Study of various information and services provided by different service providers in the agriculture domain
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This study titled “Study of various Information and Services provided by Different Service Providers in the Agriculture domain” was done under organization Rallis India ltd. Rallis has been in regular contact of farmers. It felt that farmers are in need of technical information from time to time. If some service can be provided by Rallis end to help farmers to increase their income. This will eventually help Rallis in having a satisfied customer base. This study was conducted to know about some of prominent information and service provider in market. Three information and service providers were chosen in study viz. Reuters Market Light, IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited, mana Gromer Retail Outlets. The study looks for details like information provided by services provider, cost of service, duration of usage, satisfaction level of users and further improvements required in service. A structured questionnaire was prepared to take responses from subscribed farmers. Besides this information requirements and medium for information transfer views were also taken from subscribed and unsubscribed farmers. Reuters Market Light has been working in 13 states of India. They are providing information related to weather forecast, market prices and some general agriculture information’s and research innovations. The farmers interviewed were using service since duration from 1 month to 2 years. Overall 90 percent of farmers were satisfied with service and had no literacy related issue with SMS. SMS were sent in regional languages. Farmers required improvements in service like more markets be included in service, more precise weather forecast and general agriculture information should be included. IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (ISKL), collaboration between IFFCO and Airtel has developed Green Sim card for farmers. These Sim cards receive five free voice cells related to agriculture everyday as value added service. The active base of this service was found to be low. Farmer switch over to other subscribers after using talk time of sim cards and this service is limited only for Green Sim cards customers. 50 percent of surveyed active user farmers were not satisfied with service. Calls were not properly scheduled and once calls not received, information is lost for that day. Call retrieval and helpline is also provided by IKSL, but farmers are not aware about the facility. Mana Gromer Retail outlets was started by Coromandal Fertilizers to supply agriculture inputs at one place. Coromandal fertilizers have done collaboration with other inputs company to sell their produce from the outlets. Farmers’ subscriptions were done to provide services. These services include fertilizers at fixed prices, concession on inputs except fertilizers, free soil testing, accidental insurance and optional life insurance. Farmers were more interested to get fertilizers at fixed prices rather than other services. Fertilizers purchase was clubbed with pesticides sale resulting in additional burden on farmers. Soil test reports were not received by farmers. Farmers were not much satisfied with service due to faults in soil tests, insurances and limited service by outlets. Both subscribed and unsubscribed farmers were in need of information related to agriculture. Disease and pest information, weather information, market prices, fertilizer availability information, Government schemes and policies are some of the main information requirements among farmers. A precise customized information service requirement is felt among farmers. Views were taken from farmers about medium through which information could be provided to them. Various medium like SMS voice calls, field visit by experts, Helpline and SMS came out to be most favorable options by farmers. Rallis has already have crop advisors for field visits. There are information’s that can’t be even provided by crop advisors on a consistent basis. Crop advisors would not be able to interact with all farmers daily. So a helpline and SMS based advisory system is most likely to be useful for farmers. The information provided by this system, would be customized as per the requirements of farmers. The content will mainly consist of market prices, weather information, general agriculture information and government schemes. The market informationcan be taken from some organization on a regular basis. Weather information can be made available from collaboration with ISRO or Indian Meteorological Department. General agriculture information can be prepared by Rallis itself. These all content information can be sent to farmers via SMS gateways or GSM modems. This information can be provided to farmers as subscriptions schemes. Overall this service would be able to fill the gape of information among farmers. This service can also be a profitable business venture to join the agriculture services domain of Rallis.