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Creating scalable, engaging mobile solutions for agriculture

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The GSMA mAgri programme just released a report entitled, "Creating scalable, engaging mobile solutions for agriculture". This is a result of a study which lasted three years within the mNutrition Inititative portfolio.

The mNutrition initiative portfolio covers six countries with the following projects, (i) Vodafone Ghana (Farmers'Club) with 300K users; (ii) Dialog Sri Lanka (Govi Mithuru) with 320K users, (iii) Grameenphone Bangladesh (GP Krishi Sheba) with 760K users, (iv) Airtel Malawi (M'chikumbe) with 560K users, (v) Telenor Pakistan (Khushhaal Zamindar), (vi) Ooredoo Myanmar (Site Pyo) with 250K users.

These projects were selected from 27 concept notes received from applications from 14 countries after a competitive process. To help the selected projects, GSMA provided business consultancy and technical support throughout the 24 month implementation plans of these projects.

Below l provide a brief summary of each project, all the information is extracted from the respective reports

Six stories of agricultural transformation through mobile

Case Study Description

Farmers' Club: A mobile agriculture service by Vodafone Ghana (July 2017)

Summary : Farmers’ Club aims to improve the lives of farmers and strengthen Vodafone’s rural brand image.The package offers farming advice, weather updates, market prices and free calls between Farmers’ Club members with a dedicated Farmers Club SIM. After a user registers, there is an automatic profiling based on the user's location. The service then offers 3 tips of the month on the user's primary crop, nutritional tip and weather forecast. This expert advice is offered in 14 local languages.

Key findings from this project:

  • Farmers in Ghana lack negotiation power
  • Most Farmers' Clubs power users are men with larger than average farms
  • Vodafone experienced slow acquisitions through an agent-led model
  • Free access has brought an influx of new users

Read more about this case study

Dialog Sri Lanka reduce farmers' chemical dependency with their highly personalised Govi Mithuru service.

Summary: The project or service delivers improved crop and family health for Sri Lankan farmers.Dialog Sri Lanka’s Govi Mithuru (Farmer’s Friend, Uzavar Tholan in the Tamil language version) is a value added service (VAS) which commercially launched in October 2015. Similar to the one described above users are profiled at registration, the service offers agricultural advice at each stage of the farming cycle, from land preparation to post-harvest support.

Key findings 

  • Farmers had access to information prior to this service, but information was deficient. (pest and disease information was not available)
  • Most of Govi Mithuru users are male and are more likely to live below the poverty line that the national average.
  • Power users use less chemical inputs and have a greater likelihood of changing their planting, post-harvest and storage habits compared to non-users.

Read more about this case study

Grameenphone Bangladesh scale voice-driven agricultural information service GP Krishi Sheba with a traditional value-added service marketing campaign.

Summary: Krishi Sheba aims to improve farmers' access to information and increase customer loyalty.Grameenphone Krishi Sheba (Grameenphone Agriculture Service, henceforth Krishi Sheba) is an agricultural value-added service (Agri VAS) run by Grameenphone Bangladesh with VAS partner, Win Miaki. At registration each user signedup for access to seasonal agricultural content from planting to post-harvest, choosing from three or 16 crops and livestock.

Some key findings included:

  • Explicit agricultural knowledge was found to be low among Bangladesh farmers.
  • After a slow start, user numbers and engagement improved from Q3 2016.
  • Most power users are men living below the poverty line

Read more about this case study

Telenor Pakistan's voice-based agricultural service, Khushaal Zamindar, goes viral.

Summary:Khushaal Zamindar aims to improve yields and save farmers from disaster. This is an agricultural value-added service which offers a three layered value proposition to farmers, which are (i) improve yields, (ii) save them from disaster, and (iii) encourage greater social recognition.

Some key findings included

  • Provides a platform for Pakistan's farmers a social and regularly discuss agricultural issues.
  • Most power users are men living below the poverty line
  • Khushaal Zamindar users see the mobile phone as a key source of information

Read more about this case study

Airtel Malawi's voice and text-based content service, M'chikumbe, enhances stretched government agricultural extension network.

Summary: M'chikumbe reaches out to farmers to improve livelihoods and increase loyalty. The service provides farmers with access to practical information about agriculture, where users dial 212 to access the agriculture-specific interactive voice response (IVR). User thereafter register for one of the 15 crops and thereafter access crop-relevant menu which includes Airtel Money advice, market prices, and weather forecasts.

Some key findings included

  • Smallholder farmers in Malawi want to run their farms as a business, but they lack the knowledge required.
  • Most power users are male farmers living below the poverty line
  • Having government extension officers on board to promote M'chikumbe increased user trust in the service

Read more about this case study

Ooredoo Myanmar's agricultural smartphone app, Site Pyo, supports smallholders suffering the effects of climate change.

Summary:Site Pyo is designed to improve farmers’ lives by providing information that improves yields. Once users download the app, users provide profiling information to personalise their app experience, such as receiving customised weather forecasts for their location.

Some key findings included

  • In Myanmar, on-farm change is encouraged by tangible examples of success.
  • Most Site Pyo users are men living below the poverty line
  • Site Pyo's users value their mobile phones as an information source
  • Site Pyo generated no direct revenue, but has brought indirect benefits for Ooredoo.

Read more about this case study

The information above is as reported by GSMA, all sources as credited by them

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