The state Agriculture department plans to promote its policies and schemes to farmers through WhatsApp.
“There are 9.37 crore mobile phone users in Maharashtra. It can be a huge advantage… to communicate agriculture policies and schemes. The department has been directed to… create more farmer-friendly outreach plans,” Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse said on Friday.
Maharashtra, with a population of 11.40 crore, has 1.56 crore farmers. Of these, almost 78 percent constitute small and marginal farmers. The average land holding of farmers in Maharashtra is 1.38 hectares.
Bhuse said that callers who dial 8010550870 will receive an automated welcome message and be provided information on agriculture-related policies. Details of 27 schemes have been uploaded so far, he added.
The department has also come up with a blog — krushi-vibhag.blogspot.com — which offers detailed analysis, financial allocations, parameters and beneficiary criteria of such schemes.
The department also plans to equip farmers with real time data. Bhuse said, “Technology would be put to use for monitoring demand and supply of seeds, fertilisers and other aspects. It can be helpful when farmers carry their harvest to agriculture markets. Daily updates on spot rates would caution them from underselling their produce and check traders who exploit marginal farmers.”
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