Farming Message

Dec 14, 2009 (LBO) – Mobile phone message services like one deployed by the financial news agency Reuters to over a million farmers in India, could help Sri Lankan farmers earn more for their produce, experts said. Ranjit Pawar of Reuters Market Light, India said their SMS (short message service) in India provide farmers timely information and helps eliminate middlemen.

“A farmer told me, ‘If I had timely information I could have made 40 percent more money,’ when we launched the short message service in India,” Pawar told a seminar on knowledge based economies.

It was organized by LIRNEasia, a regional think tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Reuters provides three to five SMS in the local language to Indian farmers who call to a toll free number and make a request on what commodities their interested in, Pawar said.

It helps farmers get information like weather forecasts and the best time to harvest to get the best prices for their produce.

The SMS service, offered free of charge at the 2007 test launch in the Indian state of Maharashtra, has now gone commercial with farmers charged a monthly subscription fee.

“Through this system farmers know the prices and come directly to the ma