The Government of Andhra Pradesh has adopted the concept of Village Knowledge Centres (VKC) developed and demonstrated by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation in different parts of India.Inspired by MSSRF’s VKCs, the Government of Andhra Pradesh introduced digital tools in their innovative scheme Rythu Bharosa Kendra (RBK) in the year 2020 to provide locale-specific and demand-driven agriculture information and advisories.
“RBKs act as one-stop solution to the farmers for agriculture and allied sector services throughout the year” says Dr R Rajkumar, senior scientist at the MSSRF, who visited an RBK centre in early September this year.The RBKs provide essential information about the availability of good quality of seeds, fertilizers, time of sowing, weather reports, soil testing kits, crop-cutting experiment kits, seed germination kits, moisture meters, and other useful information farmers require.
MSSRF is the Knowledge Partner of the Government of Andhra Pradesh in operationalizing RBKs at the gram panchayat level in across the state. The MSSRF has created model VKCs in six states of India, helping thousands of farmers to provide the real-time solution to overcome issues in farming and provide value added knowledge.
In the initial phase of RBK establishment, the officials of State Department of Agriculture visited the VKCs in Pudukkottai District, Tamil Nadu established by MSSRF, interacted with the VKCs managers and users; understand their key functions, process of management and how different digital tools are appropriated to suit the learners.
The primary objectives of the VKCs are to provide real-time solutions to farmers through context-specific digital tools. The helpline service is one of the tools that provide real-time solutions to the farmers’ queries received through the toll-free number.Ms. Prameela, Director, Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) and Ms. Tejaswi, Mandal Agriculture Officer, Government of Andhra Pradesh, explained the RBK and Integrated Call Centre’s functions adopted the principle of helpline service in extending effective and hassle-free services to men and women farmers.
Alongwith Dr R Rajkumar, Dr R Gopinath visited Gannavaram RBK centre in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Scientists noticed robust infrastructures were in place such as Kiosk (Device used to book fertilizer/pesticides), Digital library, Smart Television, library, Seed Germination kit, Moisture meter, soil testing kits, and Crop cutting experiment kits. A trained Agricultural Assistant has been appointed in each of the RBKs. They are facilitating all the agriculture-related services.
The Integrated Call Centre (ICC) has been serving as a state-level hub for all RBKs, which is similar to the model of MSSRF’s ‘hub and spokes’ model. The ICC is providing real-time solutions to the farmers’ queries received through the toll-free number.“We observed that RBKs are playing vital role in enhancing the knowledge and skills of men and women farmers, timely access to quality inputs along with scientific advisories to improve the agriculture production at Gram Panchayat level” says Dr Rajkumar.