Innovative Ideas: Reuters and Rural Mobile Services

Last year Reuters launched a mobile services for farmers in Maharashtra called Reuters Market Light which offered relevant information to th...

Last year Reuters launched a mobile services for farmers in Maharashtra called Reuters Market Light which offered relevant information to the farmers like Mandi prices, weather etc and now it has expanded it to Punjab. I am intrigued by the idea's appeal and the ability to reach the Indian hinterland this is one of those innovative ideas where technology can transform lives but I am unsure to call it a success yet. Now It seems like a pretty ambitious idea which has been launched in two states whose farmers are comparatively richer compared to the rest of the country and Reuters claim that it is a success selling 60,000 subscriptions in Maharashtra and already 3000 in Punjab.
According to Reuters press release:
Reuters Market Light(RML) offers customized, localized, personalized, timely and accurate information to farmers that help them make informed decisions. The information is sent via text messaging in Punjabi language. The RML service is independent of mobile operators and handsets. RML has signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) with Punjab Mandi Board for sourcing market data from APMC Mandis across the state.

RML subscribers receive:

  • Daily weather updates for the next 24 hours and covers: minimum temperature, maximum temperature, probability and precipitation of rainfall and relative humidity. Farmers can plan inter-cultural operations accordingly as the weather forecasts address the production risk.
  • Price updates and arrival information of select commodities from the regulated markets in the state. Farmers can subscribe for two commodities and receive market data from three markets of his choice. They can change the markets on demand according to specific needs. This helps farmers decide where and when to sell their produce.
  • Presently, RML is covering 17 crops including varieties: cotton, maize, paddy (Basmati and PUSA), wheat, potato, cabbage, pea, cauliflower, green chilli and kinnow. It provides market data on these crops from 60 markets across the state.
  • Crop Advisory Tips are sourced from the Indian Council for Agriculture Research and/or Punjab Agricultural University. RML is in the process of becoming associated with PAU to offer best-in-class advisory tips in the most timely manner.
  • The service provides news related to agriculture, state government schemes, price trends and commodity movements.
I wish them the best and hope that they manage to make a difference.
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