Mobile based agri information service
Mobile phone has changed our daily life tremendously. If we utilize this small and smart tool in our every sphere of life, certainly we can reach our target of development. Agriculture is the largest sector in Bangladesh, comprises almost 80% peoples involvement. Timely and demand led information dissemination is the prime objective right at this moment. If we can successfully utilize the mobile devices for agri information dissemination, tremendous development in agriculture is quite possible. Keeping these in mind, Agriculture Information Service under Ministry of Agriculture launched Mobile based agriculture information service with the technical help from private mobile operator Banglalink and cooperation by A2I project. We have successfully started SMS service, which was inaugurated by the Honble Agriculture Minister in December 2010. With this service different agro technology based message/information is being disseminated among the farmers, farmers association (AICC/IPM/ICM clubs), extension officials (From Head quarter to block level), policy makers etc. The SMS is online based. A sms is being typed in online, sending to Banglalink server then disseminating among the said stakeholders. Primarily the stakeholders can reply, but system development is going on to get reply from the receiver end as well. Moreover we are going to start IVR initiative, where people can reterive any agri based information by making phone call to a certain number. Content has finalized and demo of the program was successfully completed. Besides, a hot line for agriculture information for 24×7 is going to be launched very soon.
What we deliver
In the service our prime target stakeholders may be classified in two major groups: first one is farmers/farmer association and secondly is Government/NGO personnel. There are some agri technology based common information which is being transferred to among both these groups. Moreover there may be specific administrative instruction or information which is being disseminated among the Government personnel. Agriculture department as a whole comprised by huge personnel (around 20,000 persons). So this service enables to communicate with huge numbers at moment. In the IVR system, famers or any interested person can get agri information 24×7 time.
How is the project unique?
The proposed project is unique in nature. Because as it has been mentioned earlier, it was very difficult to communicate with the officials of the remote areas. Moreover, as the same message is being transferred among several people, so less change for message disruption. In IVR, one can get basic agricultural production based technology in 24×7.
If we really want to make Bangladesh digital by 2021 as the government vision is such, we must catch the train of ICT. We have to utilize the ICT tools in every sphere of our life. Computer and Mobile phone can really change our society. Before the mobile penetration in our country, communication was much hectic. Now within a moment we can communicate each other, can share our feelings. Agriculture is the largest enterprise in Bangladesh. Now this is the high time to incorporate these technologies for the betterment of agriculture. Like SMS, IVR different mobile based service will bring our desired change in productivity which will ultimately reduce the poverty and enhance the quality of livelihood.
Agriculture Information Service
Md. Nazrul Islam
Director, AIS, Khamarbari, Dhaka-1215 Bangladesh- 845418
URL/Website – www.ais.gov.bd