Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID)
Input and Extension Bundle Boosts Yields
e-Krishok (meaning electronic farmer) offers information and advisory services through mobile phones and email to farmers and service providers. The service was introduced in Bangladesh in 2008, to address the lack of effective of extension and advisory services in the agricultural sector.
Farmers can receive two SMS messages on a requested topic, or receive a call from a BIID information officer. Topics include how to deal with pests and diseases and optimum fertilizer / pesticide dosages, as well as climate information. Now available to any information centre with internet facilities or a mobile phone, the service has expanded to cover the entire country.
Ekram Hoosain, a farmer from Bagerhat, is pleased with the service. “It was a different experience to get my problems solved over my phone, by which I saved my crop,” he commented. “I never received a solution so quickly. It will be very easy for me now to call e-Krishok and solve problems.”
The content management team continually updates the product, closely considering climate issues. For example, farmers in the Southern delta of Bangladesh are suffering with salinity problems due to rising sea water levels on already saline soils. The e-Krishok team facilitated farmer access to saline tolerant varieties and technologies to ensure increased production and minimal losses.
BIID has recently collaborated with four input companies (primarily involved in seed and crop protection products) to introduce Zero Cost EAS that offers free advice when farmers buy a package of inputs. This service was offered to approximately 22,500 farmers during October 2015 to February 2016 and over half acknowledged the benefits of higher productivity or low production loss.
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