Farming with Facebook in India

In most of the developed world, using ICTs to increase productiveness and stabilize business markets is an everyday practice. ICTs allow for different businesses and different sectors within a business to communicate with each other at all times so that they can ensure the maximum benefit. In more recent times with innovative ICT4D initiatives, many places in the developing world have been beginning to catch on to this trend.

Much of the developing world is beginning to use cell phones as a way to better communicate with each other. However there are also many other platforms for communication that are being used. In the Maharashtra state of India, turmeric (a spice very popular to Indian cuisine) farmers have been facing many problems. Because the competing farmers were not in communication with each other, they all saw a dramatic drop of prices in the turmeric market. Thus, they created a Facebook page called the “Turmeric Farmers Council of India” in which farmers from all over the region were invited so they could decide together how much to produce in order to maintain a steady demand. The Facebook page also provides a platform for them to get in touch with farmers in other regions so that boycotts can be planned when they feel that certain prices in particular markets are not right.

The majority of these farmers have greater access to mobile phones than they do to computers. Thus, many of them are using their smart phones to connect to Facebook rather than their computers. This allows them for greater mobility when they are out farming so that they can be more effective when communicating with other farmers. This use of Facebook is a very innovative solution for these Indian farmers and hopefully can start to be greater employed in other parts of the world to regulate markets.

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3 responses to “Farming with Facebook in India

  • brookekania

    I enjoyed reading this post and it reminded me of the article we read on fishermen in India that used their cellphones to communicate with each other to know the supply and demand of fish at different markets so that they could fish accordingly. However, I find it interesting that these farmers are using smartphones and the internet to communicate through Facebook because I would imagine that paying for internet on a phone would be a lot more expensive than airtime to call each other.

  • jessalynkunz

    I agree with the previous comment. This is a really cool idea and I like seeing that Facebook is being used for development. However, I agree that it seems like making calls would be cheaper than paying for the internet on a smartphone. Nevertheless, determining and collecting phone numbers for all farmers would not be feasible so Facebook could be a great jumping off point to simply get them initially connected.

  • msingh2

    I think it’s really interesting how the farmers used the existing technology in such a creative way. Facebook has become a leading social networking site and to think that it could even help turmeric farmers communicate is fascinating. In this way, they are able to control market prices and maintain a balance between supply and demand. My only concern is whether these farmers are truly willing to work together to maintain the industry and keep market prices from dropping rather than only seeking self-gain. Other technological issues that may arise include access to computers and the availability of internet. Despite this, the initiative seems to be doing really well and hopefully with further awareness about the site, more farmers will be able to benefit from it.

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