mBillionth South Asia Mobile Awards 2014 winners: agriculture and ecology

In this final post on innovator categories at the annual mBillionth South Asia Mobile Awards, we feature the winners in agriculture and ecology. In previous posts, we shared winner profiles of mobile content and apps for women; mobile governance and inclusion; mobile business, travel and entertainment; and mobile education and health.


Mobiles can help farmers improve agricultural productivity by giving them access to basic financial services, new agricultural techniques and new markets, in turn helping them to secure better prices for crops and a better return on investments. This unlocks productivity potential while helping to manage the impacts of increased production, such as excess water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Farmer Query System / Bangladesh

Agriculture is a very important sector in most emerging economies. Farmer Query System from mPower in Bangladesh focuses on capacity building and supports creation of a farmer demand-driven agricultural extension system, enabled by mobile phones. Using cellphones, farmers can put their queries directly to experts or via a local infomediary, via SMS, email or phone calls. The infomediaries use smartphones to collect information about the problems faced by farmers. Queries are aggregated at a central location, where agro experts view and answer them.

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Fisher Friend Mobile Application / India

Natural calamities like the tsunami have brought to the forefront the plight of Indian fishermen and their communities who are dependent on fishery for their livelihood but lack access to relevant real-time information on weather conditions for their survival. Fisher Friend is a one-stop application which acts as a decision support system for the fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The app provides real time weather information coupled with forecasts. The application uses GPS to navigate within the allowed fishing zone coordinates, warn of impending dangers and issue distress calls and alerts. Information is available in Tamil, Telugu and English.


Mobile Apps for Farmers / India

This app taps the mobile boom in rural India to provide farmers with content on agriculture and animal husbandry related subjects. The application helps farmers with resources about various crops and their nutrient or irrigational requirements, time and investment required for their yield, predicted profit based on market prices, and decision support systems. Audio-visual content is delivered in English and local Indian languages via cloud infrastructure.


CropIn / India

Although India is a largely agricultural country, its farmers are not yet in sync with the modern tools that can make their lives easier and better. Cropin is an app that offers real-time farm management services on a pay-as-you-use model. It delivers content on best agricultural practices, and forums for collaboration in realtime farm management, monitoring and traceability. Data analytics and forecasting services are offered to even small holding farmers who can increase productivity through scientific planning and feedback, thanks to mobiles.


SankalpTaru G1 / India

People are becoming more conscious of the environment and working towards its improvement – but are also unaware of how to do so and how to find time to take part in initiatives. Sankalp Taru G1 bridges this gap, via an app to connect concerned citizens with volunteers and participants willing to plant trees. The vision is to add to the green space in the environment and promote bio-diversity. Subscribers can calculate their carbon footprint and discover ways of reducing it.

URL: App: click here

Caddisfly / India (Chairman’s distinction)

Caddisfly is a low cost fieldwater testing system which uses a smartphone to perform water sample tests and upload the test result and GPS coordinates into an online database. The kit tries to empower citizens and civic agencies by giving them access to water quality data and maps, and use the data to seek appropriate action. Caddisfly combines an automated chemical test kit with mobile tools. Tests cover the presence of fluoride, arsenic and bacterial contamination in drinking water supply.



About the author

Madanmohan Rao is research director at YourStory Media and editor of five book series ( His interests include creativity, innovation, knowledge management, and digital media. Madan is also a DJ and writer on world music and jazz. He can be followed on Twitter at @MadanRao

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