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UX14 - Farmer App For Accessing Real Time Information For Enabling Decisions (FAARIED) (Ramarao Ravulaparthy)

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October 10, 2014

UX14 - Farmer App For Accessing Real Time Information For Enabling Decisions (FAARIED) (Ramarao Ravulaparthy)

There has been a decline in agricultural input and there is a need for accelerating the same. Though green revolution II is an answer for this, it needs to be supplemented by Information Access to farmers across the country for effective decision making and implementation. Information Technology has to be leveraged for this in a big way through using the most widely available platforms. Some technology initiatives exist in some parts of the country as isolated islands. A nationwide or a statewide Information Technology platform to disseminate the real time and wholesome information to enable the farmer is largely missing at many places. Due to its widely spread reach mobile platform becomes a preferred one. The solution for the above need is designing an app that enables the user (farmer) to access the relevant information provider/s and informing the geographic location ID of his farm/land that has been given to him and solicit the required information from them. In turn the information provider will give him suggestions/ answers/recommendations along with alternatives to the farmers on the information sought through voice mail/SMS including local languages.

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uxindia

October 10, 2014
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  1. UX India 14 http://www.2014.ux-india.org/submissions/uxindia2014/new International Conference on User Experience Design

    On 9, 10 & 11 October'14 at Bangalore. T Farmer App for Accessing Real time Information for Enabling Decisions (FAARIED) Preamble India has still a larger rural spread and population than its urban ones. Rural development forms a major component of India’s growth story. Agriculture and allied sectors is the lifeline of Indian sustainability providing livelihood for largest numbers in India more so in rural India. They contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP along with rural employment generation and food security. Measures such as soil conservation, sustainable natural resource management and biodiversity protection, are essential for holistic rural development. Most of the Indian farmers are not well educated persons and depend upon middlemen and have no direct access for scientific based farming advice. Need Analysis There has been a decline in agricultural input and there is a need for accelerating the same. Though green revolution II is an answer for this, it needs to be supplemented by Information Access to farmers across the country for effective decision making and implementation. Information Technology has to be leveraged for this in a big way through using the most widely available platforms. Some technology initiatives exist in some parts of the country as isolated islands. A nationwide or a statewide Information Technology platform to disseminate the real time and wholesome information to enable the farmer is largely missing at many places. In ICRIER working paper no. 246/2010, titled “Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Phones on Indian Agriculture” the authors Surabhi Mittal etal, have observed that one of the main drawbacks of Indian Agriculture is not able to leverage the input information dynamics that influence the farming decisions. The authors observe that though some initiatives like e-choupal of ITC have benefitted the farmers in some pockets they are isolated and not widely spread. A working group of the planning commission of India, Government of India, in its report on agricultural statistics has identified difficulty for data users in accessing existing data especially disaggregated data as one of the major constraints for
  2. growth of agriculture in the country. Some of the state

    initiatives taken in this regard includes development of Decision Support System for Optimum cropping and water Resources Management of a Costal River Basin by IIT Kharagpur and Assam University for Assam State. Thus these initiatives are isolated and not many. While the researchers across the states and country can develop several or an integrated decision support systems as above the access to the same remains far from satisfactory. Here comes the contribution from IT and Communication sector initiatives to empower the farmers nationwide/region wise to take advantage of the results of the advanced scientific and field research taking place in different parts of the country in the areas of soil research, farming in uncertain weather conditions, use relevant inputs and many other aspects. The need is to create nationwide common platform from which any farmer across India can access all these relevant developments at his doorstep/farm step through real time information for taking timely farming decisions. Solution for the Need identified The solution for the above need is designing an app that enables the user (farmer) to access the relevant information provider/s and informing the geographic location ID of his farm/land that has been given to him and solicit the required information from them. In turn the information provider will give him suggestions/answers/recommendations along with alternatives to the farmers on the information sought. In case the farmer is illiterate and would request for an advice the app should enable the information provider to respond in an appropriate way, viz. in local language or voice based answers. User Platform The app can be PC enabled or mobile enabled or both based on the infrastructure available and the economic/access viability of the relevant platform. However in view of the fact that India has deep penetration of mobile phones as compared to other devices it is advisable to start off with a mobile app initially and extend later to the other devices. However affordability, speed and access limitation should not become constraints. Design Process Design Process can be either through Participatory Design Process or Contextual Design (User- Centered Design Process) Design Features The App should be able to
  3. -Store the relevant user information like Farmer ID, land location

    (Survey numbers, Size, village, Panchayat, District, State) for repeat use and transmission to relevant agencies from whom information is sought -Get auto-connected to relevant/nearest state/regional/national information center/hub -Store required constant data like type of soil, patterns of immediately previous crops etc. of the ID holder -Retrieve any past critical information as and when required by the mobile holder -Pass on the farmer queries through SMS/Voice mode to the information center in local language/translation as can be recognized by the information provider to enable them to provide relevant answers -Receive, store, alert and retrieve in a user friendly manner and transmit to the user(owner farmer) for using the answers -Have other features that arise while designing the app when interacting with the users User information features Some of the typical information required by the Indian farmers at large are  -Crop Planning o Information on High Yield Crop o Information on High Yield Varieties  Buying Seeds o Best time to plant o Source inputs like Fertilizers  Planting o Planting Techniques o Weather Forecasts o Fertilizer Usage  Harvesting Packing and Storing o Identify best time to harvest o Weather forecast  Selling o Compare Traders to find out Prices o Identify best prices o Identify Transporters and storage problems User Constraints for using the designed App  Unavailability of a unified/integrated Information system on a national or regional level  Communication infrastructure inadequacy  Farmer literacy  Affordability of mobile phones
  4. Some Solutions for the above constraints  Readying the App

    for availability throughout the nation  Accelerating the integrated information platform  Providing Voice facility for illiterate farmers and local language facilitation  Making App for lower end mobile phones ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------