IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) , a joint venture of Star Global Resources Ltd, and Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), which offers agricultural info on mobile, appears to be gaining momentum, reports The Hindustan Times. IKSL’s primary aim is to provide timely information to farmers, in the form of SMS, in their vernacular. Bharti Airtel had tied up with IKSL in 2008. Airtel is the primary service provider for IKSL and currently holds 5% stake in the company.

How this works?
Farmers are required to purchase IKSL sim cards which makes them a part of the IKSL network in their area. IKSL sends out five SMS on a daily basis in their local language on power availability, canal rosters, soil testing, fertiliser/seed availability, how to handle crop diseases, veterinary problems and offering general solutions for agri-productivity issues. The messages are customized according to the region and associated cooperative. The company also provides helpline services which allows the farmers to seek advice on various agriculture related issues. The service is provided free of cost.

Subscribers & Service Areas

The company claims to add 3.5 lakh subscribers per month on an average and currently has an active user base of over 10,81,002. According the company website, it has covered 18 states including Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and others. after a 45 – day pilot in 11 villages of the Barabanki. IKSL claims to have 34,482 questions in its helpline while 46,552 accounts for the total message they have broadcasted.

This is not the first time when mobiles have been used as a medium to offer agriculture related information. Nokia’s Life tools offer information related to agriculture, horticulture, dairy farming and fisheries on Nokia feature phones.Last year, BSNL had also partnered National Fertilizer Limited to launch a pilot project offering crop information services, weather forecasts, soil testing as well as health information in local languages.