e-Krishok: A 360-degree ICT- enabled solution to empower farmers in Bangladesh

e Krishok caseBangladesh Institute for ICT in Development (BIID)service basket, e-Krishok is the concept of integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a 360-degree solution in agriculture: from preproduction to postproduction levels.

Country: Bangladesh

Organization: Bangladesh Institute for ICT in Development (BIID), DAE, Grameen Phone, MEAS/USAID, CRS, Katalyst Syngenta Foundation

Theme: Agriculture

Overview of activities:
BIID’s e-Krishok provides a 360-degree solution in agriculture which includes extension to market linkage to information to online trading. BIID’s flagship initiative consisting of different service components such as the information repository (www.ekrishok.com) including fact sheets, short code 16250, Info Centre (Batighor), www. extension.org (the knowledge-sharing platform) as well as the Market Linkage Program (MLP) and Crop Insurance.

Methodology:
Bangladesh Institute for ICT in Development (BIID) has taken the initiative to use the existing ICT network for developing and delivering services to create access to information for different actors of the agriculture sector.

Major outcomes:

a. www.ekrishok.com
www.ekrishok.com, an online information repository, contains various contents in the form of factsheet and query solutions. Any user can directly communicate for any information and a back-end service desk provides the solution within a very short period.

b. Help Line 16250
Available to Grameen Phone customers and farmers, they can enjoy call back and SMS-based advisory services.

c. www.extension.org.bd
The website has been launched to facilitate a platform for knowledge sharing among stakeholders in extension services. Based in Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University, this platform shares updated information on extension services and technology. BIID and the Department of Agricultural Extension are also working to

d. ‘Batighar’
Batighar is a physical access point, popularly known as a telecentre, to ensure that farmers and other target groups can avail services as well as communicate through a human interface. Various e-Krishok services are profiled and available in the center

e. Market Linkage Program
Jointly with Grameen Phone, ACI and Katalyst, BIID is piloting an online market place for farmers and traders, where buyers and sellers can directly communicate, negotiate, trade and transact. BIID as the aggregator of the platform, ensures proper operation of the value chain.

f. Farmbook
BIID in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) introduced Farmbook to offer an ICT-enabled solution to assess profitability and frame a business plan.

g. Training and Awareness building
BIID is offering various value-added services to members of e-Krishok (who enlisted through different activities and registered for services) like training and awareness building on new technology and solutions. Simultaneously, BIID is engaging Sub- Assistant Agriculture Officers (SAAOs) to facilitate various ICT-enabled services.

Milestones/Lessons learned:
When BIID launched the e-Krishok service in Baira bazaar as well as in different parts of Bangladesh, farmers are skeptical about BIID activities as they were ignorant about ICT technology. But the success of e-Krishok members boosted their interest. Now, other farmers have started to understand the power of modern ICT technology. They also understand that proper information at the right time can save them from potential losses, increase their productivity and profit. Farmers, as well extension agents, are beginning to realize that through proper planning and a smart approach, traditional farming can be turned into successful business enterprises.