Indian farmers dial the toll-free telephone number 1551 to get specialists advice positioned at 84 call centres across the Asian country to answer questions and clarifications related to agriculture.
The itinerary dubbed Kisan Call Centre is a single-knowledge pool catering to Indian farmers across the nation where farmers receive solutions to all the issues they face right from sowing to harvesting. Kisan is the Hindi name for a farmer.
To harness the potential of ICT in Agriculture, the Indian Ministry of Agriculture took a new initiative by launching the scheme “Kisan Call Centres (KCCs)” on January 21, 2004 aimed at answering farmers queries on a telephone call in farmers own dialect. These call Centres are working in 14 different locations covering all the States.
These call centres provide level one care to farmers. When the experts are not able to handle the interrogation, the calls are averted to level two, comprising professionals identified by the department. All unanswered calls and recorded calls are sent to the respective directorates level three support for answering through the post. Call centre agents are usually agriculture graduates in who are graduates or above in Agriculture or allied -Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Poultry, Bee-keeping, Sericulture, Aquaculture, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Marketing, Bio-technology, Home Science or people with an angle in science.
Whenever a farmer calls at KCC location by dialing the toll free number 1800-180-1551 raising his query for answer to be given by the Kisan Call Centre , the agent, apart from using his own knowledge or experience, he or she combines with printed literature from concerned State Department of Agriculture of India guidelines is available at the centre and may be accessed at the Kisan Knowledge Management System (KKMS) web-site search for information asked by the farmer in the knowledge database and pass on correct answer to him or her immediately. Through this way the farmers get benefited with the KKMS.
The hint behind the project was to put in place a network that could address issues raised by farmers in their local language. There are call centres for every state that handle traffic from all parts of the country. Consultants work closely with the Department of Agriculture to define key intentions and long-term strategic plans for continuous improvement. The unit has to constantly evaluate, upgrade and implement new approaches for the long-term success of the venture.
Call centres function during the day when farmers are out in the fields and close business at 6:30 pm Indian time, roughly when the farmers would be back from their fields.