To support this emerging need and simultaneously harnessing these opportunities, “KisanSarathi” an Information Communication and Technology (ICT) based interface solution has been visualized with an ultimate goal of: An intelligent online platform for supporting agriculture at local niche with national perspective. Which is intended to provide a seamless, multimedia, multi-ways connectivity to the farmers with the latest agricultural technologies, knowledge base and the pool of large number the subject matter experts. It has been stipulated that it will facilitate, in phase wise manner, the virtual connectivity between man to man (farmers to experts), semi-automatic man to machine (farmer to computers/agriculture knowledge base) and fully automatic - machine to machine (smart phone to computers/agriculture knowledge base) and vise-versa by utilizing the potential of Artificial Intelligence/Machine learning and such modern tools and techniques. It will be a hub of two way multi-lingual communication and automated searching (using Artificial Intelligence) and transmission of agricultural technology information and advisory in the form of Videos, Audios, Images and Textual Information through:
Digital/Virtual Query Assistant (DQA): In this farmer will call to a specified number and record his query in his own language (initially in English and Hindi), which will be automatically directed to respective KVK/ATARI. The query will be responded in the same language after which phone number of the farmer will be automatically dialed and he will be able to know the response. Apart, from this it will also send automated advisory to farmers for different farm operations based on local scenarios/situation
Technology Library: A well classified multi-lingual technology library will be developed with the help of small videos, audios, images, and texts which can be accessed by the farmers by searching through voice and text using DQA or any digital device.
IIDS would be the technical platform used for delivery of personalised advisories through KVKs in Kissan Sarathi. IIDS is a push- and pull-based system where agriculture-related information can be pulled from the farmers using mobile phones. IIDS is a combination of smartphone application, interactive portal, and IVRS. A mobile interface is at the front end and a web interface is at the back end. Data is transmitted through voice, text, images, and videos from both ends (farmers to expert and back). This system provides options to farmers to subscribe to the various services. Farmers will then receive individual needs-based information for only those services to which they have subscribed. Farmers have an option at a later date to either select more services or unsubscribe to some of the existing services. The system is connected to a centralized database, which has all information on the farm, farmer, and previous transactions. The experts at the back end (the web application) have access to the farmers’ database while responding to the farmers’ queries.
Unique Selling Point of IIDS
The calls from the farmers are received at the centralized server and routed to the relevant expert. The query information is saved for building context for later queries by the same farmer or other farmers in the local area. The agri-expert has access to the knowledge database of information available and linked with the system. In turn, the expert understands the farmer or the field problem in a better way and facilitates in providing an appropriate solution (Know You Farmer).
Beneficiaries of IIDS:
i) Agriculture Extension Department: The extension division at each State or any other agency can register their KVKs stations and monitor all the query & advisory being received and given by them.
ii) KrishiVigyanKendras (KVK): Any KVK can cater location specific problems of their farmers by using the IIDS system. The coordinator can assign & monitor the jobs to the field extension workers and subject matter specialists for providing agro advisory services.
iii) Subject Matter Specialist (SMS): SMS can provide farm specific information and solutions to the farmer’s queries in real time as well as on offline mode. Facility has been given to offer agro advisories (in various domains) to the farmer backed by his farm history & his query which may be an image or voice or text of the farmer. The expert has access to knowledge database of information available / linked with the system. In turn, the expert is able to understand the farmer / field problem in a better way (KYF – Know Your Farmer) and facilitate in providing appropriate solution to the farmer.
iv) Farmer: Farmers are the end users of IIDS and as per the study the most commonly available, accessible and preferred ICT gadget for farmers is Mobile phones. Thus the system is developed keeping this factor in mind which can cater the basic and value added multimedia agro advisory services to all types of mobile user farmers, independent of their network providers.
v) Field Extension Workers: These can be the local champions / progressive farmers having agricultural experience along with operational knowledge of computer / smart phones. They canl act as an information messenger for the farmers who doesn’t have any smart phone or are unable to send / receive the information on multimedia mode
The IIDS application has been developed using open-source technology such as PHP and MySQL for the web portal; Asterisk, an open-source communication software for IVRS; and Android Platform for mobile application. The major features of the system follow: