Can farmers rearing goats in the villages of Theni and Dindigul help farmers in Jamaica cultivating potato and ginger cultivation? Though involved in entirely different occupations, Jamaican farmers can learn the use of mobile technology to improve their farm produce, say officials from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) of Jamaica.

In the programme run by the Commonwealth of Learning, an intergovernmental organisation of the Commonwealth nations, members of self-help groups receive regular voice alerts on weather and various aspects of dairy farming in these Tamil Nadu villages. “The most important lesson that we learnt from India is the way the groups which include farmers, banks, NGOs and telecom companies, work together. In Jamaica, the police is part of the group as praedial larceny or the theft of agricultural produce, is common there. This is not common in India, since the groups are homogenous, which means there is more trust among its members,” says Al Powell, CEO, RADA, who was in the villages the last few days to study the use of mobile technology. “We even met farmers who said they repaid a five-year loan in two years.”