Info Via Mobile, Net Helps Farmers to Best Deal

INDIA - Poultry farmers are benefitting from a portal offering information on egg, broiler and feed prices, while Nokia has expanded its platform to cover agricultural information and education services.
calendar icon 15 December 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Rajiv Goyal, who rears 400,000 layers on four farms in Panchkula (Haryana), used to depend on middlemen and 'hearsay' to keep himself updated on market rates and other issues related to the poultry industry. His close friend Mr Atul Mahajan, who is also into poultry business, is no better.

Hindu Business Line reports that, after experiencing quite a few drubbings in the market place, they realised that they have company and that absence of market information is denying them an opportunity to get additional income. Instead of depending on information from wrong sources, the tech-savvy duo have decided to start a credible information source and started – named after clucking sound of hen in Hindi.

The six-month-old portal already has 250,000 users in different States. It runs a ticker on egg, broiler and feed rates in various markets across the country.

"We charge 2,000 rupees a year to get daily updates on poultry prices. If opted for, we send updates on mobile phones," Mr Goyal told Business Line when he recently showcased his portal at an international poultry meet here.

Mr Prakash, a poultry farmer in Hyderabad, said farmers and distributors are using both Net-based and mobile-based tips. "I'm getting updates from a service launched by a local poultry farmers' association for free," he said.

He, however, admitted the fact that actual (price) positions varied. "But then it gives you an indication. Earlier, both buying and selling were done on assumptions and farmers were left to market forces," he said.

Realising the business potential, mobile manufacturer Nokia too expanded its OVI platform and offers agricultural information and education services under Life Tools head.

"We provide them latest information without having the need to have Internet access on their Nokia mobile devices," said Mr Natesh B.V., Director (Emerging Markets Services) of Nokia India. It had set up a 25-member agricultural desk in Bangalore to aggregate information from eco-system partners and send it to farmers. "We have five crore users, most of them being farmers and others in rural areas," he said.

"Farmers can time their trips to the markets after studying the price trends in over 300 local markets, arrivals to nearest mandis, crop advisory, weather and extension tips," he said.

"We charge two rupees a day from subscribers. Or, they can buy the service on any given day. We have tie-ups with various mobile service providers to collect the fee," he told Hindu Business Line.

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