Free service on mobile phones of farmers registered with the KVK in district

Farmers registered with the district Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) under the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) can now receive on their mobile phones voice messages in the local language on a range of topics such as availability of planting material, time for fertilisation, details of possible pest outbreak, agricultural training programmes, and product market information.

The service will initially be available to the nearly 800 farmers who had been receiving text messages from the KVK on farm issues, a KVK spokesperson said.

The service, part of an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) initiative called virtual Krishi Vigyan Kendra (vKVK), is aimed at empowering the KVKs to communicate with the farmers through voice, text, and e-mail messages.

“After rectifying the technical glitches that surfaced in the initiation stage, the voice message service was launched in July first week,” P.S. Manoj, horticulture subject matter specialist from the KVK, said.

The 30-second messages from agriculture officers, experts, and scientists will be sent from time to time to help farmers address concerns they face on a day-to-day basis. “There will be at least one message a week,” Mr. Manoj said.

vKVK makes use of the existing extension network of KVKs in the country, and allows agricultural extension officers to send voice-based agro-advisories in the local dialect to the farmers’ mobile phones.

KVK programme assistant C.K. Jayakumar said the service was receiving a good response from the farmers. “It’s especially so when it comes to messages pertaining to availability of planting materials,” Mr. Jayakumar said. Earlier, farmers received text messages from the KVK on almost all challenges they faced in the fields. But these were in English language, which most ordinary farmers found difficult to understand. “That difficulty has been overcome through the new voice message service,” Mr. Manoj said.

In case the phone is engaged or outside the coverage area when the voice message is sent, the call will be repeated later a couple of times to ensure that the farmer does not miss the message. Interested farmers can register their name and phone number with the KVK to avail themselves of the service for free. Ph: 0496 2662372.

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