Bundling Agricultural Services under Seeing Is Believing and Plantwise: Benefits and Opportunities
Published: June, 2021
The Seeing is Believing (SIB) project builds on the Plantwise (PW) programme and provides picture-based advisories (PBA), i.e. remote advice to farmers based on picture-based crop monitoring. Farmers registered in the SIB project send images of affected crops and repeat images of the fields via mobile phone using an app. Plant doctors assess the images and provide plant health advice to farmers by messages on their registered mobile numbers. Farmers are provided with different management options, based on the severity of crop damage. During the third season of the project, 350 farmers from 70 villages in Pudukottai and Thanjavur, were targeted with PBA. 175 farmers received a bundled service of PBA and picture-based insurance (PBI), with insurance pay-outs based on any visible damage in the field images uploaded by the farmers. The other 175 farmers only received PBA. Plant clinics (PC) were run in all the 70 village locations covered under SIB.
This study brief sets out the findings of an evaluation carried out in December 2020 on the bundling of services under PBA, PBI and plant clinics. The aim of the study was to understand the importance and usefulness of advice given through PBA and plant clinics and to assess farmer benefits from receiving the bundle of services, identifying the synergies between the different services. A total of 240 respondents were interviewed who received advice from PCs, PBA, PCs and PBA, PCs, PBA and PBI, with farmers stating they benefitted with increased crop yield and reduced pest and disease infestation through implementing the advice received through all the services provided (PC, PBA and PBI). The study found that the services (PC and PBA) complemented each other, with farmers preferring different aspects of each service. At present PBA is seen as an add-on to the Plantwise service, rather than a stand-alone service, in particular as it relies on plant doctors for advice provision. The PBI elements provided additional perceived benefits for farmers, though the cost of the service needs to be further explored.
Many farmers in the northern Indian states of Haryana and Punjab still rely on inefficient agricultural practices that are ill adapted to climate change. Data can help them. Customised advice, based on localised weather and soil data, pests and diseases, as well as input availability, can improve management practices, productivity and profitability. In this project, farmers will provide images taken from their smartphones to strengthen this advice and help farmers make timely decisions.
Start: 01/10/17 -End: 31/12/20