Icrisat develops phablet for small farmers

By: | Published: December 31, 2014 12:43 AM

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat), a non-profit organisation that conducts agricultural research...

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat), a non-profit organisation that conducts agricultural research, has launched a customised low-cost combination phone and tablet aimed at small farmers. It will  provide information about  weather, pest problems and prices of agricultural inputs and crops. Called the ‘green phablet’, it is  powered by a special SIM card that can be used with any mobile phone.

“The green phablet will allow information to be precisely targeted to individual smallholder farmers. This will help farmers purchase inputs at lower price, get a better price for their produce, and gain access to markets, thus placing them on the path to prosperity,” said William Dar, Icrisat’s director general.

The green phablet is priced at $299. It was developed by the Icrisat Center of Excellence in ICT Innovations for Agriculture in collaboration with Hyderabad-based Nunc Systems.

The SIM was created under a unique partnership between  Icrisat, mobile phone service provider Airtel, and IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative) Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL).  The  phablet provides pull-based personalized advisory services to individual farmers rather than providing push based generic advisories.

“This device acts like a mobile village knowledge centre/common service centre, enabling farmers to benefit from contemporary information and communication technologies and expanding internet connectivity in remote rural regions,” Dileepkumar Guntuku, director,  Icrisat Center of Excellence in ICT Innovations for Agriculture, said. “It creates an ecosystem of services that will improve the quality and convenience of information dissemination and knowledge sharing among stakeholders,” he added.  Discussions are on for  rolling out the device across India and in Africa as well.

A phablet combines the features of a smartphone and a tablet.

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