Rural farmers will soon be able to access farming information via experts under an initiative of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).
The project, with Bangladesh-based Grameen-Intel, encourages local entrepreneurs to first reach out to small farmers and collect data about crops. This is then fed into a larger web network of agricultural experts who can offer specific advice to the farmers, such as the appropriate seeds to buy.
Srinivas Garudachar, director of Strategic Business Development at Grameen-Intel, which has launched the program in India, said farmers benefit through enhanced productivity and more specialised services, while “village entrepreneurship” encourages young people to stay in the agricultural field.
“It helps you to aggregate and makes things more transparent,” he said. referring to bringing farmers together to create greater economies of scale.
Meng Sakphouseth, country operations manager at IFAD, said that the project would compliment existing agricultural initiatives.
Through a South Korean government grant, funding is assured for the Grameen-Intel technology for two years. The project will cover 1,000 groups of 50 farmers across five provinces. Sakphouseth expects the first franchisees to be in place by early January.