IFFCO Kisan Sanchar wins Coffey International Award for ‘m-Powering Farmers’

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NEW DELHI: A unique mobile technology based concept to improve the yield, productivity, income and quality of living of illiterate farmers in rural India has scooped the Coffey International Award as part of Business in the Community’s 2011 Awards for Excellence in a glittering function held at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 5th July, 2011.

Rakesh Kapur , MD, IKSL and  S Srinivasan, CEO, IKSL accepted the award in a grand ceremony in London where over 1,000 high profile business leaders were present.

Now in its 14th year, the Awards for Excellence is a prestigious annual showcase by UK of the best responsible businesses in action. The Awards highlight the best examples of the positive impact businesses are having in the environment, amongst their employees, through the supply chains and in the local communities in which they operate.

The award winning campaign, m-Powering Farmers, is a partnership amongst the world’s largest farmers cooperative Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), India’s leading telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Star Global Resources Pvt . Ltd., to address the lack of timely agricultural information available to farmers in India.

Together they formed IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd (IKSL) and launched m-Powering Farmers to provide agricultural information to farmers via mobile phone using innovative voice based technology in their local language including a local support Help Line.

IKSL has a subscriber base of about 4 million farmers of which about 1 million farmers are using the service daily with many reporting significant increases in farm productivity, resulting in increased availability of food and higher income generation.

Mr. Peter Wilson, Chief Operating Officer, Coffey International Limited , Member of Business in the Community International Team and Chairman of International Award judging panel said “IFFCO’s mobile phone based initiative to improve income, yield and the quality of living of poor & illiterate farmers in rural India is truly inspirational, clearly achieving benefits for society, business and for the partners involved.

The business case for collaboration between BhartiAirtel and the Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) is compelling. The well monitored programme, which delivers so effectively for the farming community, demonstrates how an initiative can achieve scale both for the business and society when it is aligned to the core business strengths.”

Dr. U S Awasthi, Managing Director of IFFCO and Chairman of IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd. Expressed his happiness over this and said that “IKSL was formed for empowerment of rural India by liveraging communication technology.

Coffey International Award presented by Business In The Community (BITC) is affirmation of IKSL’s approach of using mobile phone technology for improving the quality of life of poor and marginal farmers in our country.

Rakesh Kapur, Managing Director, IFCCO Kisan Sanchar Limited said that “People need information to make decisions about their livelihoods. In rural India, where agricultural productivity is low and there is food insecurity, better information with knowledge-exchange is an important instrument to alleviate poverty.

Our Mission is to empower the rural poor by providing them pertinent information in real time via affordable mobile communications to facilitate improved decision making ability at their end.”

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