Making Mobile work as livelihoods Support tool

 

Small livestock like goats/sheep/backyard poultry are reared by poor families and mostly women led activities. Mobile based solutions can help them to access information and empower to know live body weight pricing of their goats.

Most often such poor farmers afford mobile for limited communication with their relatives or near and dear ones. But present program provides an altogether different use for their livelihoods and can enhance access to services when they need it. Enabling a vulnerable segment in accessing quick information for small livestock upkeep and health management to marketing is real cause this solution supported. Irony in sale and purchase of livestock like goats is – we can purchase today anything like within 2 to 3 hours but not goats, which will take at least 3 to 5 days even for a single good lactating goats.

Problem lies on two fronts – Standardisation of pricing based on objective criteria and unavailability of information of seller and buyer in a geography and at a given point of time. Rates are subjected to estimation and palpation largely known to traders through trial and error methods but not known to producer, who invests over a year to produce the product.

Although Goat farmers are most often poorer set of families, largely dominated by women, no technology has been implemented to help them in price assessment and dissemination of information to potential seller or buyer through use of Information Technology. This has adversely affected livelihoods of large mass of poor in the country and across globes. Similarly livestock disease surveillance system and knowledge based support to village livestock farmers had been almost absent and no helps come in sight when their livestock gets sick or they want to adopt new practices to improve productivity.Low cost operation enables us to reach to Pashu Sakhi in remote part of the country and through Pashu Sakhi to a goat farmer in need with regular updates. Similarly Pashu Sakhi can consult our expert through call and voice SMS. Even community based Insurance messages can be easily send to for technical monitoring and process initiation for settlement of claims.

As this model caters to need of most neglected part of society and helps them to improve livelihoods, this has proven a ray of hope in tribal belts like Jharkhand. Salient feature of the product had been –

  • Converting mobile in hands of rural poor as livelihoods support tool.
  • Building regular and emergency communication as feature of program.
  • Building virtual goat market helping poor to save cost and time of physical travel and search for goats.
  • Developing standard of live body weight pricing mechanism empowering poor farmers to be able to negotiate.
  • Women becoming able to take lead in animal health care and marketing, previously largely dominated by males and changing it from exploitative system to service concept system.
  • Indirect cost of sale and purchase of goats (like travel, locating time) will be reduced.

As this is first use of using mobile to link with goat farmers for a business facilitation, developing equitable market and enabling poorest to take advantage of technology, this program needs more piloting and up scaling. This is also a replicable and sustainable program as traders and buyers are willing to pay price to get consolidated information.