Give us some insights on the mobile services you are providing to the farmers and rural communities.
In India, nearly 60 percent of the working population makes their living from agriculture; hundreds of millions of farmers suffer economic losses because they do not have access to timely, localised and accurate information on crop prices, relevant government schemes, subsidies, sources of finance, weather and crop advisory actionable and personalised information service.
The idea behind the service started with the realisation of the causes behind the poor state of millions of farmers around the developing world. In 2007, RML’s services were launched on the SMS platform to address pain points of farmers and positively impact their livelihoods.
RML’s Information Services to farmers are available via a subscription based SMS service (RMLdirect) or a free to download Android App (myRML), RML’s information services cover around 50,000 villages across 18 states and are powered by hundreds of full time employees deployed on the ground. This service is available in 9 languages and works on all handsets and networks.
One of our services, RMLdirect, is an SMS based personalised, agri information service specially designed for farmers while myRML is a free to download android and java based mobile application that provides comprehensive agri information to farmers.
The another service, Krishidoot is an easy-to-use mobile and web based platform that brings together farming communities and agri businesses to efficiently engage with each other across 20 states covering more than 400 crop varieties.
How have these services helped the rural communities in their earnings?
From a simple project idea in 2006 to a pioneering business across 18 states in India, RML has evolved significantly with key innovations in these 8 years. From delivering agri information services it has now taken full form to strive to become the pre-eminent digital platform for farmers and further the impact it has on agri communities.
Our studies have consistently shown that over 80 percent of the farmers have directly benefited from the RML services with individual farmers stating financial benefits ranging from a few thousand rupees to up to four lakh rupees.
Currently, how many people are getting benefited through such services and in what geographical areas?
RML Services are present in 18 states across the country and have benefited over 1.5 million farmers directly through its services. The compounded impact of our services via sharing is estimated to reach about 6-7 million farmers.
To avail the services, how much a subscriber has to pay?
For RMLdirect (SMS based services), a farmer has to walk in to any of our partner bank branches as we have tied up with SBI, PNB, NJGB, BOI, VKGB and many more, and pay Rs. 499 for an annual subscription for the services. Under this, we offer him information on weather, mandi prices, crop advisory and news on government schemes, subsidies, and general news through SMS as per his profile and preferences.
The mobile application myRML is available free to download and use for any farmer with active mobile internet connection and a data enabled phone.
Do you have partnership with any telecom service provider? If yes, please describe?
Our services have always been and will continue to be independent of operators and mobile handsets. We have the ability today to reach any handset make and any operator connection. We have always believed that our services should work within the limited resources that farmers have and being operator and handset agnostic is one of the steps towards achieving that. We have in the past explored partnerships to expand our reach into rural India and we will continue to do so. Our aim is to make our services available to all Indian farmers.