Telecom service provider Vodafone announced that it is launching its Farmers’ Club initiative in four additional emerging market countries – India, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania — to help farmers boost productivity.
Vodafone launched the service in Turkey in 2009. Around 25 percent of the Turkish population work in agriculture and the Farmers’ Club program has benefitted 1.2 million farmers, helping them to enhance crop yields and increase farm gate incomes.
Vodafone will also develop a variant of the Farmers’ Club concept for farmers in New Zealand.
Vodafone Group Regional Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region Serpil Timuray, said: “Our experience in Turkey has demonstrated how mobile services can transform farmers’ ability to increase crop yields, improve efficiency and grow farm gate incomes.”
Meanwhile, Vodafone said six mobile services to help small-scale farmers in emerging markets can boost the farm gate incomes of 70 million Indian farmers by $9 billion in 2020.
The mobile services could enhance earnings by an average of $128 a year for almost two-thirds of Indian farmers, said Vodafone in its Connected Farming in India report
India has more than 200 million people working in agriculture, around 100 million of them farmers and the remainder working as agricultural labourers. In India, around 62 percent of farmers own less than one hectare of land.
# Agricultural information services — providing early warning of weather events, information on the best times to harvest and advice on crop techniques to enhance yields — could increase an estimated 60 million Indian farmers’ annual incomes by an average of $89 a year in 2020.
# Receipt services to provide greater transparency in daily commodity supply chains, allowing farmers to raise their incomes by improving efficiency and eliminating fraud.
# Access to cost-effective micro-finance and quick and transparent electronic payment systems could provide an annual benefit of $690 for some farmers in 2020, representing a 39 percent increase in their average farming income.
# Field audit enabling auditors monitoring quality, sustainability and certification requirements to move away from paper records and adopt instead electronic reporting via tablets and mobile data, greatly enhancing efficiency and potentially increasing annual average income by $612 for some farmers.
# Local supply chain enabling small-scale producers to transact with local co-operatives through simple but robust information services and mobile money systems. These could boost some farmers’ annual incomes by $271 in 2020, a 50 percent increase on
current farming incomes.
# Smartphone-enabled services will provide information than is possible using basic SMS and voicemail services. Advanced and affordable mobile services could lead to an increase in average annual farming incomes of $675 for more than four million farmers in 2020.