A New Personalized Agriculture Advisory System

Conference: European Wireless 2013 - 19th European Wireless Conference
04/16/2013 - 04/18/2013 at Guildford, UK

Proceedings: 19th European Wireless Conference

Pages: 6Language: englishTyp: PDF

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Authors:
Jhunjhunwala, Ashok (Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), Chennai, India)
Umadikar, Jayalakshmi; Prashant, Suma (IITM’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI), Chennai, India)

Abstract:
The Indo-UK Advanced Technology Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks, Systems and Services (IUATC) is trying to address the future challenges identified by the UK Government under the Digital Economy Theme and the Department of Science and Technology in India. One such area in rural India where Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) networks can have a major impact is Agriculture. This paper presents a new approach to building an Agricultural Advisory System aimed at bridging the information gaps that exist between farmers and extension workers and agricultural scientists in a country like India. It demonstrates the power of two-way mobile phones today, which when combined with innovative methods could provide services to farmers that could not even be envisaged till yesterday. The customized and personalized advisory becomes especially important in the Indian context, where 52% of the population depends on agriculture but generates merely 13.9% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With fragmented landholdings, the number of independent farmers has risen to 88 million with near-stagnant productivity. Growth-acceleration is possible only with customized advisory. India currently has a 900 million strong mobile phone subscriber base largely operating over voice oriented 2G GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks. With ever increasing rural mobile penetration, personalized agricultural advisory is a distinct possibility. The paper presents an innovative technology development effort, analyses the technological challenges faced as well as discusses the feedback obtained from early fieldimplementation and focuses on what needs to be done in future to scale such systems. Index Terms — Mobile telephony applications, Agriculture Advisory System, Call Centre, Dashboard for farmers, Interactive Voice Response System