Simple mobile services could improve incomes of 70 million Indian farmers by US$9 billion a year by 2020, estimates a study conducted by Accenture Strategy with support from the Vodafone Foundation.
The study found that six mobile services could enhance earnings by an average of US$128 a year for almost two-thirds of Indian farmers.
- Agricultural information services can provide early warning of weather events, information on the best times to harvest and advice on crop techniques to enhance yields. These services could increase an estimated 60 million Indian farmers’ annual incomes by an average of US$89 a year in 2020.
- Receipt services can provide greater transparency in daily commodity supply chains, allowing farmers to raise their incomes by improving efficiency and eliminating fraud.
- Payments and loans can provide farmers access to financial products and services using mobile money payment systems such as Vodafone’s M-Pesa. Access to highly cost-effective micro-finance and quick and transparent electronic payment systems could provide an annual benefit of US$690 for some farmers in 2020, representing a 39 percent increase in their average farming income.
- Field audits monitoring quality, sustainability and certification requirements, and using electronic reporting by tablets and mobile data, could increase annual average income by US$612 for some farmers.
- Local supply chains could allow small-scale producers to transact with local co-operatives, boosting some farmers’ annual incomes by US$271 in 2020; a 50 percent increase.
- Smartphone-enabled services could provide deeper functionality and richer sources of information than is possible using basic SMS and voicemail services. Advanced and affordable mobile services could lead to an increase in average annual farming incomes of US$675 for more than four million farmers in 2020.
Vodafone also is sponsoring a Farmers’ Club initiative in four additional emerging market countries: India, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.
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.