Hyderabad based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) launched a low cost phone cum tablet namely GreenPHABLET for farmers.
The GreenPHABLET powered by the GreenSIM is priced at USD 299 (INR 18919). The GreenSIM is a special SIM card that can be used with any mobile phone. Apart from regular phone services smallholder farmers receive free messages about the weather and pest problems while sharing the most competitive agricultural input and crop prices.
The price point of the tablet is high considering it is meant for small-scale farmers, hence it can’t be said if it will gain traction among them.
The device will allow information to be precisely targeted to individual smallholder farmers. “This will help farmers purchase inputs at lower price, get a better price for their produce, and link them to markets, thus putting them on the path to prosperity,” said Dr William Dar, ICRISAT’s Director General, while launching the GreenPHABLET.
Info-entrepreneurs equipped with a GreenPHABLET serve as intermediaries, collecting information on registered farmers’ landholdings and cropping practices, and questioning the database to pull information on their behalf, supporting informed regular decision-making and monitoring.
“Real time information sharing between farmers and researchers enables farmers to improve crop productivity and researchers to collect accurate data in real time. This lays the road for future innovations in the field of agriculture,” says Sandeep Dega, Senior Director, NUNC Systems.
In its first six trial months of operation, the GreenSIM program has saved precious food supplies while improving farm incomes through timely messages to 40,000 rural subscribers so far, as according to the company’s press release.
“In 171 villages across three states of India (Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka), farm incomes have gone up since farmers can now compare prices of agricultural crops and inputs offered by both the traditional local agent and, now, via the GreenSIM,” says Dr Guntuku.
In 2013, the Government has taken up the initiative to distribute mobile phones and tablets to people living in rural India, for their digital enablement. However no development announcement of the plan has come out as of now.