Mobile to enhance lives of farmers in India


Mobile to enhance lives of farmers in India

Shri Raghav Chandra, Additional Secretary& Financial Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture andSerpilTimuray, Regional CEO, AMEAP, Vodafone, launch ‘Connected Farming in India’Report and Farmers’ Club initiative across 6 markets

  • Mobile services have the potential to enhance income of 7 crore Indian farmers by over 56,000 crore a year
  • Vodafone launches Farmers’ Club initiative in six countries, including ‘KisaanMitr’ in India to enhance smallholders’ productivity

26 May 2015

Chennai: Vodafone today published its Connected Farming in India report* which concludes that the introduction of simple mobile services designed to help small-scale farmers in emerging markets could boost the farm gate incomes of 7 crore Indian farmers by over Rs. 56,000 crore in 2020.

The Vodafone report, based on research commissioned from Accenture Strategy with support from the Vodafone Foundation, has found that the average farming household lives on less than Rs. 250 per day with many farmers struggle to feed and educate their families. Simple mobile services could enhance earnings of almost two thirds of such farmers by an average of Rs. 8,000/- per year, creating a positive impact in communities.

Mobile services that can transform Indian farmers’ lives and livelihoods and boost farm gate income by over Rs. 56,000 crore in 2020(i)         Agricultural information services

(ii)      Payments and loans

(iii)     Receipt services

(iv)    Field audit

(v)      Local supply chain

(vi)    Smartphoneenabled services

Addressing the gathering via a special message,Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Shri MohanbhaiKalyanjibhaiKundariya, said, “Agriculture is the principal source of livelihood for more than 58% of our population. So for India to prosper, it is vital that the sector prospers and the benefits reach the small and marginal farmers. This government is committed to connecting our farmer brothers on the information highway and bringing to them the advantages of latest technology advances right to their fields and in their hands. I am delighted that Vodafone is committing to leverage its massive reach in the country and its learning from other emerging markets to maximise the potential of the India agricultural sector.I would like to congratulate ASSOCHAM for enabling this platform and Vodafone for producing a special report highlighting the immense potential of India’s Agriculture sector and launching a multi country initiative to realise the inherent possibilities of this domain.”

The Connected Farming in India report report was released by Shri Raghav Chandra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, at a conference organised by ASSOCHAM on the potential of mobile to transform agricultural value chains for enabling e-Kranti.

Releasing the report, Shri Raghav Chandra, Additional Secretary& Financial Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture, said,” Technology for farmers is one of the focus areas under e-Kranti, a key pillar for realising the Digital India vision.  The future of agriculture lies in bringing digital services to the farm as agriculture is increasingly becoming more and more knowledge intensive. The potential of mobile services in delivering this is unique as can be gauged by the success of the mKisan initiative that unleashes the power of the mobile in the hands of the farmers. The ‘Connected Farming in India’ report illustrates this in greater detail. It is indeed encouraging that ASSOCHAM and Vodafone have chosen to bring this important subject of enhancing value across the entire agriculture value chain to the forefront via this initiative.”

India is one of the world’s largest food producers with more than 20 crore people currently estimated to work in agriculture, around 10 crore of them farmers and the remainder working as agricultural labourers. Around 62% of farmers own less than one hectare of land, significantly increasing their exposure to the effects of crop failure, pests, disease and volatile market pricing

Vodafone also announced the expansion ofits Farmers’ Club initiative in six countries, including ‘KisaanMitr’ in India and its equivalents in other emerging markets –Ghana, Kenya, New Zealand and Tanzania-over the coming year and in Turkey where it has been operational since 2009 and has already benefitted 1.2 million farmers, helping them to enhance crop yields and increase farm gate incomes.The VodafoneFarmers’ Club is a social business model which offers a range of mobile services to help farmers boost productivity. Specific services offered under the Farmers’ Club  in each country will vary but will include information services, virtual marketplaces in which farmers can sell their produce and mobile money financial services and products.

Launching the Farmers’ Club proposition across multiple countries, Vodafone Group Regional Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region,SerpilTimuray, said, “One-third of humanity relies on food grown by 500 million smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land. Mobile has a critically important role to play in increasing agricultural resilience and enhancing quality of life for some of the poorest people on earth. Our experience in Turkey has demonstrated how mobile services can transform farmers’ ability to increase crop yields, improve efficiency and grow farm gate incomes.

“As the global population continues to expand, farmers have an urgent need to produce ever-increasing amounts of food without destroying habitats or depleting resources in a way which is unsustainable. Smart and forward-looking initiatives such as the Vodafone Farmers’ Club concept can make a real difference in addressing the global challenge of food production and security.”

Speaking about the Vodafone KisaanMitrinitiativein India, Sunil Sood, MD & CEO, Vodafone India, said, “The basis for the next green revolution in India will be a “knowledge revolution”, and technology, particularly mobile, will play a key role in driving it. Today, 46% of people in rural areas have a mobile phone and access to mobile services among those yet unconnected is growing rapidly.  This offers a new channel for delivering agricultural services and an opportunity to engage rural communities in new ways. We are committed to leveraging our learning and reach to create and deliver newer business models that will benefit the entire agriculture value chain.  The launch of Kisan Mitra is our first step in addressing the needs of the farming community in India by providing access to timely information, markets and financial inclusion.”


About Vodafone
Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 31 December 2014, Vodafone had 444 million mobile customers and 11.8 million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit:

About the Vodafone Foundation

The Vodafone Foundation’s Mobile for Good programme combines Vodafone’s charitable giving and technology to make a difference in the world. Globally, the Vodafone Foundation supports projects that are focused on delivering public benefit through the use of mobile technology across areas including health, education and disaster relief. The Vodafone Foundation invests in the communities in which Vodafone operates and is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes. The Vodafone Foundation is a UK registered charity, registered charity number 10989625.

The Connected Farming in India report is part of a series of reports launched by the Vodafone Foundation looking at the potential social impact of mobile products and services on the communities in which Vodafone operates. Vodafone’s 2011 Connected Agriculture report showed that 12 different mobile services could boost agricultural income in 26 markets by 11% – an estimated $138 billion in 2020

For further information, please contact

Vodafone India | [email protected]

Key Findings of the Connected Farming in India Report

Vodafone and Accenture Strategy have identified six mobile services with the potential to transform the lives and livelihoods of Indian farmers’ and boost farm gate income by over Rs. 56,000 crore in 2020

  1. Agricultural information services providing early warning of weather events, information on the best times to harvest and advice on crop techniques to enhance yields. These services could increase an estimated 60 million Indian farmers’ annual incomes by an average of US$89 a year in 2020.
  1. Payments and loans enablingfarmers to access simple and secure financial products and services using mobile money payment systems such as Vodafone’s M-Pesa, launched in India in April 2013. Access to highly cost-effective micro-finance and quick and transparent electronic payment systems could provide an annual benefit of US$690 for some farmers in 2020, representing a 39% increase in their average farming income.
  1. Receipt services to provide greater transparency in daily commodity supply chains, through use of registration and receipt services via the mobile, allowing farmers to raise their incomes by improving efficiency, reducing costs and eliminating fraud.
  1. 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 US$612 for some farmers.
  1. 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 US$271 in 2020; a 50% increase on current farming incomes.
  1. Smartphone-enabled services to provide deeper functionality and richer sources of information than is possible using basic SMS and voicemail services. While smartphone penetration is currently low in rural areas in emerging market economies, average device prices continue to fall year-on-year. Advanced and affordable mobile services could lead to an increase in average annual farming incomes of US$675 for more than four million farmers in 2020.