With most parts of the country dependent on the monsoon for irrigation, farming continues to be a risky venture in India. Lack of timely and reliable access to farm inputs, markets, technology, information, credit, and marketing support hinders small farmers’ efforts to improve their output, yield, and prices.
This is why TCS in 2009 launched mKRISHI®, a for-profit rural mobile services platform that uses ICT to help solve farming challenges. The goal before the TCS Innovation Labs team was to create a ‘Google’ for rural India by collecting, managing, and leveraging a wide range of data related to farming.
Today, mKRISHI® delivers a range of personalized services such as agro advisory, best practices, alerts, weather forecasts, and supply chain management to farmers on their mobile phones. mKRISHI®’s mobile component instantly digitizes available field data and transmits it over GPRS or similar networks to a web dashboard for analysis by experts and operational planners.
The mKRISHI® platform harnesses five digital forces – social networks, mobility, analytics, cloud, and IoT – to create ‘market- and climate-smart’ entities. It enables the use of predictive analytics for crop acreage and yield, crop health, soil status, weather and pest forecasts, and resource quality assessment, helping farmers minimize risk.
Farmers using mKRISHI® form groups of 1,000 called Progressive Rural Integrated Digital Enterprise or PRIDE™. Collective buying through the 300 PRIDE™ collectives spread across 10 states has helped bring down input procurement costs for farmers. This helps them get much better prices for their yield.
Meanwhile, efficiencies in the field have resulted in over 40% increase in yield, and over 10% reduction in pesticides and fertilizer usage. The mKRISHI® platform crossed 1 million users in 2017, a figure its team aims to push to 100 million by 2020 – so that no farmer has to go hungry ever again.