The agriculture sector plays an important role in the economy of Pakistan as it contributes 18.9% to our GDP and almost 42.3% of the labor force is employed in the agriculture sector. It is disappointing thing that our farmers, especially the small landholding farmers face multiple issues. They are unable to get access to actionable information and are unaware of complete information on best farming practices and technology. This is compounded by poor access to credit and quality inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Moreover, due to lack of adequate storage, inability to add value (better packaging and presentation) of products and due to middlemen at each stage of the distribution network, the farmers do not get a fair price for their produce. Realizing the issues of farmers and to facilitate them, BaKhabar Kissan (BKK) in collaboration with Jazz has developed a farmer centric platform that brings together all actors in the agriculture value chain.
“Bakhabar Kissan: The “Digital Hub for Agriculture” is now a community of three (3) Million subscribers!”
The platform facilitates the agriculture community in getting access to a variety of services ranging from weather information, access to agriculture experts, best farming practices, and information on fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and other agricultural inputs. BKK is accessible via conventional and digital channels including SMS, VMS, IVR, Call Center, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube etc. BKK is a collaborative platform and it facilitates and encourages multi-way communications and feedback. It is important to note that BKK is now the community of three million subscribers because of its reliable services.
Initially, farmers were hesitant to use the BKK platform showing reluctance to move away from traditional practices and inherited community knowledge. Through the feedback mechanism in the SMS and call center BKK listened to the farmers and appropriately modified the content of IVR, SMS, VMS and social media channels. Today the BKK platform consists of a vibrant community of over 3 million registered users, with the platform providing increasingly customized information based on region, size of holding, soil variety etc. Today it is possible to interact with BKK in seven different languages English, Urdu, Pashto, Hindko, Punjabi, Seraiki and Sindhi.
Jazz Bakhabar Kissan (BKK) is best classified as a Mobile / Digital Agri-Tech platform, that cuts across the agricultural value chain starting from planning to growing to harvesting and selling the produce in the market. BKK provides an all-encompassing ecosystem where all players in the agricultural value chain can interact and transact using mobile and digital technologies. The overriding objective of BKK is to improve the productivity and the profitability of all actors in the agricultural value chain in particular the small landholding farmers in Pakistan.
BKK works in the follding of farmers (actionable insights and information about agriculture)
- Agri commerce (selling farmers’ produce, by exposing them directly to the market and getting them the right price for their products)
- IoTs and Modern Equipment for Farmers
- Agri lending and insurance
The following video on YouTube provides a quick overview of the services provided by BKK:
BKK provides farmers access to actionable and relevant information such as:
- Weather updates and alerts
- Crops’ information (from soil preparation, selection of appropriate seeds, sowing, growing, harvesting, post-harvest activities)
- News on Agriculture
- Market Rates of produce (Mandi Rates)
- Livestock information
- Products / Services / Tools for improving efficiency and yield
- Information on modern farming techniques such as tunnel farming, drip irrigation, hydroponics etc.
- Near real time soil and water testing
- Farm based weather stations
- Most appropriate pesticides / insecticides / fungicides to use
- Fertilizer calculator
- Drone and satellite imagery analysis
- Disaster Management
- Photo / Video analysis of crops / fruits / vegetables / plants
- Interest Free Loans
BKK provides interactive connectivity with the farmers using a variety of communication channels:
- SMS (Short Message Service): Push and Pull from +92-303-030-0000
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response): Available 24 hours at +92-303-030-0000
- Call Center (Inbound and Outbound Calling): +92-303-030-0000
- VMS (for Disaster Management)/Robo calls
- YouTube video channel: https://bit.ly/2JkpkRj
- Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bakhabarkissan/)
- Twitter (https://twitter.com/kissanbakhabar?lang=en)
- Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/bakhabarkissan/?hl=en)
- WhatsApp Business available on “+923030300000”
According to the CEO, Khizer Alam Khan:
“BKK will soon diversify into the seeds business and also acquire a Microfinance license. We are targeting a farmer subscriber base of 6 million by the end of 2020.”
BKK already partners with several entities working in the agriculture domain, including seed / fertilizer / pesticide companies, machinery providers, companies operating in the Agri lending / insurance domain, exporters / producers, entities working in the areas on improving nutrition, NGOs, development organizations, Agri-Tech entities etc. BKK is an open platform and encourages and invites collaboration.
Some distinctive features of BKK platform:
- Farmers can get information about how and what should be done for efficient farming via multiple channels such as SMS, VMS, IVR, Call Center, Mobile Application, Facebook, YouTube, Field visits etc.
- Farmers can get interest free loans primarily in shape of best suited inputs i.e. fertilizer, seeds, pesticides
- Farmers can access modern machinery
- Farmers can learn the use of modern techniques live demonstrations and practical case studies to enhance their yield and decrease their cost.
- The platform buys back the produce from farmers and sells it via Farm to home directly to consumers eliminating middlemen or sells the produce to multinationals.
- Increasing women empowerment by giving them special trainings.