News From Telecom World

Kisan Portals – Not Enough Value Added

Posted on: February 4, 2009

Given the importance of agriculture in Pakistan, it makes sense to offer value added services to the agriculture community. Mobilink introduced the Kisan Service service a while ago. Now Zong has also started a similar service. These automated portals are accessed through mobile phones and offer recorded phone information for farmers in local languages. I think that the IVR approach is fine to start with but it is limited in value. I hope that the information is customized based on user’s location but I am not certain. We need smart applications which are simple to use and run on all kinds of phones (not just high end smart phones). Here’s one interesting application for farmers in India to control water pumps.

ZONG has launched this new IVR Service “Agricultural Portal” with a focus on the rural markets, alongside existing segments, covering maximum potential user base for its services keeping in view that 70% of Pakistan’s landmass is rural. This new village service platform will be one of the many customized services offered by ZONG in its effort to assist farmers improve their livelihood. Besides providing market information, the platform will supply the latest information regarding agricultural modernization, taxation, market rates and much more.

The service is available by dialing the short code 700 (zong & mobilink). Charge is Rs. 2 +tax per minute for zong and Rs. 3 per minute + tax for mobilink (as of this writing – subject to change).

Product Features

* Product Rates – Up to date Maandi Rates from all over the country.
* Fertilizers – Information on the fertilizers available in the country, including their rates, the soil on which they are effective & the subsidies given on them by the Government.
* Diseases & Pesticides – Information on crop diseases & the proposed remedies by letting them know of the available pesticides.
* Weather Alerts – Daily regional weather alerts.
* Agricultural & Tax Laws – Up to date agricultural & tax laws imposed by the Government.
* Machinery Rates – Up to date machinery rates & the subsidies offered to them by the Government.
* Agricultural Loans – Information on the agricultural loans offered by Banks.
* Tips – Educating them about innovative techniques for enhanced productivity.

Source: State of the Telecom Industry in Pakistan


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