Agriculture and Mobile Phones
Using mobile technology to improve farming skills in Thailand
19 November 2012
Food of thought for Pakistanis
If Thailand can implement this system (described below ) successfully why not we? Agriculture is our back bone and we can educate our farmers through this type of service.
I need your suggestion / comments
Can this system be implemented in Pakistan?
If not what are the reasons?
Thai farmers can access useful information on agricultural developments by using the dtac service “*1677 Farmer Information Superhighway”.
Free agricultural SMS updates
The subscription service “*1677 Farmer Information Superhighway” is free for Happy (dtac’s youth brand) and dtac customers. By subscribing to the service, farmers will receive SMSes to their mobile phones every day, containing updated agricultural information on.
- market trends
- commercial crops
- new farming techniques
- interesting know-how
- important news update
- warnings on weather conditions etc.
The farmer’s can subscribe to three different topics: rice, fruits & vegetables and livestock & fishery.
By using this service, farmers gain knowledge to advance their farming skills and techniques that help them improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase income while also getting maximum benefits from mobile phone usage.
“I’m eager to learn about farming and agricultural techniques, but I seldom have the chance to attend any training courses. So I think it’s great to learn from *1677 as the info is sent daily to my mobile phone,” says Mrs Rungnabha Yordmai, a 36 years old rice farmer and subscriber of *1677. She has received daily information on ‘rice cultivation’ since May 2009. “It’s a convenient approach of providing information, but can also be a good comforting support to farmers.
Developed into a Mobile Application
The SMS service was introduced in 2008 by the Telenor Group Thai mobile operator dtac together with the Rak Ban Kerd foundation and the Ruam Duay Chuay Kan DFM Radio Station.
In 2012, the service was extended with a “Farmer Information” application available on iPhone and iPad. The application offers up-to-date agricultural information such as comparing product prices at the major markets in Bangkok. This enables farmers and consumers to keep track of the market development and to make the right buying and selling decision at the right time. The application aims to pave the way for online marketing or e-commerce in the future.
Experts’ consultation at help centre
Subscribers of the service may also access the information through the farmers’ help centre. The information centre, accessible across the nation, provides access to the network of 123 successful farmers and academics for experts’ consultation.
Traditional farming techniques
Thailand is an agricultural country with over 60 % of the population working in this sector. However, more than 80 % of the Thai farmers are still poor and in debt. This is because most of them still base their productivity on outdated farming processes and follow traditional farming techniques which imply:
- high production costs
- no marketing knowledge to sell their product
- inefficient know-how to improve the farming techniques
*1677 empowers the farmers with knowledge
The Thai farmers living in remote areas tend to be too far away to gain new knowledge on agriculture. The *1677 Farmer Information Superhighway is thus adopted in order to solve these problems and empower the farmers with knowledge in their hands through the use of mobile phones.
Improving farming skills and techniques
Based on the techniques Mrs Yordmai has received from *1677 Farmer Info, she has applied self-made biological fertilizer on the same plot of land. The production cost and the cost of fertilizer have been significantly reduced with 67 % while gaining an increased production capacity of 40 %.
300,000 active subscribers
Since the launch of the service on 12 August 2008, there are more than 300,000 active subscribers in June 2012.
Seminars and workshops to establish farmers’ network
Apart from sending SMSes and having the service available as a mobile application, dtac and partners have also organized seminars and workshops to help the Thai farmers establish the “farmers help farmers’ network” and learn agricultural techniques based on the “sufficiency economy”. The workshops and seminars have been held in every region and there are more than 20,000 farmers from all over the country have joined the activities so far.
Samnuek Rakbankerd Farmer Awards
Once a year, dtac and its partners Samnuek Rakbankerd Foundation and Ruamduaychuaykan DFM Radio Network is handing out the Samnuek Rakbankerd Farmer Award. The award is granted to ten farming communities from every region of Thailand innovating agricultural products. In 2011, there were more than 30 farming practices that submitted the applications for consideration. The winners of the award will be part of the network sharing knowledge and agricultural practices through the *1677 Farmer Information Superhighway services.
Shared value for the society
Studies by the Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte show that the telecom industry makes an important contribution to economic and social welfare and is an important driver of social and economic development.
“The “1677* Farmer Information Superhighway” is an excellent example showing how we successfully extend information and telecommunication technologies to the benefit of the society as a whole,” said Perapong Klinla-or, Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility at dtac.
Award winning service
dtac and the *1677 Farmer Information Superhighway service has won several awards:
Socio-economic impact of telecommunication
Telenor Group has commissioned studies on the socio-economic impact of mHealth, mobile financial services, the Internet and of mobile communications. The findings show that the telecom industry is an important driver of social and economic development.
This article is copied from Telenore Thailand website.