Robi Axiata Ltd has recently organized a workshop with agro-experts on how mobile technology could be used to empower farmers.
The workshop was designed to create a bridge among Agro-stakeholder in the value chain to appreciate what defines an average farmer and how ICT could be used to create a sustainable link between the two.
Speaking at the event, Robi Chief Markets Officer, Pradeep Shrivastava, explained that the objective of the discussions was to highlight the impact of mobile phones on agriculture and rural development. “Robi is one of the operators in Bangladesh to offer information and advice on a fingertip which has the potential to empower rural Bangladesh and enhance with work and lives of millions in the farm sector. Realtime information such as weather and yield can be life transforming,” he added.
Pointing out the sheer scale of adoption of mobile phones in the last 10 years, he suggested mobile phone penetration had risen faster that adoption of other communication tools like TV, newspaper and radio. “Africa is quite ahead in using mobile technology in agriculture,” he added.
Dr. Philip M. Parker, INSEAD Chair Professorship of Management Science, at INSEADUniversity in France, in his keynote presentation, said that “The only sustainable way in the long term will be when the farmer uses an easy and accessible tool to get the information in an easy and affordable price.”
It is expected that outcome of the event is realization that It is the right time to empower the farmer, and that the telecom industry could serve as an enabler tool for farmers to gain easy access to relevant information as well as complex data, via his mobile phone through a call center.
Ricardo Hernandez, Senior Research staff, IFPRI; Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman, Consultant, mAgri echnical Programme, GSMA; Ashfaq Enayetullah, Swiscontact; Hein Bijlmakers, Component Leader, Blue Gold Program, Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB); Hendrik Jan Keus , Chief of Party, The World Fish Center; Dr. Philip M. Parker, Chaired Professor of Management Science, INSEAD University and Taro Araya, CEO, MIAKI also spoke on how information access would make a difference.