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Experiences of Building eSagu TM (An IT-based Personalized Agro-Advisory System). Media Lab Asia and IIIT, Hyderabad. P.Krishna Reddy International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H) Gachibowli, Hyderabad-500019, India E-mail: pkreddy@iiit.ac.in. http://www.esagu.in. Outline.

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experiences of building esagu tm an it based personalized agro advisory system

Experiences of Building eSaguTM(An IT-based Personalized Agro-Advisory System)

Media Lab Asia and IIIT, Hyderabad

P.Krishna Reddy

International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H)

Gachibowli, Hyderabad-500019, India

E-mail: pkreddy@iiit.ac.in


  • Organizations
  • Crisis in the farming community
  • The eSagu solution and its implementation
    • Key results and Benefits
  • Capacity building/content related problems
  • Lessons learned
  • Issues and concerns: future plan
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusions
  • Media Lab Asia (Not-for-profit Organization)
    • Set-up and supported by DIT (MC&IT), Govt. of India
    • Research and Design of ICT-based systems for common man
    • Primary Healthcare, Education, Livelihood Generation, Empowerment of Disabled, Rural Connectivity
  • IIIT, Hyderabad, India (Deemed University)
    • Educational and research institution, started in 1998
    • To produce highest quality manpower: Researchers, Technologists, Entrepreneurs
    • To produce research, technologies & products that make a difference to society and industry
      • UG, PG and PhD programs in computer science and electronics.
      • Inter-disciplinary research centres
personal information systems piss
Personal Information Systems (PISs)
  • A research agenda of Information System researchers
    • Creation of Personal Information Systems
  • What is PIS ?
    • To provides useful personal information to each individual’s personal information device (PID) in a timely manner.
    • A PID can be PDA, Handheld PC, Laptop; Equipped with wireless network connection
  • Main Challenge:
    • Developing a Personal Information System to provide agricultural advice for each farm.
    • Farmers may not have PID !
esagu is a pis for farmers
eSagu is a PIS for Farmers
  • eSagu is an IT-based Personalized agro-advisory system
    • Personalized
      • Provides Personalized agro-advice to farmer’s door-step.
    • Regular
      • Advice is provided regularly (once in a week)
    • Query-less: Farmer need not ask a question
    • Timely: Provides the advice within 24 to 36 hours
    • Cost-effective: Can be made sustainable with a nominal subscription fee
    • Feedback: two way communication
    • Powered by IT: Record keeping, availability, reliability
    • Scalable and can be developed on the existing infrastructure
background crisis in farming community
BackgroundCrisis in farming community
  • Indian farming community is in severe crisis.
  • There are several factors
    • Seed failures
    • Adulteration in pesticides
    • Shortage of inputs
    • Unscientific practices
    • Unfavorable markets
    • Pest outbreaks
    • Unfavorable weather conditions
    • ..
motivation unscientific practices
Motivation: Unscientific practices
  • Farmers are using untimely, unnecessary, excessive pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Consequences
    • Debt trap
    • Deterioration Public Health
    • No demand in international market
    • Environment pollution
    • Ecological imbalance
regarding existing extension
Regarding Existing Extension
  • Role of “agriculture extension wing”
    • Dissemination of both advanced agriculture technology and expert advice to the farming community.
  • Exiting extension methods
    • News papers, broadcast media (radio and television), organizing seminars and gatherings, Training and visit, call centers, Web portals
  • Problems with the existing methods
    • Do not cover all farms/farmers
    • Very generic; No personalization
    • No accountability
    • No timeliness
    • No feedback mechanism.
  • The information Exists !
    • ICAR, Agri. Universities, Researchers, Research institutes, Department of Agriculture
  • But, farmers are carrying out unscientific farming.
  • Agricultural knowledge is the cheapest input for increasing agricultural output.
    • Judicious use of inputs, cost minimization and sustainability
  • Existing agricultural extension methods need improvement.
  • Organizations
  • Crisis in the farming community
  • The eSagu solution and its implementaion
    • Key results and Benefits
  • Capacity building/content-related problems
  • Lessons learned
  • Issues and concerns: future plan
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusions
esagu basic idea 1
eSagu: basic idea (1)
  • Extend developments in IT to agriculture
    • Agriculture scientist does not visit the crop.
    • Crop photos are brought to agriculture expert.
  • As a result, the agricultural expert
    • can utilize the time efficiently
    • spends less time on good crops and more time on bad crops.
    • can advice more farmers.
    • can work during the night !
esagu basic idea 2
eSagu: basic idea(2)
  • Who will send photographs ?
  • Option 1:
    • The farmers can send the photographs
      • Difficult to implement as several farmers are illiterate and can not send photographs.
  • Option 2:
    • Educated and experienced farmers brought in as coordinators.
    • Needs only a few educated and experienced farmers.
    • Can be implemented in every village.
esagu operation
eSagu Operation
  • Establishment of eSagu main lab and local centers
  • Coordinators, agriculture scientists and others
  • Farm registration is completed.
  • The following steps are repeated.
    • Collection of farm status by coordinator
    • Renaming of photographs at the village
    • Transmission of CDs to the main system by courier.
    • Advice preparation by AEs
    • Transmission of advice to the village center
    • Explaining the advice to the farmer
esagu demonstration
eSagu: Demonstration
  • We have built an information system
  • Web-based Agricultural Information Dissemination System(web)
  • Web-based Agricultural Information Dissemination System(local)
  • Please visit “http://www.esagu.in/” to know the details.
implementation summary
Implementation Summary
  • Started in 2004
  • Implemented 8000 farms of 16 major crops in 300 villages since 2004 (A.P).
  • Operated for 162 fish ponds
  • Experiment is on for 20 Shrimp/Prawn ponds
  • Service is available for all the farmers
  • Service is provided based on subscription fee and farmers are appreciating the service.
project partners and their role
Project Partners and their Role
  • Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University
    • Knowledge partner
  • Byrraju Foundation, BASIX, Confederation of Kisan Organizations, Bhagavatula Charitable Trust
    • Operation of eSagu local centers
  • JANANI FOODS Pvt. Ltd.
    • Business model
    • Giving finance to farmers
key results
Key Results
  • The farmers are happy with the service.
    • Encouraging IPM, judicious use of pesticides and fertilizers by avoiding their indiscriminate usage.
  • Gain
    • 2004: Rs. 3,820/- per acre; cost benefit ratio 1:3
    • 2005: Rs 3,874/- per acre; cost benefit ratio 1:4.1.
  • Turnaround time for advice delivery is 24-36 hours.
  • Revenue model has been experimented.
  • Multiple service model has been experimented
    • Expert Advice, Inputs, finance
benefits of esagu 1
Benefits of eSagu (1)
  • Quality personalized agro-advice
  • Regular advice
  • Query-less system
  • Feedback based
  • Scalable system.
  • It is a cost-effective system.
  • It can be made self-sustainable
  • It provides a farm-specific database
  • Follows a proactive approach
  • Capacitates rural livelihoods and generates rural employment.
benefits of esagu 2
Benefits of eSagu (2)
  • Can be developed on the available infrastructure even without bandwidth.
  • Performance of banking system can be improved.
  • Effective agri-insurance can be devised.
  • Significantly reduces the lag period between research efforts to practice.
  • Shows a great promise in the era of globalization.
  • Standardized products
  • Farmer cultivates like an agriculture scientist.
  • Makes agriculture deterministic
  • Manthan Award 2007
    • The eSagu project is the winner of "The Manthan Award 2007 - India's Best e-Content for Development".
  • Best eGovernance project 2006
    • Overall winner of CSI (Computer Society of India) Nihilent e-Governance Awards for the year 2005-06.
  • Recognition by Taiwan Think Tank
    • Features as a select entry among worldwide latest novel internet applications in the book "Innovative Application Case Study 2006" published by Institute for Information Industry, a not-for-profit Taiwan Think Tank for Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taipei.
  • Recognition by NISG
    • eSagu has been listed as one of the top three e-Governance projects (the other two are BHOOMI and SAMPARK) of India in the video film on “Next e Governance Plan”, National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG) November 2005.
  • Organizations
  • Crisis in the farming community
  • The eSagu solution and its implementaion
    • Key results and Benefits
  • Capacity building/content related problems
  • Lessons learned
  • Issues and concerns: future plan
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusions
capacity building problems
Capacity Building Problems
  • Agriculture scientists
  • Coordinators
  • Computer operators
  • Farmers
capacity building problems agriculture scientists
Capacity Building ProblemsAgriculture Scientists
  • In eSagu, AE must have location specific knowledge and experience
    • Has to be expert regarding diverse crop problems that occur in several agro-climatic situations.
  • However, AEs differ in education levels, experience, local exposure, farm exposure, and know-how regarding agro-climatic variations.
    • New paradigm for agriculture scientists
    • The system makes them accountable
  • So, new kind of content is required such that AE can grasp the problem as much as by going through the content.
what should be the nature of new content
What should be the nature of new Content ?
  • Relevant, adoptable and actionable.
  • Should meet the day-to-day information / operation requirement of the farmers.
  • Due consideration of farmers’ traditional wisdom.
  • Should be feedback based for continual improvement.
  • Adoptable to the changing needs of the farmers
  • In tune with the latest technological developments.
  • In close liaison with research institutes, industry and the farmers.
main questions

Location-specific, crop specific capacity building and training

Fresh agricultural



Agriculture Expert

Main Questions ?
  • Main questions:
    • Why such content has not been developed ?
    • What is the framework of such location-and crop-specific content ?
why such content is not available or not developed
Why such content is not available or not developed ?
  • The content is not available in the ready-made form.
    • because such kind of knowledge was not compulsory to operate traditional extension systems.
  • Existing content
    • Mostly consisting of text in generic manner.
    • Only few crops are covered.
    • Advice is not based on resource potential, biotic and abiotic factors.
    • Crop specific but not soil, area and variety specific.
    • No updated information with developments in science & technology.
    • Farmer’s traditional wisdom is not documented.
    • Difficult to compare actual farm situation from the content.
    • Developed content is not based on farmer’s feedback.
    • No due consideration regarding agro ecosystem analysis.
    • Lack of understanding of local demand.
  • Organizations
  • Crisis in the farming community
  • The eSagu solution and its implementaion
    • Key results and Benefits
  • Capacity building problems
  • Lessons learned
  • Issues and concerns: future plan
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusions
issues observations
  • If followed, the advice is giving significant advantage
  • The farmer is unable to implement the advice due to the following problems.
    • Inputs (pesticides and fertilizers) are not available
    • Finance is not available.
    • Following age-old practices
    • Other reasons: weather, labor, or laxity
  • Strategy: Provide all services to his/her door-step
about iasp
About IASP
  • It is an integrated agri-service program planned by Media Lab Asia
  • Under IASP, all the agri-related services are provided at the farmer’s door-step.
  • eSagu service is the key service
  • Other services
    • Finance/banking
    • Input (fertilizers and pesticides)
    • Crop-Insurance
    • Marketing (create a market linkage)
iasp investment and income
IASP Investment and income
  • IASP is a corporate entity under PPP model
  • Investment
    • Government, Banks, Venture capitalists, donor agencies, input companies, marketing agencies and so on
  • Income
    • eSagu subscription
    • Financial services
    • Inputs
    • Marketing
    • Other services
specific issues and concerns from the project
Specific Issues and Concerns From the Project
  • Self-sustainability
  • Technical manpower shortage
  • Capacity building
  • Content preparation
  • Farmer’s indifference
  • Govt’s non-participation
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • It is feasible to build a personalized agro-advisory system
  • With eSagu kind of monitoring, it is possible to improve the success probability of the crop
  • It is making positive impact on the farming.
  • The benefit is significant.
  • Farmers need a comprehensive system with all the services
  • Farmers are unable to pull the information.
    • The level of farming is very low.
    • Illiteracy, Small farms, Small incomes, age-old practices
  • Farmer is depending on several players.
  • Every country should come forward to build eSagu and provide personalized agro-advisories to farmers.
  • Build a self-sustainable system with PPP Model
  • Govt should be a facilitator initially
  • International organizations should be involved
  • eSagu is personalized, regular, query-less scalable and sustainable agro-advisory system
  • eSagu has a potential to help bottom of the pyramid.
    • Touches and benefits every family.
  • Provides a cost-effective opportunity to reduce the farming community’s crisis.
important question
Important Question
  • Consider a typical farmer in India. He says

“I have two/three acres (1.5 hectare) of land and I will provide water for that land. I can also arrange finance myself. And I will follow/implement whatever agriculture expert and management expert says, (from the pre-sowing operations, seed, package of practices, post-harvesting and marketing). Then how much monthly income can I expect ?”

  • As of now, we are not in a position to give concrete answer in 90 percent of cases.
  • Let us work towards providing the concrete answer to that question through IASP.