Farmers to save 600 Crore courtesy mobile broadband

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 30 August 2010, 10:19 Hrs   |    7 Comments
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Farmers to save Rs. 600 Crore courtesy mobile broadband
New Delhi: Farmers can save about $125 million over the next five years through mobile broadband based services that provide them quick information on market prices and vital crop inputs, according to report.

According to a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), getting information quickly on best prices and cultivation practices, with special focus on areas like plant protection from diseases and weather-related damage, will help farmers take fast decisions, saving them about 600 crore by 2015.

Lack of information on effective practises is leading to huge losses in the agriculture sector, report titled 'Mobile Broadband-Outlook 2015'. The report pointed out that mobile telephony would be a more convenient means of communication, as penetration of wireline infrastructure remains low in rural India.

A vast majority of rural Indians are also involved in farming-related activities such as animal husbandry, agriculture, fishing and poultry farming. Therefore, access to information on prices, weather conditions and other productivity enhancement measures would drive the adoption of mobile broadband by rural India. PwC highlighted that better rollout economics of mobile broadband can enable the Indian government to reach out to many more villages with common service centres (CSC). CSCs are kiosks managed by entrepreneurs, who charge a nominal fee for their services. More than 60,000 CSCs have already been set up across the country.

The roll out of 3G cellular services and broadband wireless access (BWA) technologies, and better rollout economics, can enable CSCs to reach all 600,000 villages in the country. The access to mobile broadband telephony will help rural India to browse the net, access information, perform commercial transactions, get entertainment, and access tele medicine, tele education and government services, said the report.
Mobile broadband will also increase the penetration of rural internet kiosk services such as ITC's e-choupal, which are currently available over a limited geography mainly due to lack of wireline infrastructure, the report added.

Between 1991 and 2009, the share of agriculture in India's GDP declined by around 14 percent, whereas that of services rose by over 20 percent, shows the report.

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