Anita Lama, 35, lives in a small village 20 km away from the capital city Kathmandu. She lives with her two daughters, aged 15 and 17. Her husband died while he was in Qatar as a labourer. Like typical Nepali farmer, she has vegetable farming, 5 chickens and a cow.
After her husband passed away, her main source of income is now farming, through which she has to afford food and school fees of her daughters.
Aiming to make income from farming isn’t that easy unless she adopts commercial techniques. She has to choose better seeds, practice commercial farm management by using appropriate fertilizers and irrigation; she has to be careful about pests and disease to make good harvest; and she has to regularly check agro-markets to sell the products in profit. Many times, she doesn’t get a good harvest because she can’t diagnose pest/diseases.
Like Anita, in Nepal more than 66% of the people are directly engaged in the agriculture sector that provides 30% of annual GDP to the country. However, most farmers farm primitively and ineffectively and there is a growing food trade deficit and malnutrition in the country. The drastic need to improve agricultural productivity and production through the adoption and adaptation of improved agricultural technologies and techniques is apparent.
In order to meet the food requirements of the growing population, food grains and other agricultural products have to be increased. The immediate available means to attain the national goal of food self-sufficiency is improving productivity through improved technologies. Improved seeds, fertilizer, farming tools and machineries, pesticides etc. One of the biggest market problems faced by the farmers is an information gap; they lack information on how to farm effectively and maximize their returns. To solve this issue, an efficient Agriculture Extension service backed by Interactive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based Platform can play a vital role.
Ever since Anita had a pressure of making good income from her farming, she has adopted Krishi Guru as her best teacher. Krishi Guru also called Agriculture Teacher is a mobile application platform that now help almost 300,000 Nepalese farmers like Anita.
Farmer can ask pest related queries by sending pictures from their farm in Krishi Guru’s Facebook Chatbot and Android Application.
Krishi Guru experts instantly solves the problem and lets other experienced farmers contribute their knowledge. Krishi Guru platform offer more than 100 verities of Commercial vegetable, fruits and livestock farming guides in local language. User can learn about modern input supplies and find at the nearest location. Updated market price of different 13 agro markets help farmer increase bargaining power so that they are not exploited by middle man. The platform also lets farmers know about trainings and subsidies happening at different part of the country.
Rolling out digital solutions in a developing country like Nepal needs a strong enabler, so that large mass of people get access to and adapt the technology. This is why Krishi Guru is working to have strategic partnership with Nepal’s largest private led Telco and aiming to serve 1 million farmers like Anita in coming 5 years.
Sibjan Chaulagain is Founder and Managing Director of ICT for Agri Pvt Ltd. He founded the company in 2014 after spending 2 years in his rural village with his farmer parents and villagers after graduating engineering. He is currently an Echoing Green Fellow and has received many national and international awards for creating a positive impact for Nepalese farmers.