Indian farmers often work in harsh environments and face daily challenges, ranging from crop failure and animal illness to indebtness. Limited communication facilities hinder timely help. The LifeLines-Agriculture service responds to this need by providing advice and guidance to farmers through critical agri-advisory and livelihood information.
Presently the service reaches out to a total of 1000 villages of India. The LifeLines service has has benefited over 150,000 farmer households. As on date more than 350 queries are being received from farmers on a daily basis.
The system’s database which stores the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) received in the service, comprises a list of more than 460,000 questions and answers currently, and this number is growing rapidly by the day.
The service is being implemented on the ground in partnership with Datamation Foundation, who in turn implement the service on the ground through a network of field volunteers. These volunteers, known as Field Coordinators, work as the point of contact for using the LifeLines service and facilitate rural users to register their queries with the help of a mobile phone.
Key Features of the LifeLines Agriculture service:
- Expert advice on integrated pest management (IPM) methods has helped farmers to improve their input efficiency
- Solutions are made available to farmers within 24 hours
- Information available on more than 50 different fields of agriculture and allied activities covering a complete chain of information from production to consumption, including information on:
- Farm inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides
- Funding schemes
- Government schemes on loans and subsidies
- Banking and insurance
- Market prices
- Region specific market information
- Agriculture news
- Organic farming
The types of queries addressed till date include some of the following:
• Insect, pest and disease management
• Market information and commodity prices
• New varieties of crops
• Government schemes for crop insurance and loans
• Watershed management and micro-irrigation
• Seeds and fertilizers