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Amid COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted the traditional communication channels, Netafim India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Netafim, the global leader in smart irrigation solutions has commenced Netafim Krishi Samvaad, Netafim Ki Paathshala and Netafim Tip Of The Day to leverage digital revolution and use low-cost digital tools to engage with farmers through various platforms and formats.
Steering a new digital learning and content experience, these initiatives have allowed customers and partners to connect and exchange ideas with Netafim experts, no matter where they are. Digital information-sharing tools such as audio, text and video messaging have been proven highly effective in disseminating critical information to farmers despite of limited physical access during the present COVID-19 pandemic. The company has so far tapped a community of almost 8.5 million farmers across the country by relaying essential pre-sowing-related advisory services. With a 45 percent growth, in the last 60 days of online engagement, Netafim has gained nearly 9,576 members on its social media platforms.
Speaking on the digital initiatives, Randhir Chauhan, Managing Director, Netafim India said, “Netafim India has always been farmers’ cultural anthropologist. Before executing the initiatives, we examined how our audience has been using digital platforms so that we can design appealing content for them and help them engage with us. Today, modern technology’s all-pervading benefits have made it possible to disseminate scientific knowledge rich in indigenous knowhow and grounded in local context to farmers. To maximise the benefits of an increased online consumer presence, we decided to support farmers in remote locations with timely and crucial advice on various crops in their respective native languages”.
The company’s agronomists engaged with farmers through Netafim Krishi Samvaad, a vibrant series of multi-lingual webinar and shared examples of success stories and ideas for potential scaling up. The live sessions on some of the most popular social media platforms like Facebook, were conducted to educate farmers on the benefits of micro-irrigation systems to increase the yield of cotton, turmeric, and banana. Starting from land preparation, planting, usage of fertilisers to water management and selection of drip lines, the educational series with live presentations gave out step-by-step information of the entire crop cycle. It also included sessions by the renowned agronomists on the benefit of micro-irrigation, the product selection basis the farmers’ land and usage. The educational series with live presentations helped the farmers to understand better crop yield mechanisms with minimal intervention.
To make it more interactive and engaging, the company launched a series of videos through Netafim Ki Pathshala on YouTube to provide in-depth knowledge of the benefits of modern drip irrigation systems.
“Agriculture is an economic powerhouse for India and COVID-19 is disrupting some activities in this sector and supply chains. Even though the government has exempted agriculture farmers are in a predicament to seek advice on the operations and on improving their livelihood post the pandemic era. In view of this, we aim to lend the farmer community optimum support so that we can battle together against the challenges that the pandemic has posed” said Chauhan.
Attendees of Netafim Krishi Samvaad have given a positive response to the live webinars. The comments section has been buzzing with positive feedback like timely, informative and easy to access. Appreciating the live session conducted by Netafim Agronomist Yashdeepsingh Girase, Sandip Deshmukh, a farmer from Washim, Maharashtra said, The direct access to the scientific information and tools may help them improve their agro-outcomes in turmeric”. Patidar Suresh Kumar Virani from Gujarat said, “The session is very helpful for farmers using drip irrigation as it creates healthier growing conditions and higher yields while saving time and money.”
Farmers feel adopting drip irrigation system will help them gain maximum yields and give them immense opportunity to grow. They have also shared their experiences of using Netafim products and sought customised information; a few have suggested topics for future webinars. Kondal from Yadadri, Telangana requested a session on drip irrigation implantation for his 6-acre Mango farm. Owing to the enthusiasm of farmer community, Netafim India has planned to conduct the following live sessions with focus on chilli, groundnut, paddy, tomato, sugarcane, onion, papaya, pomegranate and more. The live sessions will be scheduled from August to November.