Building Digital Ecosystem Around the Agriculture Sector Can Bring Positive Transformation: Irfan Wahab Speaks at MWC

In the economy of Pakistan, the agriculture sector is playing an important role. The overall GDP of Pakistan is $309.68 Billion and the agriculture sector is contributing 18.9 percent to the overall GDP. Agriculture sector absorbs almost 42.3 percent of the labor force and is an important source of foreign
exchange earnings. We can’t ignore the importance of the agriculture sector as it also stimulates growth in
other sectors to make our economy strong.

As one of the biggest contributors to overall GDP in our region, the advancements in agricultural technology combined with government support can garner the greatest return. The digital revolution is bringing the transformation in agriculture. The digital platforms and use of mobile-enabled tools can encourage farmers inclusion, empowerment and agricultural practices.

Building Digital Ecosystem Around the Agriculture Sector Can Bring Positive Transformation: Irfan Wahab- CEO Telenor

However, we can’t ignore the participation of women in the socio-economic growth in our region. In Pakistan, 49% of our population constitutes of females and not including them in the digital ecosystem is a huge missed opportunity that will not only improve the livelihood and lifestyle but also increase their socio-economic contribution.

Irfan Wahab Highlighted the following points in “Digitisation of agriculture value chains” session at MWC-2019

  • Commitment to UN SDGs, especially the goal #5 i.e. ‘to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, Telenor Pakistan has been committed to bringing women into the folds of digital and financial inclusion.
  • Mobile can help empower women, making them more connected, safer by providing access to information and life-enhancing opportunities like health information, financial services, and employment opportunities.
  • The contribution of Pakistan’s rural women to economy is greater than their urban counterparts. 72% of the working women are involved in agricultural activities and Pakistan’s agriculture sector employs about 70% of the country’s manpower.
  • With a major chunk of the socio-economic contribution coming from females in the rural, it’s imperative to close the gender gaps in mobile and mobile internet penetration and bring the women into the folds of digital and financial inclusion.
  • Telenor Pakistan is a key proponent of women’s digital and financial inclusion in the country and has been proactively working to help women counter these challenges to gain access to digital services and solutions.
  • Two-pronged strategies to close gender gaps and enhance mobile and mobile broadband penetration in the country: increased physical accessibility through network infrastructure and service; increased variety to innovative solutions and improved affordability
  • Telenor’s mobile money platform in Pakistan, ‘Easypaisa’, has been instrumental in accelerating the rate of financial inclusion in the country by lowering dependency on conventional money channels.
  • Easypaisa’s partnership with the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) is empowering female beneficiaries by creating business opportunities, granting microcredit, and extending support in education and health in the long run.
  • Building on the success of Telenor Pakistan’s flagship mAgri program ‘KhushaalZamindaar’, we launched a female centricmAgriservice called ‘KhushaalAangan’ which delivers agri, household, livestock and family rearing advisory from experts right onto their mobile phones.

It’s pertinent to note that prior to KhushaalAangan, over 10% of KhushaalZamindaar’s active users were female farmers.

  • Both KhushaalZamindaar and KhushaalAangan are serving over 5 million active monthly users today.
  • Collectively, the services are now sending over 6,000 unique advisories daily compared to less than 50 in 2017.
  • The services have been expanded from Punjab only to GB &Chitral in (Aug 2017) and Sindh (Dec 2018).
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