Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID) has successfully completed the replication and up-scaling phase of the e-Krishok campaign. e-Krishok is a campaign designed to bring the benefits of ICT to the farmers of rural Bangladesh. ICT can be used to deliver information and advisory services to farmers in rural and remote locations at a very low cost, and with this information and advisory service farmers can derive benefit which that farmer would otherwise not have been able to access. With access to such information and advisory services, farmers are able to improve their livelihoods, income; and hence plan for the future in a more secure frame of mind.
The e-Krishok campaign has utilized the infrastructure of existing tele-centers to deliver such information and advisory services; these tele-centers are known as Community Information Center (CIC). Whenever a farmer has an issue, question or problem related to agriculture, livestock, poultry or any other income generating activity, that farmer can visit the tele-center and receive the correct information in a timely manner.
The campaign was officially launched by BIID in October of 2008. In the pilot phase, 10 locations were selected and work was carried out in only these 10 locations. During the pilot phase, the achievements are as follows:
- Farmers reached (direct + indirect) through the campaign = ~ 2500
- Registered Members (Direct reach) = 756
- Total # of queries of farmers handled by CICs in 10 locations (Trial of Services) = ~ 550
- # of farmers that reported to have benefited by applying information / advice of CICs (Beneficiaries) = ~ 150
As a result of the success of the pilot phase, it was decided to scale up the e-Krishok campaign to over 100 locations throughout Bangladesh. The replication and scaling phase started in November of 2009. This phase of the e-Krishok campaign has been extremely successful. The achievements of this phase are as follows:
- Farmers reached (direct + indirect) through the campaign = 13846
- Registered Members (Direct reach) = 12112
- Total # of queries of farmers handled by CICs in 100 locations (Trial of Services) = 6103
- # of farmers that reported to have benefited by applying information / advice of CICs (Beneficiaries) = 1768
Through this campaign, it has been realized that farmers can be benefited by using ICT in their lives to solve their agricultural problems. However what was learned from this campaign is that farmers are are weary of anything new, even more so if they do not understand it. They have been promised many things, have had their hopes raised for a better life only for those promises to be broken. So it is not surprising that they are not willing to accept anything new.
However the e-Krishok run by BIID has shown the farmers that they can rely on ICT to improve their livelihoods, increase their income and thereby bring a positive change in their lives. These past few months have been hectic here at BIID, but we feel that the results have justified all the hard work!!!