and also talked about crop condition, forecast and advisory on weekly basis.
This project is being implemented through a five tier structure to set up different
components of the service spectrum. It includes meteorological (weather observing
and forecasting), agricultural (identifying weather sensitive stress and preparing
suitable advisory using weather forecast), extension (two way communication with
user) and information dissemination (Media, Information Technology) agencies.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has started issuing quantitative district
level (612 districts) weather forecast of up to 5 days from 1st June, 2008. Based on
the weather forecast products and the crop information available from districts, the
AgroMet Field Unit (AMFU) prepares district-wise agro-advisories. The weather
based advisories, generated by 130 AMFUs, are being disseminated to the farmers
through mass media dissemination, Internet etc.
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Agromet Advisory Services are not limited to only radio, print and TV as medium but
information is also disseminating with Mobile SMS to the farmers. It has reported that
there were received 37 calls from farmers during 9 am to 12.30 pm (February 12,
2011) and also pointed that farmers are preferring telephone call as well as Mobile
SMS for mode of accessing weather information and advisory. A study conducted in
Bihar and the results showed that 40 percent farmers opined that AAS is very good
where as 40 percent farmers responded as good and 15 percent as satisfactorily.
4.1.6 Community FM Radio
TNAU Community FM/e-Radio (Vijayaraghavan, 2009; Kalaiselvan, 2009; The Hindu;
2011; Newkerala, 2011; TNAU Agritech Portal, 2010)
TNAU FM/e-Radio project was jointly initiated by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural
University (TNAU), Coimbatore, Media Lab Asia and World Development
Foundation in Tamil Nadu. This project was sanctioned by the Ministry of
Information & Broadcasting. The broad objective of this project is to share the local
agriculture information among local people through local language (Tamil). The
community radio station has popularly known as Velaan Palkalaikkazhaga
Vivasayee FM in Tamil (in English it is Agricultural University Farmers FM). It
broadcasts farming-related programmes. Functionally, Community Radio means radio
broadcasting with the objective of serving the cause of the community in the service
area by involving members of the community in the broadcast of their programmes.
The TNAU, Community Radio Station which has the coverage of 15 to 20 km radius,
has the feature of e component in it and hence the broadcast programme has
integrated into the e-Extension network. Handling Community e-Radio is an
interesting and creative task. All the three types of intelligence viz., abstract,
mechanical and social are judiciously utilized in this ICT tool for making the
programmes informative as well as interesting.
This creative medium is focusing on topics related to agriculture, health, environment,
education and community development. Latest farm technologies, market price of
commodities and weather forecasts are being broadcasted regularly. Besides, farmers
experiences and success stories, services of NGOs, and other educational programmes
27

are also being a part of the broadcast. Progressive farmers are sharing their
experiences through the FM radio that would encourage fellow farmers.
It established a social linkage by interfacing with faculty on the preparation of
training capsule on community radio as an effective ICT tools/media. They include
everything in his programmes such as instant reaction recorded, face to face with
scientist with minimum distortion. Under this programme there is effective utilization
of human resources. The listeners are asked to raise questions on particular
community issue. From this programme resource person himself is trained to operate
and listen his programme. There are three top most clients involved in Community
Radio Station (CRS). These are identifying information givers; identify information
seekers and channelize through CRS.
As on February 2011, nearly 300 hrs need based programme has been produced with
the active participation of people and scientists. They are planning to use this station
for agri-education, research highlights sharing and extension activities and many more
purposes in near future.
It could be tune at 107.4 MHz from 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day for exclusive farm-
related information. The FM is expected to benefit nearly 10,000 farmer families in
22 villages. The FM will be used as a grassroots medium to step up the TNAU's
potential for sharing information, knowledge and skills. The topics that will be
discussed in the radio channel will include agriculture, health, environment, education
and community development. The programmes of the radio will be uploaded on
TNAU Agritech portal (http://agritech.tnau.ac.in). With this, the voice format of the
programmes broadcast could be accessed from any part of the world.
4.1.7 Video-conferencing
n-Logue (Jhunjhunwala & Ramachander, 2006; Harris & Rajora, 2006; Jhunjhunwala &
Ramachandran, 2004; Paul, 2004; Sharma & Rao, 2005; Sharma, 2008)
n-Logue Communications Private Limited which was incubated by
Telecommunication and Computer Network (TeNeT) group of Indian Institute of
Technology, Madras (IIT-M) were providing agriculture information through video
conferencing from kiosks located in the villages in Tamil Nadu. This project came up
with the multiple partners such as Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI), n-Logue
28

Communication Private Limited, IIT-M, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
and Harvard University. This project was launched in April 2000 and expanded in six
others states (i.e. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh
and Rajasthan It covered approx 2000 villages across 30 districts in these states.
The major objectives of this project were to research and develop appropriate access
devices for rural Internet and telephony, to research and source other supporting
technologies such as alternative sources of power, to research and facilitate the
development of applications that will be useful to the users of the service in these
villages and to provide Internet and voice connectivity to rural India.
Apart from video conferencing for agricultural information, the experts were also
providing web based services on computer education, adult literacy, agriculture,
health, and e-governance. Kiosk operators also provided agriculture portal where
farmers can access information on weather, crop prices, and improved farming
technique and also they can sell tractors and spare parts.
Key factor for success of n-Logue project is an appropriate and enabling technologies,
dense network penetration and local franchisee, who were running the enterprise as
business. In one case, timely detection and diagnosis of crop disease in Okra remotely
by agricultural experts was able to save an entire harvest. n-Logue retains a
competitive advantage over its potential competitors because of its proven experience
to leverage relationships between its upstream and downstream partners. n-Logue has
developed a viable and scalable model for delivering information based services to
rural areas. Entrepreneurs involved in this project were earning upto Rs. 3200-6000/-
per month on an average in the area close to taluka and Rs, 500-1000 in the interior
rural areas.
4.1.8 Web
(a) Agriculture Knowledge Management in I ndia (Hugar, 2010; IIITM-K, 2010)
As part of Agriculture Knowledge Management in India (AKMINDIA) project, a web
based portal was developed in collaborative efforts of Indian Institute of Technology-
Bombay (IIT-B), Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) and Indian Institute
of Information Technology and Management, Kerala (IITM-K). They also created
29

social networking tool on this web for awareness on ICT in agriculture to universitys
faculty members, departments officers, NGOs, progressive farmers.
This project was launched in 2009 in Karnataka and Uttarakhand states with the
following objectives: to build multi-modal delivery of agricultural information
services including online decision support systems based on the learning from
KISSAN- Kerala project; building portal based applications like Online Fertilizer
Recommendation System (OFRS) for State Agriculture University (SAU) (decision
support systems); building Web-GIS based location specific weather information and
forecasting system for the selected KVK`s of two SAU partners; providing necessary
training and capacity building support for the development of appropriate multimedia
video contents, setting up the media lab and production process at each SAU and
developing relevant multimedia content for SAU to be used in KVK`s, as extension
material.
In this project, about 104 crop tips in the form of SMS were disseminated to over
10,000 farmers through mobile technology. It also provided 250 audio crop tips on 27
crops through web based system. There is crop doctor forum where complete
cultivation practices of 19 crops are available. In the social networking space, blog,
group management, files management, activity management and scheduler have been
introduced. Presently, number of crops added in Karnataka and Uttarakhand are 24
and 4 respectively. Number of farmers who used this service is 86 in Karnataka and
19 in Uttarakhand and number of OFRS reports generated are 271 in Karnataka and
56 in Uttarakhand.
This project mainly provides crop recommendations in bilingual languages and
providing scientific solution to queries within 24 hours in bilingual language by the
experts. Farmers can record their questions using a toll-free number, which are replied
to by other farmers, or by experts working for the NGO. Farmers can also browse
prior questions and answers, finding responses to their queries, or for general
learning. The most popular questions and answers are re-broadcast on a local
agricultural radio program for wider dissemination.
System generates online recommendation of fertilizers for a preferred crop type or
variety for a particular location based on the soil condition. The farmers/extension
personnel can take Nitrogen: Phosphorous: Potash (NPK) based soil recommendation
30

or soil test analysis based fertilizer recommendation for a preferred crop/location/area
of cultivation. The report contain details such as the soil amendments to be made,
organic manures to be used, also the quantity as well as frequency of use of
mixed/straight fertilizer. Web GIS based Soil Micro nutrient Information System in
Dharward district of Karnataka where farmers can access online visualization of soil
nutrients. Web GIS based location specific dynamic weather information and
forecasting for Karnataka and Uttarakhand states where farmers can access online
weather information and forecasting generated report. The positive results have
encouraged expanding other areas in near future.
(b) aAQUA (Ramamritham et. al., 2005; APDIP, 2006; Ramamritham, 2008; NAIP-ICAR,
2010)
aAQUA (Almost All Questions Answered) project is an online multilingual,
multimedia agricultural portal. Developmental Informatics Lab at Indian Institute of
Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has developed this concept. Vigyan Ashram and Krishi
Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Baramati took part in the implementation of aAQUA project
in Maharastra since 2006. aAQUA was deployed in a network of kiosks covering
about 30 villages around the Pabal area of Maharashtra. It is a farmer-expert question
and answer (Q&A) database and a user of aAQUA translations collection can choose
to view the questions and answers in English, Hindi or Marathi.
The offline version of aAQUA is created and can be personalized based on individual
or group profiles and access patterns. The offline version can also be searched using
the keyword search interface. aAQUA provides a language independent Agri-portal
and question-answer forum with textual, graphic and audiovisual elements to provide
a simple, yet rich interface accommodating novice users. Currently aAQUA is
delivered over kiosk networks, cyber centers and PCs via the Internet and also via
handheld devices. aAQUA content is free for use by academia.
The objective of this project is to disseminate information to users in a resource
constrained environment. Users can access aAQUA using a Web browser or Java-
compatible mobile phone to create, view, and manage content. Farmers post and
receive answers to questions via email and mobile phone text and search aAQUAs
documents via mobile phone, either by providing keywords in a standard search
interface or using an organized list of English and Marathi tags in the keyword
31

browser. Early February 2008, the aAQUA portal had received 12,052 posts and
626,015 views and questions have come in from 290 districts out of more than 600
districts in India. Any noncommercial user can browse the forums for free, although
users must register on the site before posting a question.
aAQUA can also be accessed without being connected to the site for forums, and
other pages. Because the content is stored on users computers and thereby avoids
network delays users can search and browse quickly. Offline aAQUAs local cache or
repository also updates whenever users connect to the Internet. Kiosk operators
charge less than 10 rupees per question. The goals of this project are database query
optimization and caching, cross-lingual multimedia information storage and retrieval,
and human-computer interaction.
aAQUA also has been made more substantial by adding SMS-aAQUA and Voice-
aAQUA, enabling experts to generate highly focused advisory and send them via
SMS and/or over voice. This integration of different techniques of communication has
been tried over a large scale (SMS: 17,000 farmers; voice: 26,000 farmers) for the
first time in India for agricultural extension purposes. Voice aAQUA was launched in
April 2009, was an innovation not originally projected but was built as a
supplementary platform. It was tested with farmers in Uttarakhand and Maharashtra
during AprilDecember 2009. Total of 990,000 messages were transacted with 26,943
farmers.
aAQUA project answers farmers queries based on the location, season, crop and other
information provided by farmers. Agricultural content repositories (digital library),
agri-price information (bhav puchiye), farmer schemes and various operations support
databases (aAQUA-QoS). aAQUA can be configured and customized for expert
advice over mobile networks and the internet in education, healthcare and other
domains of interest to a developing population.
An aAQUA question is posted either by a registered user directly or through a
telecenter/kiosk operator who has an account in aAqua. Bhav puchiyes market price
information is updated daily. aAQUA questions are replied in 24-36 hours. A local
help desk operator follows up with the farmer over a phone, a week after the answer
has been given, to check if the answer solved the farmers problem. The user can
create a login, store profiles of commodities and locations and create and receive e-
32

mail alerts when prices of certain commodities of interest change in the markets of
interest. Crops library consists of collections of crop diseases (Crop Doctor), crop
recommendations and translated aAQUA threads. The collections are built centrally
using open source software called Greenstone. Some agricultural and veterinary
problems are better addressed by photographs or audio and video files which provide
details to the expert. aAQUA allows attaching images taken by a digital camera or
scanner and experts can zoom to specific portions of the images.
The project has actively developed a range of strategic partnerships with relevant
institutions to scale up and expand the aAQUA related services across India. Further
growth is strengthened by the business revenue models developed by the project.
4.1.9 Multimedia
(a) Digital Green (USAID, 2011; Gandhi et. al., 2009; Gandhi et al., 2007; Digital Green,
2010)
Microsoft Research Indias Technology for Emerging Markets had been involved in
developing a Digital Green (DG) in 2006 and deployed in Karnataka state. Currently
DG has been working in four more states of India (Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar
and Orissa). DG has reached over 600 villages and 42,000 farmers and plans to extend
its work in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011. About 1306 videos were produced and it was
screened for 21216 times with over 45091 farmers involvement. DG seeks to
disseminate targeted agricultural information to small and marginal farmers in India
using digital video in local language (Kannada in Karnataka).
Investments included performance-based honoraria for local facilitators, a shared TV
and DVD player in each village, and one digital camcorder and PC shared across the
project area. DGs Web site provides functionality to search and browse the video
database and the DVDs used by the village facilitators provide a basic navigational
menu that lists the titles of the 10 to 15 videos on a single disc. There are unique
components of DG as (1) a participatory process for content production (2) a locally
generated digital video database (3) a human-mediated instruction model for
dissemination and training; and (4) regimented sequencing to initiate new
communities.
33

The main function of DG is involved in video repository included field
demonstrations led by agri-scientists, testimonials of progressive farmers, interactions
among farmers, and market-based opportunities. The videos averaged 10 minutes in
length. Video contents belonged to the broad categories of crop management, animal
husbandry, indigenous technologies, value-addition activities, bio-fertilizers, Vermi-
compost, pest management, composting methods, water management, and
entertainment. The video recordings can be grossly classified in the categories of
awareness, training, advisory, and entertainment. Recordings has made by teachers of
agriculture, scientist, NGO expert, field staff, progressive farmers and other
volunteers.
DG gives training through digital video in local language. The distribution of videos
from the DG database to farming communities is by physically mailing or couriering
DVDs. A group of farmers of particular village is provided TV and DVD player by
NGO field staff and managed by local farmers to dissemination of agri-information.
Most are willing to take only a short diversion from this daily routine between the
hours of 7 to 9 pm.
The night showings usually involve small groups of about 20 to 30 farmers that are
willing to come together at a common place within short distance of their homes.
These groups serve as informal farmer training schools in the evenings and are
complemented by field programs in daylight hours. The DG implemented in
Karnataka has increased the adoption rate of certain agriculture practices seven-fold
over a conventional training and extension approach.
With regard to cost analysis, it has been reported that DG was shown to be 10 times
more effective per dollar spent than a conventional extension system on a cost per
adoption basis. The video-based content improves the diffusion of better farming
practices and reduces the expert support required for each farmer. The proportion of
farmers that actually implemented the practice in their fields varied from 10 percent to
33 percent in any given month. A study sawed that an over seven-fold increase in
adoption levels with DG over the conventional model. DG effectively reduced the
costs of the entire agricultural extension system by 25 percent on a per-village basis.
DG system is able to multiply the value of a NGOs extension agents by a factor of 10
times per Rs. 44.94 ($1) spent. Local participants in video recordings can stimulate
34

greater acceptance and encourage local competition within a community. They charge
nominal fee (Rs. 2-4) per farmer per screening for revenue generation. Farmers
subscribe to the service as a part of their membership fees to farmer organizations,
such as producer companies, cooperatives, and self-help groups (SHGs) federations,
where they exist, and partners share upfront and recurring costs.
Currently DG depends on outside grants to replicate its model with NGO partners and
negotiates cost-sharing agreements with these partner sand the communities that they
work with. DG charges fees for technology development and training support services
to commercial partners.
(b) I nteractive Multimedia Compact Disc (Anandaraja et al., 2007)
Interactive Multimedia Compact Disc (IMCD) project was sponsored by Department
of Scientific and Industrial Research under Ministry of Science and Technology, New
Delhi and operated by Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology,
Agricultural College and Research Institute in Madurai of Tamil Nadu state. Project
was started in July 2006 and completed in December 2007 (18 months duration).
IMCD was a modern electronic gadget which demonstrates complex farm
technologies in simpler terms using text, graphics, audio and video.
The main objectives of this project were to study and document the technical know-
how required by women farmers in different ecosystem through participatory
approach, to promote women user groups based on the existing enterprise/commodity,
to develop a user-friendly IMCD on identified agricultural technologies and to assess
the perception of IMCD as a tool for transfer of technology from technology
innovation / generators / disseminators and user systems.
Under this project, around nine IMCDs have been developed in the scheme namely
System of Rice Intensification (SRI) techniques, Eriophid mite control in coconut,
integrated pest and disease management on tomato, vermi compost production,
mushroom production, integrated rat control measures, drip based sugarcane
cultivation technologies, hybrid maize production and hybrid rice production. IMCD
on vermi-compost production was the recently developed IMCD which elaborates
various techniques of vermi-compost production, vermi-culture production, inputs
required, cost of production, marketing outsource mechanisms and income benefits in
35

a comprehensive, interactive and user friendly manner. Using the IMCDs, latest and
updated agricultural technologies were transferred to the farmed women user groups
thereby increasing their knowledge and skill in local language (Tamil).
4.1.10 Online Video Channel
Kissan I nformation Dissemination and Networking (Ajith, 2010; Stockholm Challenge,
2010; eINDIA, 2009; Business Line, 2009; KK, 2010)
Kissan Information Dissemination and Networking, Kerala (KISSAN-KERALA)
project came under Kerala IT Mission and project was conceived, developed and
managed by Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala
(IIITM-K). It has taken a time of 6 months duration for deployment and 6 additional
months for services development, impact analysis, review, concurrent approval and
launch of phase. It is an integrated, multi-modal Agricultural information system. The
project was officially launched on 1st November 2003 (Kerala day).
The project solves the problem of content gaps by providing the authentic agricultural
information though various delivery methods like Television, Internet, Telephone,
Mobile and Online Video. The project offers Online Agri advisory service (dynamic,
multi-lingual portal based), Kissan Krishideepam (Television program-in local
language through Satellite channel), Online Agri-video Channel (countrys first online
video channel in Agriculture in collaboration with YouTube), Tele Advisory Services
(telephone based), mobile based Agri-Advisory services (text, voice and video based
contents) and dedicated online Agri video channel provides video on demand service.
The project has answered more than 18000 questions of farmers through online during
the last several months from the start of the project using the query management
service of the portal. Project has generated 32225 online soil test based fertilizer
recommendation advisory in local language for farmers and distributed to the farming
community in one year. The project has completed the production and telecast of 348
weekly episodes of television based agricultural program through Satellite channel.
The TV program reaches to more than 46 lakhs regular viewers every week. The
agriculture program has been aired through Asianet, the leading satellite channel in
Kerala. This project also allow to the farmers to listen radio programme on Radio
36

Kuttanadu in English and Malayalam. The project is managed by a team of
professionals from agriculture, IT and agri-journalism.
Farmers can seek the advisory from the expert scientists through online and get better
scientific advisory for their problems. It offers several services like crop advisory,
weather forecast, soil test information etc through farmers mobile. Mobile service
dedicated in PAN India based. TV based project has produced more than 1000 hours
of digital quality video materials on best farming practices, success stories of farmers,
women groups, technical information, method demonstration, organic farming etc in
Malayalam language.
General services are best farming practices, crop management advisory, weather
advisory based on GIS, market information, research highlights, information on Govt.
schemes/policies, on demand advisory services, fertilizers recommendation system,
post question for expert answer, panting material availability, answered queries,
fertilizers and pesticides. Kissan Krishideepam provides selective information
dissemination of best practices, success stories, departmental news, news on various
schemes, market analysis, cultivation methods, analysis of current issues etc. The
project produces and telecast a weekly television program (30 minutes duration) and
telecast three times over the leading satellite channel (Asianet) in Kerala.
Online Agri-Video Channel which becomes a single window access to all the
agriculture and allied topics for continuous learning for the farmers at free of cost.
Tele Advisory Services provides personalized advisory, dedicated telephone number
(0471-2700965) for the farmers. The farmers can ask any questions to the agricultural
scientists and seek expert advice for their crops. As part of this service, the project has
developed an extensive crop database across the state to provide location specific
advisory services. The SMS based agri-advisory services, enable the farmers to get
the information on very fast and it helps to provide location specific information and
alert services.
This project offers a unique kind of service for farmers to see online video channel.
There are more than 150 telecast quality full length videos in local language on best
practices, method demonstrations, and other scientific inputs for the farmers. There
have been around 923,187 upload views to this channel. Personalization of videos
happened according to the interest of the farmers. This project has technically
37

collaborated with Google and YouTube for providing online video channel. They also
provided crop specific play list and catalog on the internet. Users can also access this
video on mobile through General packet radio service (GPRS) / Wireless Application
Protocol (WAP) or Google Application Programmable Interface (Google API).
The impact of the project indicates that agricultural production in the state has
drastically improved during the last two years. The project has played a very major
role in the growth of agricultural production. eINDIA 2009 recognized exemplary and
innovative projects which demonstrate the use and application of ICT that have
transformed social development opportunities into sustainable social enterprise. The
integrated service delivery model is highly scalable.
The dynamic portal based services are highly scalable and easily replicable to any
other place. The entire applications have been developed using open source
technologies and has open architecture for scalable. An impact has been seen by
mussel cultivation being done by women Self Help Groups (SHGs) at Padanna village
in Kasaragod (1600 ton per year). Under new market opportunity, more than 2 crores
rupees market opportunity in Gulf countries arranged through KISSAN.
ICAR/CMFRI has granted for Seed technology Support for seed technology through
KISSAN.
4.1.11. Print Media
Agriwatch (Agriwatch, 2003)
Agriwatch.com was started by Indian Agribusiness Systems Private Limited (IASL)
and launched in 2000 as a private company with an investment of Rs. 3,14,58,000.
They give information via print media, SMS based and web based services to
agriculture stakeholders. Agriwatch has a better geographical outreach spread across
all the North Indian states. The main focus of IASL is provision of information and
knowledge-tailored to meet the specific needs of the target groups, which include the
small and marginal farmers, commodity traders, government agencies and NGOs.
They provide various products are as follows:
Agriwatch Farm Weekly in both Hindi and Marathi Edition launched in April
2000 which gives complete newspaper for the farming community and covers
18 different areas of interest to the farmer with annual subscription fee of Rs.
38

900 and sale has recorded mostly in small towns among farmers. The early
adopters were mostly the leader farmers in the area
Agriwatch Trade Weekly in Hindi Edition launched in July 2000 for small
traders located in upcountry markets and focuses on trade and commercial
information of importance to the trading community with annual subscription
fee of Rs. 1348
Daily/Weekly/Fortnightly Trade Research reports (on Email)-Trade Research
Reports cover several commodities such as Rice, Wheat, Maize etc with
priced at Rs. 2696, Rs. 4943 and Rs. 9437 for quarterly, half-yearly and annual
subscriptions respectively
Agriwatch on Mobile service launched in March 2003 aims at providing
timely and valuable trade information such as futures quotes, prices and news
to the subscribers by delivering the same on their cellular phones.
Commodities covered are Rice, Wheat, Maize, Oil Complex, Sugar, Pulses,
etc. For each commodity, the subscribers receive about 4 to 5 messages per
day on their cellular phone with price of Rs. 4495 annually
Agriwatch Monthly Magazine in both English and Hindi edition covering
Indian and International Agribusiness and Trade launched in March 2001. Its
main source of revenues was advertisements from the
companies/organizations, which was interested in targeting a particular
community and was thus priced only at Rs. 135 for an annual subscription
Membership of Agribusiness Portal www.AgriWatch.com launched in July
2000 to access a large amount of agribusiness related information covering 25
sub sectors within the Agricultural and Food Industry with charge range from
Rs. 1573, Rs. 3146 to Rs. 5617 for quarterly, half-yearly and annual
subscriptions respectively.
Agriwatch portal covers news and analysis, market prices from important domestic
and international markets, links to real time news services, live quotes from major
international commodity exchanges, ports and logistics, weather, agri-buyers guide,
agri-yellow pages, policy watch, legal watch, agri-links and many other sections and
most of the readers for the trade research reports and this service are common.
39

Since the Agriwatch model for service delivery was made commercially viable and
these were demand driven services, the probability of emergence of a sustainable
system was fairly good. They focused on content development and content selling. On
the content side, Agriwatch decided to do something different that distinguished it
from other portals in the Indian agribusiness sector. Instead of giving the routine,
static content, it decided to provide information that is time sensitive, analyzed and
presented in user-friendly format.
4.1.12. Phone based Information Portal
VoiKiosk (Agarwal et al., 2009; Manthan Award, 2008, ICTupdate, 2009; IEEE-HTN, 2009)
VoiKiosk project is a voice based portal or voice based toll-free interactive
information kiosk for a village and this service is available on the Telecom Network
and based on World Wide Telecom Web Technology. This project has designed and
developed by IBM Research to reach out to masses based on oral communication,
which is the forte of country like India. With partnership of Byrraju Foundation, the
pilot was deployed for villagers in the Juvvala Palam village in Andhra Pradesh,
South India and pilot launched in 2008. They have developed a kiosk template for a
group of villages in Andhra Pradesh.
This system can be accessed by a phone to provide a cost effective solution that is
easy to use by the less-literate people in rural areas particularly in local language
(Telugu). It was clear from the on-field interactions that a phone based information
portal that enables interaction through voice will be ideal from the end-user
perspective. Given the significant cell-phone penetration, a cell-phone based system
can be used to fulfill the information needs of these villages.
A VoiKiosk is a specific instance of a VoiceSite that can be used by villagers to create
and access locally relevant content. A VoiceSite can be thought of as a parallel to a
Website, but which can be accessed by dialing a phone number and information can
be listened rather than being read or seen. This can enable any illiterate person to
create her VoiceSite. Such a system enables easy local-content creation. All
information in the VoiceSite is stored as audio messages that are recorded by making
a phone call to the system. It can be a central point of access for a community where
information relevant to the community can be posted and accessed directly by the
40

users themselves. This solution doesnt rely on Internet connectivity which is most
often not available in the rural areas and most importantly, it allows end-users to
directly interact with the services, thus removing the dependence on the kiosk
operator. A kiosk operator is usually identified for the VoiKiosk. The kiosk operator
has permissions to add different categories, and also to add and delete information in
any category.
The VoiKiosk system is live, 24 hours a day and all seven days of the week for eight
months. During this period, the system received a total of 114,782 calls from 6,509
villagers. On an average, while there used to be about 50 calls per day at the start of
the pilot, the last week of the pilot has witnessed more than 4,000 calls every day. The
toll-free number was accessible from any telephone and required no registration.
Under this portal, the expert will be able to post his advice for the farmer on the
VoiKiosk, reducing the turn-around time to 4 hours unlike currently method where a
picture of the crop is taken and sent to an expert, who then sends a reply back to the
farmer through the foundation. During this current method, the turn-around time for
this process is 24 hours. VoiKiosk identifies farmers based on their caller IDs. Other
services are health, new programmes, local news papers, distant education
programmes, and professional services.
The system prompt that asked the following from the users: Do you want
information on Health or Agriculture or Ashwini Center Schedule or you want to
about the people in this village? VoiKiosk expected that people will respond by
saying either of Health, Agriculture, Ashwini Center or People. However the users
used to answer Yes or No. So VoiKiosk had to change the prompt to Please say
Health to know about health related information, or say Agriculture to know about
agriculture related information ...
The statistical analysis proves the acceptance of the VoiKiosk system by the villagers.
The next step is to get usability feedback directly from the users. The system was then
deployed live in a village in South India and researcher captured user statistics for 4
months. More than 900 users used the system over a period of four months. Users
made about 20000 calls to this VoiKiosk system.

41

4.1.13. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
i-Shakti (Lahiri & Majumder, 2011; ARP, 2010; HUL, 2007; Kramer et al., 2009)
In the i-Shakti project, PDA has been used for rural information in Nalgonda district
of Andhra Pradesh across 50 villages in the year 2000 in partnership with local Self
Help Groups and Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL). The objectives of this project
were the changing lives and boosting incomes in rural Bharat, to empower women in
remote rural areas and to enable HUL to reach inaccessible areas and thus to land a
win-win situation. Under Shakti project there are three initiatives such as Shakti
Entrepreneur, Shakti Vani and i-Shakti.
i-Shakti is IT-based rural information service was to provide demand driven
information and services across a large variety of sectors. In association with the
Andhra Pradesh Government's Rajiv Internet Village Programme, it has been set up in
400 villages in Andhra Pradesh and has been functional since August 2003.
Apart from Internet based services, Shakti project has extended his services for rural
people through PDA. PDA version of i-Shakti system that was capable of
disconnected operation and provided many of the services of the main PC based
system. This PDA based i-Shakti system was a CompaqiPad2210 PDA running
Pocket PC 2003, together with an IBM micro drive expansion card that offered up to
1GB of permanent storage.
The process of uploading data captured on the PDA and downloading any new data or
changes to the website is fully automated and integrated with the rest of i-Shakti
network. The PDA version of i-Shakti provides its customers and users a complete
enterprise web application in-a-box. The system uses an on-board database to
maintain its business data thereby allowing it to operate in areas where a connected
system would fail, for example where mobile communication networks are poor or do
not exist.
Synchronization of business data and resources between the device and its host
computer is fully automated, thereby ensuring that the PDA system is integrated
seamlessly with the rest of the i-Shakti system. In this project, users can access
information from existing databases on topics including agriculture, health, education,
42

and legal procedures. Farmers post their questions that are subsequently answered by
agri-experts. Users can access information through both kiosk as well as PDAs.
4.2 Agricultural Advisory I nformation Systems

The agricultural information with regard to crop cultivation aspects and also generic
information have been disseminated by using appropriate ICT tool. The agricultural
information are as follows; weather data, market price, availability of agri-inputs, pest
and disease management, organic farming aspects, soil testing, cultivation practices,
crop nutritional deficiency, weeds, fertilizer scheduling and recommendations,
suitable variety in particular regions, agri-credits, e-agri-trading, crop insurance, cold
storage availability, agriculture contents, irrigation techniques, bio-fertilizers, vermi-
compost, agri-news, animal husbandry, crops tips, farm machinery and equipments,
cropping pattern, pre-and post-harvest etc.

The generic information is mainly on microfinance, health, life insurance, education,
Govt. schemes, e-Governance, entertainments, employment opportunity etc. It was
found that maximum number of ICT project has concentrated on market price
followed by crop production, pest & disease and other as in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Number of ICT projects providing various kinds of information


0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45 41
38
36
32
26
23
16 16
15
14
13
11
8
5
4
3 3
2
1 1
N
o
.

o
f

I
C
T

p
r
o
j
e
c
t
s
Types of informations
Information provided by ICT projects
43

4.3 I CT based Training for Farmers

Apart from agricultural advisory systems, farmers are also being trained by using
suitable ICT tools/media such as Multimedia, Web based systems, Radio dial-up and
Broadcast. The details of ICT based training is given in Table 1.

Table 1: Project wise ICT based training for farmers
Sl.
No.
Name of project ICT tools/media Reference
1 e-Arik Multimedia Raj (2009)
2 e-Krishi Vipanan Multimedia (Video) MAP-IT (2006)
3 Tata Kisan Kendra Multimedia (Films) Talwar et al.(2005)
4 e-Agro Multimedia (Video) Garudachar (2010)
5
Skill development for e-
learning in agriculture
Web, CD/DVD eINDIA (2010)
6
e-Velanmai Multimedia (Video) Stockholm
Challenge (2010)
7 Digital Green Multimedia (Video) Gandhi et al. (2007)
8 e-Krishi Multimedia (Video, CD) Kelkar (2009)
9 Jagriti-e-Seva Web Sandha (2007)
10
Rice Knowledge
Management Portal
Web RKMP(2011)
11 Knowledge Share Centre Multimedia (Films) Nagasree (2010)
12
Interactive Multimedia
Compact Disc
Multimedia (CD) Anandaraja et al.
(2007)
13 AgriLine Web (audio-visual content) IASP (2011)
14 KISSAN-KERALA Web (Video) Ajith (2010)
15
Avaaj Otalo Radio dial-up and
broadcasts
Patel et al. (2010)

The ICT based training for farmers has been described in details as follows:-
4.3.1 Multimedia based ICT Training for Farmers: In e-Arik project, farmers are
getting training through farm multimedia shows and digital publication such as farm
advisory publications, survey report and news letter whereas e-Krishi Vipanan
(EKVI) project provides training facility for farmers at all mandis through video on
farming methods and also use it as an Agro Clinic when required. Similarly, Tata
Kisan Kendra (TKK) trained farmers through screening of films related to agriculture.
TKK also organize workshop for farmers in training halls (Raj, 2009; MAP-IT, 2006;
Talwar et. al., 2005).
44

Under e-Agro project, it has started agriculture vocational training initiative for small
farmers, where videos of agriculture best practices are being showcased to farmers.
The agro training provider accesses a library of Best Agro Practice Videos through
the internet broadband. These videos are structured as short clips that can be
downloaded on demand and shown. After viewing this video farmers interactively
post his queries (through the literate training host) and in time will receive feedback
from the many agro-experts who are virtually available through the web (Garudachar,
2010).
Digital Green (DG) gives training through digital video in local language. Videos are
available on the DG Web site (http://www.digitalgreen.org) and the principal means
of distributing videos from the DG database to farming communities is by physically
mailing or couriering DVDs. A group of farmers of particular village is provided TV
and DVD player by NGO field staff and managed by local farmers to dissemination of
agri-information. Currently 36251 farmers are involved. Most are willing to take only
a short diversion from this daily routine between the hours of 7 to 9 pm. The night
showings usually involve small groups of about 20 to 30 farmers that are willing to
come together at a common place within short distance of their homes. These groups
serve as informal farmer training schools in the evenings and are complemented by
field programs in daylight hours (Gandhi et al., 2009; Gandhi et al., 2007).
Under e-KRISHI project, farmers are trained though on demand video shows.
Farmers can also avail CDs which are covering topics on agriculture, animal
husbandry, fisheries etc through e-Krishi Kendra (EKC). Further, another project
called as Knowledge Share Centre (KSC) trained farmers through Display
Announcement Package (DAP). It displays the information with voice input which
can serve the needs of illiterate farmers. KSC used to screen the films for farmers that
create awareness of the improved technologies. Till March 2010, 2456 films are
screened among all the clusters. Similarly, Interactive Multimedia Compact Disc
(IMCDs) project which gives latest and updated agricultural technologies are being
transferred to the farmed women user groups thereby increasing their knowledge and
skill in local language (Tamil) (Kelkar, 2009; Nagasree, 2010; Nagasree, 2010 ;
Anandaraja et al., 2007).
45

Another ICT project named as e-Velanmai project which run a video film explaining
the process of technology transfer, implementation and success stories of agricultural
practices running to 8 min in English and Tamil video is uploaded in the website
www.evelanmai.com which also briefs about the scheme activities with photographs
(Stockholm Challenge, 2010)
4.3.2 Web based ICT Training for Farmers: Warana wired project allowed farmers to
use intranet-based e-learning program which is menu driven with a variety of software
applications while India AgriLine project provides intensive training offered by EID
Parry through high audiovisual content on the internet to make accessible even to
illiterate farmers and also helped in the rapid diffusion of the ICT. Farmer also can
learn agriculture content in details via e-Learning project of TNAU offers agricultural
education to special groups of rural people in general and school dropouts small and
marginal farmers and women in particular (Harris & Rajora, 2006; IASP, 2011;
Palanisami, 2007).
Jagriti-e-Seva project is providing training material about the Medicinal and Aromatic
Plants (MAPs) in Punjab. It has been prepared and provided on the Jagriti kiosk
network. The material is menu driven, in local language and takes extensive support
of pictorial presentation. Each crop also has a frequently asked questions (FAQs)
section that is a repository of farmers questions and experts answers. The kiosk
software provides for filling up of an online form in case a farmer intends to adopt
cultivation of MAPs (Sandha, 2007).
KISSAN-KERALA project offers farmers to see online video channel. There are
more than 150 telecast quality full length videos in local language on best practices,
method demonstrations, and other scientific inputs for the farmers. There have been
around 923,187 upload views to this channel. Personalization of videos happened
according to the interest of the farmers. This project has technically collaborated with
Google and YouTube for providing online video channel. They also provided crop
specific play list and catalog on the internet. Users can also access this video on
mobile through General packet radio service (GPRS) / Wireless Application Protocol
(WAP) or Google Application Programmable Interface (Google API) (Stockholm
Challenge, 2010; Ajith, 2010).
46

Rice Knowledge Management Portal (RKMP) provides e-learning platform with at
least 5 courses in Hindi and English. It also provides synchronous on-line training
support and asynchronous knowledge support (RKMP, 2011).
4.3.3 Multi ICT based Training for Farmers: Skill development for e-learning in
agriculture project developed digital products like multimedia, vocational modules
and e-learning in training and education for agriculture stakeholders. Innovative
courseware and content for the benefit of large number of users for delivery made
through internet and CD/DVD (eINDIA, 2010).
4.3.4 Radio Dial-up and Broadcast: Through Avaaj Otalo project, farmers learn and
train on best agricultural practices, the advice of experts, and the experiences of one
another through radio dial-up and broadcast (Patel et al., 2010).
4.4 Challenges in I mplementing I CT based Agri-advisory Systems
Despite the achievements in the ICT based agricultural projects, there were several
socio-technical challenges observed which have been reported in the following
headings:

4.4.1. Challenges in Web based Agri-advisory Systems: The web based agricultural
advisory system that has been implemented as part of e-Arik project in tribal areas of
Andhra Pradesh revealed the electricity was the main issue and frequent power cut &
regular telephone out of order and road blockage were also observed during the rainy
season in their initiatives (Raj, 2009).
The project called Bhoomi which is one of the ICT initiatives in Karnataka state
provide online land records to the farmers who can access the information when they
required. In this initiative, they faced difficulties in converting the manual copies of
land records in to web based system due to number of inaccuracies and
inconsistencies. The non-uniformity of data structures in those manual records and
multiple languages across the state were pointed out as some of challenges. There was
huge resistance to change from an exploitative system of land records which had
operated for more than 300 years. It was big challenge to change the mindset of
10,000 revenue officials, VAs and RIs, and 1,500 officials from other departments.
No exposure of computer technology for the revenue officials was considerable
challenge during project implementation. There was also reported that lack of public
47

acceptance of the deliverables of the project (such as trust in the legal validity of the
computer printouts) amongst 6.7 million farmers. Finally, no doubt major power cuts
(6 to10 hours a day) also hindered the project (Harris & Rajora, 2006).
The e-Choupal which is one of the longest ICT projects in India provides agricultural
information through web based system faced lot of challenges. Frequent power cut,
poor connectivity and low bandwidth were some of the major challenges. During
power cuts, e-Choupal operator usually used battery for power supply but due to
limitation of battery backup they did not able to complete his job. Imparting skills to
the first time internet users in remote and inaccessible areas of rural India were also
posed high challenges. It was reported that a big resistance was found from agents and
the brokers during initial phase of implementation. It was also reported that when
electricity was lost, phones cease to function to connect internet and also no local
support staff to maintain or troubleshoot telephone exchanges. It was also observed
that transmission speed was so slow that it renders Internet access impractical. Users
lack of familiarity with the operating system was led to technical challenge. Another
challenge was found that support staff had been the malfunctioning of equipment due
to voltage fluctuations.
In the initial stage of e-Choupal project, there was hesitation by the farmers, but no
direct resistance. Another challenge was to build personalized content, catering to
individuals with a wide range of income levels and information needs. Imparting
training to the kiosk operators (Sanchalaks) on the use of the computer has also posed
some problems and hence it has taken a minimum of two months for them to learn
how to use computers. One more challenge was to recruit a suitable person from each
village who has leadership qualities and minimum education (ITC e-Choupal, 2011;
Kumar, 2005; Annamalai & Rao, 2003; Harris & Rajora, 2006). Most of e-Choupal
project challenges were also reported by n-Logue which is one of incubated
companies in IIT Madras (Paul, 2004; Jhunjhunwala & Ramachandran, 2004).
Village Knowledge Centre (VKC) was implemented by MSSRF in Pondicherry for
proving web based information on agriculture and its allied activities. It was found
that the fishermen hesitate to learn from the knowledge worker, as they feel skeptical
about both their knowledge as well as opt for self-learning software to gather the
48

skills. Insufficient number of mobile phone availability at nominal fee for assessing
the market price was also shown the major challenge (Govindaraju & Mabel, 2010).
e-Sagu project is a web based application of IIIT, Hyderabad. It advices on pest
disease management and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices through agri-
expert. The farmers had showed poor response to agri-expert advice due to lack of
confidence on them. For example: Farmer had prevailing notion that the application
of wettable sulphur will result in flower dropping. Lack of adequate confidence of
farmers has been seen in the project in the beginning stages. The adoption rate was
quite discouraging in the beginning. A few farmers did not take enrollment in the
beginning due to their casual attitude towards the project. It was reported that when
the coordinators were visiting the fields for taking the photographs, it was noticed that
the single set of batteries were not sufficient and therefore, they are provided with
second set later (Reddy et. el., 2005).
Samaikya Agritech Private Limited was launched web based application by
establishing Agritech Centre in Andhra Pradesh. It provides technical assistance to the
registered farmers. It was observed that one centre closed down within three months
of opening as no farmers registered for the service. This was due to the pressure
placed on them by local marketers, financiers and suppliers of inputs who perceived a
threat to their livelihoods from the competing Samaikya Agritech Centres services. It
was also reported that farmers were told that any who registered with the centre would
not receive credit or essential supplies (Harris et. al., 2003).
Warana Wired project was launched by Warana Cooperative Society in Maharashtra.
It is a web based application and providing market price, agricultural schemes and
crop technology. It was found that the standardization of databases at the sugar
cooperative was an initial challenge. Other challenge was that software prepared by
NIC was upgraded many times to facilitate smooth functioning of services on the
network. The main challenge was kiosks have been managed by government servants
which has created a situation where the services were available at the kiosks only on
working days between 10 am and 5 pm. As in other ICT based project, here also they
found power shortage in rural areas (Harris & Rajora, 2006).
In the Gyandoot project which was launched by Govt. of Madhya Pradesh is
providing information on agricultural crop prices, online registration of applications
49

for obtaining copies of land records, an online public grievance system and a village
auction site. They have reported that slow and unreliable dial-up connectivity and an
irregular power supply and had forced additional investments in power backup
(Bhatnagar et al., 2003; Harris & Rajora, 2006).
In TARAhaat project that was launched by Development Alternative (NGO) in Uttar
Pradesh. It provides weather forecasting, procurement services, sales negotiations and
other services. It has been reported that the project was faced difficulties as
Government departments did not support the NGO initiative as originally expected.
There was major challenge that the returns from the rural kiosks were miniscule
compared to the investments made by private entrepreneurs. Another challenge was
that the project which was also depended heavily on e-commerce activities, which
could not be realized in the project area (Harris & Rajora, 2006).
In the Uttamkrishi.com project which was started by Chambal Fertilizers and
Chemicals Limited in seven states of India. It gives information on crops and
agronomic practices. It was observed that infrastructure constraints (electricity /
power, AMC provider), facilitator required (due to low skill level of farmers),
availability of products (as suggested by the experts), revenue model for the facilitator
and tangible benefits for the company were some issues related to major challenges
(Prasad, 2006).
The Community Information Centres (CIC) which was launched by Government of
India in Sikkim provides information on agriculture prices and other agricultural
market information to farmers. The main challenge was that they faced lot of
difficulties because the people in this area were poor knowledge in computer
operation. Another challenge was a lack of IT-skilled manpower in these areas has
also been a major stumbling block in driving the technology and its impact down to
the communities (Harris & Rajora, 2006).
e-Velanmai project was launched by Government of Tamil Nadu under public model
where the farmers were offered free without any membership fee collection and later
it converted in to paid model based on the initial experiences. In this project, they
found that there was difficulty in sending large number of photos per day through
internet to the project expert team set up at TNAU because of the large file size. The
great difficulty to give the training as most of the farmers were aged, illiterate and
50

found it difficult to grasp the knowledge and skill in handling ICT tools/media
(Stockholm Challenge, 2010).
Krishinet project was launched by Government of Madhya Pradesh. It is providing
information on agriculture recommendations, packages of practices, farm
management practices, rate, supply and availability of agriculture inputs like seed,
fertilizer, pesticides, implements and bio-products. The greatest challenge they found
was geographical spread of the number of outlets/offices where project has been
implemented. The co-ordination and monitoring of progress of different components
of project was the key challenge. The existing e-readiness and IT literacy status of
departmental officers, employee was another big issue. The general attitude of
rejecting and questioning the success of new technology in rural condition has created
road blocks during requirement collection and implementation of project (Sharma &
Jain, 2009).
Infothela project was initiated by Media Lab Asia, IIT-Kanpur. It serves the purpose
of education, entertainment and provides agriculture based information, weather
information, health care information, government information. It has found that the
first model of Infothela project was originally designed for pedal power generation
which was inadequate to supply power for computer system. Another challenge it has
faced that the layout of the Infothela was not convenient for storing a Genset and
other computer accessories. Therefore, a need was felt to make another model to meet
the needs of Infothela more efficiently (Media Lab Asia, IIT-K, 2007).
I-Kisan is launched by Nagarjuna group of companies in both Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu states but portal has information for other states too. From users point of
view, about 50 percent of the beneficiaries expressed about lack of timely location-
specific information on I-kisan portal. A majority of the users (above 60 percent) felt
that inadequate infrastructure facilities including electricity and telephone at the
village level led to frequent poor internet connectivity in kiosks which hampered
access to online information (Adhiguru & Mruthyunjaya, 2004). I-Kisan is a private
venture and a bias towards resource-rich and bigger land owners was observed (Meera
et al., 2004).
aAQUA project was launched by IIT-Bombay in Maharashtra. The challenges during
aAQUA project was organizing and harvesting the meta-data from many aAQUA
51

content. It has arised due to the heterogeneous data in aAQUA (both textual and non-
textual elements), improper grammar and spelling (requiring corrections) and at times
manual choice of metadata. Yet another challenge was the number of variables that
makes each farmers question unique even though they may be expressed in similar
ways on aAQUA. Another issue was temporal validity of historical answers in the
database. The challenge with providing many repositories (although related) was that
of organizing and updating the content. One another challenge was that the leased line
was the weakest link in the delivery of data from the Internet (Ramamritham et. al.,
2005; APDIP, 2006).
AGMARKNET was launched by Agriculture Informatics Division of National
Informatics Centre (NIC) in all India Constrains have been found in AGMARKNET
project are complexities involved in system integration while dealing with different
vendors. Many of the markets are located at below district level where, in general, the
communication system in the country is not reliable enough to enable implementation
of web based data entry applications over dial-up lines. Farmers and other
functionaries in the markets are usually familiar with local language only.
Due to lack of prior experience with computers, the market personnel would initially
require onsite support. Before publishing on the internet, the daily data received from
various markets are hosted on intranet of Directorate of Marketing and Inspection
(DMI). The doubtful information, if any, is segregated and published only after cross
verification with such markets. The identification of markets to be covered under the
project is left to the State Marketing Boards/Directorates. Sometimes, unimportant
markets may also figure in the priority list due to communication gap. Many of the
markets are expected to suffer from poor power supply and voltage fluctuations. State
Marketing Boards/Directorates have to ensure timely availability of road permits for
ensuring smooth delivery of various hardware and software items at the sites. The
project has to be managed with the existing staff. No additional posts can be created
for this project (Suri, 2005).
e-Krishi project was launched by Kerala State IT Mission in Kerala. It gives
information on weather information, market price, soil testing, input services, agri-
trade centre (through farmers registration as well as buyer registration), resource
library, government forms, IT education at e-Krishi Centre (EKC). It was found that
52

fear of sales and income tax, language (portal only in English), non availability of
commodities, lack of storage facility, fear of trading through the net (Not seeing the
buyer), inability to honour forward posting due to natural calamities and fluctuation of
market rate and menace of middle men (Kelkar, 2009).
The e-Village project is giving information on farm agri-advisory services, local
market, weather information, village adoption schemes, networking all existing
Agricultural Service providers. The challenge has only having Adi tribal dialect and it
is hindrance to use Internet based content. Other challenges are electricity (irregular
supply of power at village), content (collecting appropriate agricultural technological
content was the problem) and Internet (frequent failure of telephone based internet
connectivity) (eINDIA, 2010). Lack of e-awareness and distance between villages
accessibility of centres to farmers are also an important challenges (Kathiresan, 2010).
4.4.2. Challenges in Mobile Phone and Print Media based Agri-advisory Systems:
Warana Unwired project provides agricultural information through mobile phone. It
has been reported that the tiny key pads on mobile phones were not the easiest method
of input for typing long strings of text, particularly for adults. They have also
observed that SMS-based system is entirely dependent on the availability of the server
(Veeraraghavan et. al., 2007).
In mKRISHI project which is also providing warnings to farmers about impending
pest attacks and take preventive measures. It has been reported that developing the
image processing algorithms for enabling auto detection of a particular symptom from
the received images was one of the major challenges. Forecast the spread of the
disease based on early detection and measurement of the winds direction and speed
was another challenge (Suresh, 2011; TRI, 2011).
Agriwatch project is providing through both print media and mobile phone the timely
and valuable trade information such as futures quotes, prices and news to the
subscribers by delivering the same on their cellular phones. The major challenge was
that to go beyond Hindi and Marathi into the other vernacular languages for providing
service. The project was identified 6 languages are critical such as Bengali, Oriya,
Telugu, Gujarati, Tamil and Kannada. This challenge was raised due to investment
required for 6 languages will be about Rs. 1,46,05,500 (Agriwatch, 2003).
53

The Reuters Market Light (RML) project gives information on providing up-to-date,
customized 54 commodities pricing information in 270 mandis (crop wholesale
markets), weather updates specific to their taluk in the early morning (7:30 am),
market prices from three selected mandis and tips as well as best practices of
production related to specific crops (chosen by the farmer) in the afternoon, and also
relevant national and international news in the evening. It has faced challenges such
as poor infrastructure in rural areas, creation problem of personal distribution (directly
contact with farmers) and content networks (Collecting information), illiteracy, lack
of knowledge and skills of farmers to use voice activated services. For distribution
channel of this services RML involved in direct sales method and the post office
channel failed to produce satisfactory results. After initial reluctance and questioning
its viability, the farmers were receptive to the idea of RMLs service (Arora &
Cummings, 2010; Kumar, 2010).
The telephone based agri advisory services in Krishak Help Line Service project
provides information on farm-related problems and clarifies their doubts. It has faced
difficulty due to the poor telephone infrastructure, low literacy level and weak
communication skills also inhibit using this service. A study shown that about 50
percent users opined that this service offers answers to only simple queries of the
farmers and provides solutions only to instant problems like recent and suitable
varieties, seed rates, date of farmers fairs and farmers trainings. About one quarter
of the farmers stated that private telephone booths in the villages did not encourage
making calls to this Help Line Service since as it was a toll-free service (Adhiguru &
Mruthyunjaya, 2004).
The Dynamic Market Information (DMI) project is giving information on daily
market prices (both wholesale and retail). The main challenge they found was that
they struggled to identify a right kind of person for market analyst. If one market
analysts is absent / resigned, the daily data for that particular market is lost. Another
challenge is poor rapport with traders. Many traders were not accepting this initiative
and reluctant to provide daily rate. Market analysts faced difficult situations to collect
the personal information of the traders, like name, kind of commodity which is
transacted by them and contact numbers (eINDIA, 2010).
54

4.4.3. Challenges in ICT based Training for Farmers: In the Skill development for e-
learning in agriculture project, it has been reported that skill imparting to a domain
specialist in agriculture having minimal IT background to develop and manage an e-
Learning web site and daunting task too (eINDIA, 2010).
Digital Green (DG) was initiated by Microsoft Research Indias Technology for
Emerging Markets team. It is multimedia based application and available video
contents related to crop management, animal husbandry, indigenous technologies,
value-addition activities, bio-fertilizers (Vermi-compost), pest management,
composting, water management, and entertainment. They observed that project has
faced challenge like some farmers may be hesitant to be perceived as leaders in
certain audiences (Gandhi et. al., 2009; Gandhi et. al., 2007).
Interactive Multimedia Compact Disc (IMCD) serves video content on System of
Rice Intensification (SRI) techniques, Eriophid mite control in coconut, integrated
pest and disease management on tomato, vermicompost production, mushroom
production, integrated rat control measures, drip based sugarcane cultivation
technologies, hybrid maize production and hybrid rice production. It has faced
challenges of non cooperation of farm women, poor interest of village leaders, male
dominancy, selection and promotion of user groups (farm women) and problem in
conducting participatory exercises. The farm women were not allowed to assemble in
a common place and organizing the user groups for orientation training due to male
dominancy. These users habituated of paying incentives for trainings conducted by
government and NGOs (Anandaraja et. al., 2007).
4.4.4. Challenges in Voice based Agri-advisory Systems: Tamil Market (TM) project
which provides information through voice based mobile phone on weather, market
prices for ten crops and rainwater collection techniques to users. It faced several
challenges during its implementation. These challenges were illiterate villagers were
more reluctant to participate in the pilot study and had greater difficulty restricting
their input to recognizable forms, despite explicit prompts, but reported confidence
that with training they could operate such a system (Plauche et. al., 2006; Plauche &
Prabaker, 2006).
Avaaj Otalo (AO) project is a voice based community forum to access relevant and
timely agricultural information. The users expressed discomfort speaking single word
55

commands, which was perceived as unnatural. Talking to the computer was an
unfamiliar idea. Difficulty has been found in recovering from errors made by either
the system (recognition error) or the user (bad or no input). For accurate speech
recognition, it needs to be calm, quiet environment and easy dialing (placing the
dialpad in front of users). Challenges related with Dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF)
were one difficulty with the DTMF interface which was in transitioning between
dialed inputs and speaking and which was required in the final task for recording the
users question and personal information. A difficulty across both modalities was
navigating command-driven menus and knowing when to provide input. Every
spoken prompt was followed by a beep to indicate that input was requested. The
prompts did not explicitly mention the beep, and many users either gave input too
early or not at all. This system has very limited navigation features. Indexing and
search of complete voice transcripts is likely to be infeasible for low-resource
languages and there are obvious privacy concerns. Voice communications is
traditionally one-to-one or one-to-many but not many-to-many (Parikh, 2010; Patel et
al., 2009).
4.4.5. Challenges in Multi ICT Agri-advisory Systems: KISSAN-KERALA project is an
integration of all media like web base, mobile phone, multimedia, online video
channel, radio, TV. It gives information on crop advisory, weather forecast, soil test
information. In this project, they found that most of farmers in rural areas and other
remote places still dont have access to internet or computer. Delivering the
information services to these farmers to their households in an affordable way was
one of the technological challenges of this project. Bringing various stakeholders into
a common platform and convince them to work for a common goal were one of the
most important challenge. It was another challenge they have faced while setting up
the quality standards for the services (authenticity and reliability of information).
Maintaining the quality of a media program and meeting the expectations of the
viewers are also a considerable challenge. The quality standards and catching visual
presentation of Asianet channel has been another important quality challenge. To
maintain continuous relationship with the farmers and give them support throughout
their activities was another challenge (eINDIA, 2009).
The Knowledge Share Centre (KSC) which gives information on crop cultivation
practices, agri-inputs, farm mechinary, crop diagnostic kit, market information has
56

faced many challenges. Continuous up gradation and integration of emerging novel
simplified communication technologies in e-Extension initiatives. Another main
constraint is to convergence of state department, Agricultural University Research and
Extension Programmes with KSC (Nagasree, 2010). In the i-shakthi project where
they have also incorporated the Personal Digital Assistant with the existing internet
based information advisory, it has been reported that there was a data loss in PDA
based system due to battery failure which is commonly reported in PDA systems
(TTC, 2009).
4.5 I ssues Related to Sustainability of I CT Efforts in Agriculture

In order to sustain the ICT based projects, revenue generation should be considered as
one of the important factors. In several ICT initiatives, they charge some nominal fee
from the users towards registration as well as advisory purpose. Raj (2009) suggested
that ICT project can be financially sustainable after minimum of two years of starting
particularly in tribal areas because people in a village and other stakeholders need to
understand potential and benefits of ICTs during the course project period. In
participation with local self governance called as Panchayati raj systems and various
grass root level organizations such as Self Help Groups (SHGs), farmers association
that has shown unique solution to attain sustainability (Sharma, 2006).

Some additional services other than agricultural advisory systems such as computer
education for children, PCO, daily consumers goods, stationary items, training camps
etc. should also be incorporated. e-Krishi Vipanan project generates revenue through
advertising in rural needs. The projects should also need Government support in
technical and financial aspects until it gets sustainability.

Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is a few workable options to achieve
sustainability (Sharma, 2008). Reddy (2005) suggested to develop consortia of
different academic institution such as ICRISAT, IARI, IIIT, other State Agricultural
Universities (SAUs). Use of free and open source software (FOSS) must be user
friendly and easily accessible to low skilled farmers. Recruiting people having
diploma or degree holders in agriculture is also important as this would work an
interface between ICT platform and farmers for effective delivery of agri-services
(Meera et al., 2004).
57

5. Conclusions

From the present review study, it has been found that the penetration of internet in
rural area is still low as compared to urban areas. It was also reported that wherever
presence of internet that needs great skill to operate computer. This was one of the
high challenging tasks in ICT based projects. In view of increasing mobile phone
users, it has been suggested that mobile phone could be effectively utilized for
farming advisories. With the advent of new technology such as 3G mobile, the
number of facilities and options has also increased and that would be great scope for
innovations. Therefore several ICT projects are now incorporating mobile phone as
one of the ICT tools/media.
Intervention of GPS, GPRS, IVRS, GIS, Remote Sensing and wireless network
technology have created lot of scope to innovate with unique solution for problems
existing in Indian agriculture. Multimedia based system is user-friendly ICT
tools/media for training to the farmers in local language. Electricity, poor telecom
connectivity and low bandwidth, education level of farmers showed major challenges
in ICT projects. Revenue generation is major points for attaining sustainability of ICT
projects and this can achieve by giving additional services such as computer training,
selling of Fast Moving Consuming Goods (FMCG), stationary items etc.
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72

Annexure
Table 2: State wise name and number of ICT projects
S.
No.
Name of
States
Name of ICT projects
No. of
ICT
projects
1 Kerala HORTNET, KISSAN-KERALA, e-KRISHI, DMI, e-Choupal,
Akshaya, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET
10
2 Karnataka Raita Mitra Kendras, Digital Green, I-Kisan, AKMINDIA, DMI,
Bhoomi, e-Choupal, n-Logue, Agri-Kiosk, KMV, IKSL, Agriwatch,
Agromet, AGMARKNET
14
3 Tamil Nadu TNAUAGRITECH portal, m-Velanmai, e-Velanmai, AgriLine,
Jfarmindia, e-learning, I-Kisan, Tamil Market, DMI, IMCD, e-
Choupal, n-Logue, VKC, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet,
AGMARKNET
17
4 Pondicherry AgriLine, VKC, Agromet, AGMARKNET 4
5 Andhra
Pradesh
COW, Skill development for e-learning in agriculture, AVS,
VoiKiosk, I-Kisan, e-Choupal, n-Logue, e-Sagu, Jananis AgriServe,
Agritech Centre, i-Shakti, IKSL, Agromet, AGMARKNET
14
6 Maharashtr
a
m-KRISHI, aAQUA, RML, I-Kisan, e-Choupal, n-Logue, AgriFone,
Nokia Life Tools, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET
12
7 Madhya
Pradesh
uttamkrishi.com, Digital Green, EKVI, e-Choupal, n-Logue,
Gyandoot, LifeLine India, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet,
AGMARKNET
11
8 Gujarat uttamkrishi.com, Avaaj Otalo, n-Logue, IKSL, Agri-Kiosk,
Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET
8
9 Rajasthan uttamkrishi.com, e-Choupal, n-Logue, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet,
AGMARKNET
7
10 Uttarakhand aAQUA, AKMINDIA, Agromet, AGMARKNET 4
11 Uttar
Pradesh
m-KRISHI, TARAhaat, uttamkrishi.com, I-Kisan, e-Choupal, Agri-
Kiosk, TKK, LifeLine India, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet,
AGMARKNET
12
12 Arunachal
Pradesh
e-Arik, e-Village, Agromet, AGMARKNET 4
13 Himachal
Pradesh
Lokmitra, LifeLine India, IKSL, Agromet, AGMARKNET 5
14 Orissa e-Agro, Digital Green, I-Kisan, IKSL, Orissa, Agromet,
AGMARKNET
7
15 Chhattisgar
h
uttamkrishi.com, IKSL, Agromet, AGMARKNET 4
16 Bihar Digital Green, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET 5
17 Jharkhand Digital Green, IKSL, Agromet, AGMARKNET 4
18 Haryana uttamkrishi.com, RML, I-Kisan, e-Choupal, Agri-Kiosk, TKK,
LifeLine India, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET
11
19 Punjab m-KRISHI, TARAhaat, uttamkrishi.com, RML, I-Kisan, Jagriti-e-
Seva, TKK, IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET
11
20 Sikkim CIC, Agromet, AGMARKNET 3
21 West Bengal IKSL, Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET 4
22 Goa IKSL, Agromet, AGMARKNET 3
23 Assam Agriwatch, Agromet, AGMARKNET 3
73

Table 3: Name and number of ICT projects with their mode of information


Sl.
No.
Mode of Information Name of ICT projects
No. of
projects
1 Mobile phone/Telephone
based
m-Velanmai, e-Velanmai, Agriwatch, m-KRISHI, COW, KCC, aAQUA, KISSAN-KERALA, e-KRISHI, VKC,
Jananis AgriServe, Nokia Life Tools, Krishak Help Line Service, Digital Mandi, Infothela, Uttamkrihi.com
16
2 SMS based TNAUAGRITECH, aAQUA, RML, KISSAN-KERALA, AKMINDIA, DMI, AgriFone, Nokia Life Tools,
Warana Unwired, Digital Mandi
10
3 Interactive Voice Response
System based on mobile
phone
m-KRISHI, KCC, aAQUA, VoiKiosk, Tamil Market, Avaaj Otalo, AgriFone, IKSL, i-Shakti, LifeLine India,
KSC
11
4 Radio dial-up and broadcasts Avaaj Otalo 1
5 AIR Radio based Agromet 1
6 Community FM radio based TNAUAGRITECH, KISSAN-KERALA, VKC 3
7 Video-conferencing TNAUAGRITECH, e-Velanmai, n-Logue, AVS 4
8 Web based e-Arik, TNAUAGRITECH, e-Velanmai, Agriwatch, COW, AgriLine, Jfarmindia, Raita Mitra Kendra,
TARAhaat, Uttamkrishi.com, e-Agro, Skill development for e-learning in agriculture, e-learning, CIC,
aAQUA, KSK, Krishinet, Infothela, Digital Mandi, AVS, I-Kisan, aAQUA, Jagriti-e-Seva, HORTNET,
AGMARKNET, KISSAN-KERALA, RKMP, AKMINDIA, e-KRISHI, KSC, DMI, e-Village, Lokmitra, EKVI,
Bhoomi, e-Choupal, n-Logue, Akshaya, Agri-Kiosk, Lokmitra, VKC, e-Sagu, Jananis AgriServe, Agritech
Centre, KMV, TKK, Gyandoot, i-Shakti, LifeLine India, Warana Wired, Keltron
51
9 Multimedia based e-Arik, TNAUAGRITECH, m-KRISHI, COW, AgriLine, e-Agro, Skill development for e-learning in
agriculture, aAQUA, Digital Green, KISSAN-KERALA, e-KRISHI, IMCD, Agri-Kiosk, e-Sagu, Jananis
AgriServe, AgriFone, LifeLine India, KSC,AVS
19
10 Television based Agromet, KISSAN-KERALA 2
11 Online video channel based KISSAN-KERALA 1
12 Print media based Agromet, Agriwatch, e-Arik 3
13 Phone base information
portal
VoiKiosk 1
14 PDA based i-Shakti 1
74

Table 4: Number of ICT projects along with ICT tools/media and its organizations name
Sl.
No.
Name of ICT tool
No. of
project
Name of the organization
1 Mobile
phone/Telephone
16 TNAU, Govt. of TN, Tata Consultancy Services, ViDAL Foundation, Ministry of Agriculture, IIT Bombay, Media Lab Asia (IIT-K),
Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd, CSAUAT (Kanpur), Kerala IT Mission, MSSRF, Janani group of company, Nokia India
Private Limited
2 SMS 10 Indian Agribusiness Systems Pvt. Ltd., IIT Bombay, Media Lab Asia (IIT-K), Thomson Reuters, IIT-Kanpur & IIITM-Kerala, C-
DAC (Hyderabad), Nokia India Private Limited, Warana Cooperative Society, VaudioPhone Corp
3 Interactive Voice
Response System
11 Tata Consultancy Services, Ministry of Agriculture, IIT Bombay, IBM Research, ICSI & TIER, IBM Research India Laboratory &
DSC, CRIDA & I-Kisan, OneWorld International, Hindustan Unilever Limited, IFFCO, VaudioPhone Corp
4 Radio dial-up and
broadcasts
1 IBM Research India Laboratory & DSC (Ahmedabad)
5 AIR Radio 1 Ministry of Earth Science (Central Govt.)
6 Community FM radio 3 TNAU, Kerala IT Mission, MSSRF
7 Video-conferencing 4 TNAU, Govt. of TN, n-Logue Communications Private Limited, AVS
8 Web 51 College of Horticulture and Forestry, CAU (HP), TNAU, Govt. of TN, Indian Agribusiness Systems Pvt. Ltd., Tata Consultancy
Services, ViDAL Foundation, E.I.D. Parry (India) Limited, Tractor and Farm Equipments India Limited, Dept. of Agriculture (Govt.
of Karnataka), Development Alternatives, Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd, eKutir Rural Management Services Pvt. Ltd,
National Academy of Agriculture Research and Management, Central Govt. of India, IIT Bombay, JAIKISAN, Govt. of MP, Media
Lab Asia (IIT-K), Byrraju Foundation, Nagarjuna group of companies, Jagriti-e-Seva, State Horticulture Mission (Kerala),
Department of Marketing and Inspection (Govt. of India), Kerala IT Mission, Directorate of Rice Research (Hyderabad), IIT-Kanpur
& IIITM-Kerala, CRIDA & I-Kisan, C-DAC (Hyderabad), Govt. of HP, Govt. of MP, ITC Limited, n-Logue Communications Private
Limited, IFFCO, MSSRF, IIIT (Hyderabad), Janani group of company, The Samaikya Agritech Private Ltd, Kerala State Electronics
Development Co. Ltd, Warana Cooperative Society, OneWorld International, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Tata Chemicals Limited
9 Multimedia 19 TNAU, Tata Consultancy Services, ViDAL Foundation, E.I.D. Parry (India) Limited, eKutir Rural Management Services Pvt. Ltd,
National Academy of Agriculture Research and Management, IIT Bombay, Microsoft Research Indias Technology for Emerging
Markets, Kerala IT Mission, CRIDA & I-Kisan, Agricultural College and Research Institute (Madurai), IFFCO, IIIT (Hyderabad),
Janani group of company, OneWorld International, VaudioPhone Corp, Byrraju Foundation
10 Television 2 Ministry of Earth Science (Central Govt.), Kerala IT Mission
11 Online video channel 1 Kerala IT Mission
12 Print media 3 College of Horticulture and Forestry, CAU (HP), Indian Agribusiness Systems Pvt. Ltd., Ministry of Earth Science, Central Govt.
13 Phone based
information portal
1 IBM Research
14 PDA 1 Hindustan Unilever Limited

75

Table 5: Review of ICT initiatives in Indian agriculture
Name of the
projects
Types of Information States Mechanisms Organization Name
Orgn.
Type
Launched
year
Service
e-Arik Pest and diseases, farmers crop history, market price,
weather, e-governance, health, education
Arunachal
Pradesh
web based, Print Media College of Horticulture
and Forestry, Central
Agricultural University
Govt. 2008 Paid
TNAUAGRI
TECH portal
Crop production, protection, organic farming, market
price, weather, soil testing, availability of inputs, SRI,
precision farming, news via newspaper clipping, radio,
TV, etc.
Tamil Nadu web based, mobile
phone, audio and video
streaming, video
conferencing, radio, TV
Tamil Nadu
Agricultural
University
Govt. 2009 Free
m-Velanmai Soil, crops, weather, pest and disease diagnosis, market
price, bank loans, insurance, government schemes.
Tamil Nadu Mobile phone TNAU PPP - -
e-Velanmai Management of insect pest, disease, nutritional deficiencies,
weeds, market intelligence, weather, agricultural operations,
varietal selection, fertilizer scheduling
Tamil Nadu web based, mobile
phone, video
conferencing
Government of Tamil
Nadu
Govt. 2006 Paid
Agriwatch Spot and futures prices, news and analysis, statistics and
trends, weather, crop forecasting, market price, agri
buyers guide, agri yellow pages, policy watch, legal watch
All North
Indian states
web based, SMS, print
media based
Indian Agribusiness
Systems Pvt. Ltd.
(IASL)
Private 2000 Paid
m-KRISHI Warning to pest and disease attack, weather, soil,
market price, crop insurance, agri-inputs and cold
storage availability, news feeds
Maharashtra,
Uttar
Pradesh,
Punjab
Mobile phone, Wireless
Sensing Network (WSN),
Multimedia, GPS, web
based, IVR, Rural Net,
Packet interactive
multimedia response
Tata Consultancy
Services (TCS)
Private 2009 Paid
Agromet district level weather, advisory on crop protection,
bulletin,
All India Weekly/bi-weekly
bulletins, radio, TV
Ministry of Earth
Science, Central Govt.
Govt. 2008 Free
COW Pest infestation, weather, soil testing, crop price, agri-credit,
health, adult computer education, health exam results
Andhra
Pradesh
Web based, Mobile phone
with GPRS, Multimedia
ViDAL Foundation NGO 2003 Paid
KCC Market price, weather, advisory on best package of
practices,
All India Mobile phone, IVRS Ministry of
Agriculture
Govt. 2004 Free
AgriLine Market price, weather, crop cultivation practices of
sugarcane in particular, farming techniques, crushing
details of sugarcane and payments payable to farmers,
agri-extension service, loans, e-commerce, insurance,
agri-inputs, local news, soil testing, govt. schemes,
health, education, e-governance etc.
Tamil Nadu,
Pondicherry
Web based, Multimedia E.I.D. Parry (India)
Limited
Private 2003 Paid
76

Jfarmindia Soil analysis, finance, crop diagnostics weather
updates, pest and disease operations, buying and
selling of agri-inputs and address of agri-companies,
farm news, use of agri-inputs, NGO list
Tamil Nadu Web based Tractor and Farm
Equipments India
Limited(TAFE)
Private 2000 Paid
Raita Mitra
Kendras
Crop production, market prices, soil conditions Karnataka Web based Dept. of Agriculture,
Govt. of Karnataka
Govt. 2000 Paid
TARAhaat Weather forecasting, services & sales negotiations, e-
governance, health, education, entertainment etc.
UP, Punjab Web based, Development
Alternatives (DA)
NGO 2000 Paid
uttamkrishi.c
om
Crops, agronomic advice UP, Haryana,
Gujarat,Rajasth
an, Punjab, MP,
Chhattisgarh,
Web based, Telephone
based
Chambal Fertilizers
and Chemicals Ltd
Private 2001 Free
e-Agro Agro growth practices, weather update, pest and
disease management, soil nutrient status, multiple
market price, price-discovery, buy, sell, credit and
insurance, vocational education, primary health,
microfinance, agri-inputs, logistics etc.
Orissa Web based, video based eKutir Rural
Management Services
Pvt. Ltd
Private - Paid
Skill
development
for e-learning
e-content for agriculture education, success stories,
package of practices
Andhra
Pradesh
Multimedia, web based National Academy of
Agriculture Research
and Management
Govt. 2008 Free
e-learning Agriculture education, extension education, Tamil Nadu Web based TNAU Govt. - Free
CIC Market price, e-governance, education, employment
opportunities
Sikkim Web based Govt. of India Govt. 2000 Paid
aAQUA Market price, agriculture content (crop doctor), farmer
schemes, expert advice, education, healthcare, farmers
query, e-mail alert,
Maharashtra,
Uttarakhand,
Web based, Mobile
phone, Multimedia, SMS-
aAQUA and Voice-
aAQUA (2009, LY)
IIT Bombay Govt. 2004 Some
Free &
Some
Paid
Digital
Green
Field demonstration, crop management, animal
husbandry, indigenous technologies, value-addition
activities, bio-fertilizers (Vermi-compost), pest
management, water management, entertainment
Karnataka,
MP, Orissa,
Jharkhand,
New Delhi
Multimedia Microsoft Research
Indias Technology for
Emerging Markets
NGO 2004 Paid
KSK Govt. schemes, market price, new technology crops,
implements, irrigation techniques, organic and fertilizer
cultivation, pesticide services, microfinance, e-governance
Uttarakhand Web based JAIKISAN NGO 2003 Paid
Krishinet Agriculture recommendations, packages of practices,
farm management practices, market rate, supply and
availability of agriculture inputs, bio-products, online
soil testing reports, alert on pest incidence, Govt.
MP Web based Govt. of MP Govt. 2008 Free
77

schemes, weather through links etc.
Infothela Weather, education, health care, govt. schemes, UP Web based, telephone Media Lab Asia,IIT-K Govt. 2004 Free
Digital
Mandi
Trading, market prices, decision support advisory on agri-
inputs, plant diseases, improved irrigation techniques
UP Web based, Mobile
phone, SMS
Media Lab Asia,
IIT-K
Govt. 2004 Free
RML Localized weather forecasts, best agri-practices, crop advisory
on agri-inputs, plant protection, market data & price, news
Maharashtra,
Haryana,Punjab
SMS Thomson Reuters Private 2007 Paid
AVS Advice on agri-inputs, crop-cycle, agri-query, soil
health, vermin-compost, organic farming, marketing
support, agri-enterprise, virtual education, tele-
medicine, virtual aqua-culture, INPM, BCMTS etc.
Andhra
Pradesh
Web based, Video
conferencing,
Multimedia
Byrraju Foundation NGO 2006 Paid
VoiKiosk Crops related query, health, local newspaper, distant
education,
Andhra
Pradesh
Phone based information
portal, voice based
IBM Research &
Byrraju Foundation
Private
& NGO
2008 Paid
I-Kisan Pest and disease, agri-practices, agri-news, animal
husbandry, agri-machinery, agri-credit, agri-insurance,
agri-inputs price, weather, market price
AP, TN,UP,
Punjab,Haryana,
Karnataka,Oriss
a, Maharashtra
Web based Nagarjuna group of
companies
Private 2000 Paid
Krishak Help
Line Service
Farm practice, farmers query UP Telephone based CSAUAT, Kanpur Govt. 2000 Free
Jagriti-e-
Seva
Judicious use of agri-inputs, organic farming, agri-
operations, soil testing, training, agri-inputs
applications, LIC, e-governance, market linkage etc.
Punjab Web based Mr. J. S. Sandha,
entrepreneur
Private 2003 Paid
HORTNET Crop wise best practices, pest & disease, nutrient,
water management, availability of horticulture crops,
grower and trader details, project details, horticulture
product marketing details, daily market arrivals and
prices details through AGMARKNET link.
Kerala Web based State Horticulture
Mission, Kerala
Govt. - Free
AGMARKNET Better price realization, market price, markets report
daily prices, movement of weekly & monthly prices &
arrivals, spot, future, minimum support prices and
international commodity prices, weather, DMI schemes
All India Web based Department of
Marketing and
Inspection (DMI)
Govt. 2000 Free
Tamil
Market
Weather, market prices, rainwater collection
techniques
Tamil Nadu Voice based ICSI & TIER
Acad
2004 -
KISSAN-
KERALA
Advisory for agri-problems, weather forecast, soil
testing, best farming practices, success story, method
demonstration, organic farming, market price, Govt.
schemes, fertilizer & pesticide recommendation
Kerala Web based, Mobile
phone based, TV, radio,
Multimedia, online
video channel, SMS
Kerala IT Mission Govt. 2003 Free
Avaaj Otalo Agri & animal husbandrys query, market price,
weather, listen previous programmes, Govt. schemes
Gujarat Voice based, radio dial-
up
IBM Research India
Laboratory & DSC
Private
& NGO
2009 Free
78

RKMP Package of practice of rice crop, suitability of varieties
in particular region, e-contents on rice, pest & disease
Rice growing
region of India
Web based Directorate of Rice
Research, Hyderabad
Govt. 2011 Free
AKMINDIA agri-information for DSS, OFRS, soil micro-nutrient,
weather forecasting, crops tips
Karnatak Web based, SMS IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kanpur
& IIITM-Kerala
Govt. 2009 Free
e-KRISHI Advisory on crops, weather, market price, soil testing,
inputs services, agri-e-trading, agri-resource library,
education, e-Governance, fertilizers calculator,
contacts of sellers & buyers, pre & post harvest etc.
Kerala Web based, Multimedia,
Mobile phone
Kerala State IT
Mission
Govt. 2009 Paid
KSC Crop cultivation practices, agri-inputs, agri-queries,
farm-machinery, crop diagnostic kit, market price
Andhra
Pradesh
Web base, IVRS,
Multimedia
CRIDA & I-Kisan PPP 2009 Paid
DMI Daily market price TN, Kerala,
Karnataka
Web based, SMS C-DAC & TNAU Govt. 2008 Free
e-Village Farm agri-advisory, local market, weather, village
adoption schemes,
Arunachal
Pradesh
Web based C-DAC & College of
Horticulture and
Forestry
Govt. 2008 Paid
IMCD SRI techniques, IPDM, vermi-compost, mushrooms
production, drip based sugarcane cultivation technique,
hybrid maize & rice production, inputs requirement,
Tamil Nadu Multimedia Agricultural College
and Research
Institute, Madurai
Govt. 2006 Free
Lokmitra Market rates, e-Governance HP Web based Himachal Pradesh Govt. Govt. 2001 Paid
EKVI Market rates, arrival in mandi, educating farmers,
weather forecasting, disaster warning
MP Web based Madhya Pradesh
Govt.
PPP 2005 Paid
Bhoomi Updated land records Karnataka Web based Karnataka Govt. Govt. 2001 Paid
e-Choupal Market price & its trends, crops info, local weather
forecast, farm management & its package of practice,
soil & water testing, insurance, virtual buying
MP,Har,Raj,UP
Kar,AP,Raj,TN
Maha, Kerala
Web based ITC Limited Private 2000 Paid
n-Logue detection & diagnosis of crop & animal disease, advice
on farming method, computer education, health & e-
governance, weather, crops price, buying & selling
TN, Maha,
Guj, MP, Kar,
AP, Raj
Web base,
Videoconferencing
n-Logue
Communications
Private Limited
Private 2001 Paid
Akshaya
Project
Agriculture(contents, cultivation practices), health,
education, e-commerce, e-governance
Kerala Web based Kerala State IT
Mission
PPP 2004 Paid
Agri-Kiosk Agri-practices, land preparation, fertilizer/seed use,
irrigation, plant protection & market, natural resource,
fertilizer industry, agro-chemicals & co-operatives, GIS
Har, UP, Kar,
Gujarat
Web based, Multimedia IFFCO Coopera
tive
2003 Paid
VKC Weather, waves height, market price, crops & animal
disease, agri-inputs, seed sowing, news, education,
health, e-Governance, Govt. schemes, transport
Pondicherry,
TN
Web based, Mobile
phone, Radio,
MSSRF NGO 1998 Paid
e-Sagu Pest & disease, IPM, personalized advice on agri-query AP Web based, Multimedia IIIT, Hyderabad Acad. 2004 Paid
79

Jananis
AgriServe
Agri-advisory, agri-marketing, post-harvest, agri-insurance,
timely finance, risk mitigation against price and weather
fluctuations & quality inputs, health, education, livelihood
AP Web based, Multimedia,
Mobile phone
Janani group of
company
Private 2003 Paid
Agritech
Centres
Technical assistance with seeds, agri-inputs; machinery
rental; tools & spares for sale; soil & water analyses; field
mapping; weekly field inspections; weather
AP Web based The Samaikya
Agritech Private Ltd
Private 1999 Paid
Keltron Agriculture support, crops and pests, e-Governance Kerala Web based Kerala State Electronics
Development Co. Ltd
Govt. 2001 Paid
Warana
Wired
Market rate, recent market arrival, agri-schemes, agri-
techniques, agri-implements, new crop variety IPM, land
record, sugarcane harvest, online selling of milk, daily
weather forecast, cropping pattern, soil conservation,
education, health, vocational guide, Govt. schemes
Maharashtra Web based Warana Cooperative
Society
Coopera
tive
1999 Paid
Warana
Unwired
Sugarcane output for a given farmer, fertilizer usage,
status of harvesting permits, schedule for a given
harvest, others are same as Warana Wired
Maharashtra SMS Warana Cooperative
Society
Coopera
tive
2006 Paid
LifeLine
India
Insect, pest & disease management, agri-inputs, market price,
available funding and Govt. schemes on loans & subsidies;
banking & insurance; watershed mngt. & micro-irrigation;
livestock & organic farming education, agri-expert
UP, MP, HP,
Haryana
Web based, IVRS,
Multimedia
OneWorld
International
NGO 2006 Paid
i-Shakti agri-advisory, health, education, hygiene, finance,
entertainment and legal procedures
AP Web based, PDA, Dialogue-
interactive technology
Hindustan Unilever
Limited
Private 2003 Free
Gyandoot Crop prices, registration of applications for copies of land
records, public, grievance system, village auction site
MP Web based State Govt. of MP Govt. 2000 Paid
TKK Agri-inputs availability, farm equipment leasing, pest
attack, agri-advisory, soil analysis by remote sensing
satellite mapping & GIS, farmers query, climate, crop
suitability, acreage, agri-credit & insurance, training
UP, Punjab,
Haryana
Web based Tata Chemicals
Limited
Private 1998 Paid
KMV Arrivals and prices of important agri-commodities Karnataka Web based Karnataka Govt. Govt. 2002 Free
Nokia Life
Tools
Cropping cycle, agri-advice, weather forecast, agri-tips
& techniques, market prices, education and
entertainment services (news, astrology, sports)
Maharashtra Mobile phone, SMS Nokia India Private
Limited
Private 2009 Paid
IKSL Agri-content, soil testing, expert-advice, agri-inputs
application techniques, pest/ insect attack, mandi price,
agri-query, practical inputs
18 States of
India
IVRS, Voice message IFFCO Coopera
tive
2007 Paid
AgriFone Facilitated community interactions among agri-
stakeholders to solve agri-related problems
Maharashtra IVRS, Voice message,
SMS, Multimedia, GPRS
VaudioPhone Corp Private 2010 Paid
Note: Govt: Government, Acad: Academic Institutions, PPP: Public Private Partnership