Photo Credit: Meet Bhatt
We are pleased to announce the launch of Khedut Saathi (“Farmer’s friend”), a mobile service that provides Indian farmers relevant and timely agriculture advice in local languages. You can access Khedut Saathi by leaving a missed call to +91 79 66 210 210 (India-only). After a few seconds, Khedut Saathi will call you back and play you its latest messages. By pressing 9 at the prompt, you subscribe to the service and receive future messages straight to your phone for free. Subscribers receive three voice messages each week about best agricultural practices for locally grown crops.
Awaaz De’s first service was “Avaaj Otalo”– a mobile based agricultural extension line. Avaaj Otalo has answering farmer’s questions and sending crop-specific advice tailored to the stage in the growing season for the past five years! We have received many testimonials from AO farmers about how helpful and timely the information is. The impact evaluation of Avaaj Otalo conducted by Harvard University and IFMR showed positive empirical results.
Our experience with AO left little doubt about the potential of mobile based agriculture extension. The next question was how could we make an agricultural service even more helpful and engaging. We thought about leveraging new products and functionality Awaaz.De has developed since launching AO, particularly our flagship product Streams. With Streams we could reach groups at scale in a cost-effective way. So over the past two months we have been working hard to prepare Khedut Saathi.
How is Khedut Saathi different from other existing extension services? First, Khedut Saathi is interactive. After each message farmers have an option to record their response. The response can be positive (or negative!) feedback about the content, suggestions for advice on the next message, or they can ask a question. Khedut Saathi’s agricultural staff will respond to the queries of farmers and tailor future broadcasts to the commonly asked questions. This two-way communication channel will keep the service interesting and relevant.
Another unique Khedut Saathi feature is “forward to friend”. Any caller can forward Khedut Saathi messages to his friends by keying in numbers right over the phone. Within two weeks of launch farmers subscribed to Khedut Saathi have forwarded it on hundreds of times.
We have also started receiving some testimonials from farmers about the service. Here’s one from an early adopter:
We hope to have more farmers subscribed to Khedut Saathi and they benefit from its information. We believe that with accurate, engaging, and relevant content, mobile technology can add immense value to agriculture extension.
Just leave a missed call to +91 79 3091 8091 and press 9 to subscribe on the return call. We hope you subscribe today!
You can also get regular updates about subscriber base and messages we share with farmers by liking our FB page.