Meet Rajendra, a farmer and shopkeeper from Lakhori village in India’s Uttar Pradesh state. As well as running a general store, he keeps busy cultivating wheat, maize, millet, rice and sugarcane. “In order to be successful”, he says, “I need to know about irrigation, seasonal weather and the different pests that can affect my crops”. To this end, he used to get information from the Agricultural Science Institute of India’s local branch, but he sometimes found the advice he received ineffective. In 2012, he discovered mKisan, an information portal accessible from his simple mobile phone, developed especially for farmers like himself (kisan being the Hindi word for ‘farmer’). From a few touches of the keypad, he can access accurate information and practical advice on crop agronomy, livestock management, weather forecasts and market prices for major crops.

About 65% of India’s workforce depends directly on agriculture. However, a lack of access to agricultural information leads to easily preventable mistakes and losses. Rolled out across six states in India, mKisan has changed the game for local farmers and improved their income generation chances. Operated by the service provider Handygo, this knowledge sharing scheme is the brainchild of the GSM Association (GSMA)’s Mobile for Development initiative. Producing mKisan’s content has meant working with a consortium of development sector partners, including the International Livestock Research Institute and Digital Green.

According to Rajendra, mKisan’s information is correct 99% of the time. “It saves me a lot of time”, he explains, adding that his crop yields quickly doubled after he started accessing its information. Rajendra’s story was encapsulated in a seven-page case study that Robin produced for GSMA. The colourful images and positive messages that arose from his time in the field with this satisfied farmer have served to encourage others in his profession to utilise mKisan. In addition, this case study and the others in the collection allowed GSMA’s team to illustrate the fantastic impact of the scheme at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, encouraging other mobile service providers to get involved elsewhere around the globe.


Mobile for development

CSR, agriculture, inclusivity

GSM Association (GSMA)

Sambhal District, Uttar Pradesh, India

Camera settings
35mm, ISO 200, 1/200, f/3.5