– Simple mobile services could improve incomes of 70 million Indian farmers by US$9 billion a year
– Average farming family in India lives on less than US$4 a day
– Vodafone launches ‘Farmers Club’ service in five countries to enhance smallholders’ productivity
Vodafone today published its Connected Farming in India report* which concludes that the introduction of six simple mobile services designed to help small-scale farmers in emerging markets could boost the farm gate incomes of 70 million Indian farmers by US$9 billion in 2020.
The Vodafone report, based on research commissioned from Accenture Strategy with support from the Vodafone Foundation, has found that the mobile services summarised below could enhance earnings by an average of US$128 a year for almost two-thirds of Indian farmers, achieving a material positive impact in communities where the average farming household lives on less than $4 a day and many farmers struggle to feed and educate their families.
India is one of the world’s largest food producers with more than 200 million people currently estimated to work in agriculture, around 100 million of them farmers and the remainder working as agricultural labourers. In India, 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 and Accenture Strategy have identified six mobile services with the potential to transform Indian farmers’ lives and livelihoods.
Expansion of the Vodafone Farmers’ Club
Vodafone also announced today that it will launch its Farmers’ Club initiative in four additional emerging market countries – India, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania – over the coming year. The Vodafone Farmers’ Club is a social business model which offers a range of mobile services to help farmers boost productivity. It was first launched by Vodafone in Turkey in 2009; around 25 per cent of the Turkish population work in agriculture and the Farmers’ Club programme has benefitted 1.2 million farmers, helping them to enhance crop yields and increase farm gate incomes.
Specific Farmers’ Club services offered 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. Vodafone will also develop a variant of the Farmers’ Club concept for farmers in New Zealand, a country with an advanced agricultural industry. Vodafone New Zealand is harnessing the strength of its extensive rural network to connect farms, agribusinesses and rural communities, helping to drive productivity, profitability and innovation.
Vodafone Group Regional Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region Serpil Timuray, 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.”