Sunday, September 16, 2012

Community Video films as a tool for extension

The core investment in Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA) is building the capacities of farmers in sustainable agriculture. Capacity building in CMSA is done through Farmer Field Schools (FFS), class room trainings, on field trainings. Currently CMSA is using posters, flexi sheets, flip charts, video films in training programs.  The feedback from the SHG members is that need to improve the content in video films and need to include local fields and sharing of experience of local farmers preferably from the same village. Further they requested to screening of more films and detailed films on each of the component.  To meet these requirements CMSA wing felt that community should train in making of films and technology for screening of films in the village with simple equipment. With this feedback CMSA wing of SERP has been scouting for organizations that can provide some help on this front. This is when Digital Green was contacted. 

Digital Green is an organization that uses information and communication technology to amplify the effectiveness of social efforts. They have piloted their ideas with NGOs in few states to improve the agriculture extension systems.  The uniqueness in the approach of Digital Green has been to include participatory process for local video production, tracking the the adoption rates regularly and take corrective measures and iteratively address the needs of the community with the involvement of the community.

Digital Green provided training on all aspects of film production right from story board development, content validation and improvement, film shooting, editing and screening of the videos. ToTs given by Digital Green in this regard followed by trainings to the resource persons.  Instruments like Pico Projectors will be used for screening the videos in villages.

Pilot is done with DG’s extension approach in 110 Mahila Kisan Sashatikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) villages of Mahabubnagar district.  Twenty two clusters were selected in 17 mandals with 5 villages in each cluster. 

Outcomes of the pilot:

Video films produced:
The videos produced have been accepted by farmers as the videos produced are in local language using local progressive farmers and the farming practices shown in the videos are locally relevant. This is an enabling factor for farmers to accept the videos and demand for such relevant new videos.

25 videos produced by the community resources under the technical guidance of digitalGREEN.  Content development and thematic support during production is provided by the Technical Consultants of CMSA.  Content is developed in the prescribed storyboard format by the VRPs under the supervision of DPMU.  The content of the films covered soil fertility management, non-pesticide management, 36X36 models and other important CMSA concepts.

Capacity building of community and staff:  

digitalGreen trained community video graphers and CMSA staff in order to integrate the digitalGREEN approach in the existing extension work that is being carried-out by CMSA-SERP.  During the pilot phase the extension team of CMSA from the 110 villages which includes 110 VAs, 22 CAs and DPMU team members are being trained on dissemination process. Apart from that 12 VRPs (Video Resource Persons) are trained on production on videos

Performance Indicators
Training modules
Operational villages
Videos produced
Video screenings



                             Training                                                    Production                                             Adoption



NPM practices as per the crop cycle has been developed and shared with SHGs which shall help farmers plan for the videos to be viewed thus helping themselves to be prepared for the necessary plan of action for application of NPM methods. 4,520 disseminations had done over a period of five months in 110 villages. 1562 SHGs are attending disseminations. Around 17,990 farmers viewed the films on CMSA methods. These disseminations helped in improving attendance of FFS and adoption rates of CMSA methods. 


Human mediated video screening enhanced the adoption rates. 14 CMSA methods were adopted by 2,822 farmers over a period of five months.

Farmer Feedback Mechanism:

An effective feedback mechanism is put in place in the form of COCO and Analytics which provides near real time data not only on disseminations, Adoptions but also on various questions and comments from the farmers. These comments and questions are monitored closely and feedback is given regularly by CMSA. This has helped farmers gain acceptance and trust and promoted adoption of NPM practices

Cost of extension:

The model has decreased the cost of field level expenses on training of the farmers through live demonstrations and field level trainings.  Since all the practices are captured through videos and shown on regularly intervals. The cost of training has reduced drastically and at the same time there is an increase of reach out to the farmers as well. As the PICO projector used for the dissemination is mobile and can be used at the convenient time of farmers.

Study on different Marketing initiatives of Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty

Branding of NPM products:

Zilla samakhyas are encouraged build brands at district level. This branding helped them to sell the produce locally to the selected customers like doctors, teachers and other health conscious people. Five zilla samakhyas developed own brands. The products available are mostly non perishables, only exception is “Prakruthi” of Rangareddy zilla samakhya which is selling vegetables. So far Rs.11.20 Crores worth products are sold under different brands. Following table shows the brand wise sales:

Name of the district
Turnover in Rs.
50 lakhs
Rice, Redgram,Chillie powder
30 lakhs
20 lakhs
Dry Chillies, Chilli powder, Green chillies, Vegetables
6.00 crores
Ranga Reddy
3.50 crores
50 lakhs
11.20 Crores












We are working to register common brand at state level and getting it registered.
Pesticide free chillies for export:

Production of pesticide free chillies is one of the biggest challenges and it is more so in Guntur district. Pesticide free chillies have huge demand in international markets. SERP initially focused on production of pesticide free chillies to reduce cost of cultivation of SHG members. Incidentally some of the exporters came to know about this initiative and buyers from seven countries including Germany visited fields to have a firsthand learning on production processes. Buyers are satisfied with production process and tied up with local lab which has international reputation for testing pesticide free chillies.

In first two years SERP sponsored testing of chillies and SHG members also trained using small testing kit for moisture and initial quality check. After three years market forces taken up the initiative and now it is operated by market forces. In the first year only one exporter is involved and now many exporters joined the market. SHG members are now able to access premium ranging from Rs.950 to Rs.1850 per quintal based on the quality of the produce.  The produce is kept under joint custody after drawl of first sample. After testing the sample in India same will be tested again in Germany before premium is released.

Aggregation model in Warangal:

This model is developed by using the existing collection center at Ontimamidi. This model does not require any investment except for vehicle for transport. This is one of the simplest interventions which yields maximum benefits. This is risk free model as there is no speculation or processing involved. This model operates on it’s own and self sustaining.

15 farmers of Pochhannapet village are inspired by SHG movement and formed into livelihood groups. They started savings @Rs.100/month and raised corpus of Rs.5.4lakhs. Now efforts are on to convert these livelihood groups into Commodity interest groups. They are enrolled into PGS this year; this will enable them to access premiums for pesticide free produce.

Collection center is the nerve center for aggregation. Major buyers at this center includes Relience fresh, More, Heritage, big bazaar etc. Farmers of Pochannapeta aggregate the produce of the farmers from 16 groups and sell at Ontimamidi collection center. They hired a vehicle for transport and now they are mobilizing funds to buy a vehicle for transport.

Average price fetched by the farmers is 30% higher than the local market in Warangal and Hanumukonda. Interesting feature in this model is there is defacto “support price for tomato”. Perfect weighing and zero handling charges are other attractive features of this model. Price for the commodities and required quantities are informed to farmers well in advance. Net premium achieved is Rs.24 lakhs in four months for sixty farmers.   

Payment is prompt and is done through online transfers on weekly basis. Spot payment is also done for occasional suppliers.

Farmers are able to understand the market dynamics and preferences of consumers. Critical issue is surplus production in Khariff and Rabi seasons and shortages in summer months, farmers growing one or two vegetables over a large area which fetched good price in previous season. They are into production plans particularly in summer as a group so that variety of vegetables are grown required quantities as a group, supplying graded vegetables is essential feature of this initiative.

Marketing in Rythubazars:

Rythubazars are one of the important trade centers for vegetables. Some districts are allotting one or two stalls for selling pesticide free produce with fair price i.e Rs.1-2 /Kg premium. Rythubzars around CMSA villages are marked and efforts are on to establish stalls in all rythubazars. So far stalls in 16 rythubazars are established in 13 districts. This initiative enables middle class consumers in accessing pesticide free produce.

Accessing better price through Market intelligence:   

Free SMS based service is provided by “Fasal”, M/S Intuit for farmers connecting them to local mandi agents and potential buyers with their mobile nos.  Pilot is done in five districts and the results are encouraging. Now we reached 12 districts and more than 26,032 farmers. Crops covered include vegetables, red chillies, cotton and onion. This initiative enabled the farmers to access better price, reduced transaction time in mandi and increased bargaining power.

Marketing certified products:

Selected organic farmers are enrolled and trained on organic certification practices and documentation.  At regular intervals, inspection visits and auditing are conducted. PGS is being implemented in 153 villages with 1147 farmers and 300 farmers are now eligible for certification under PGS green. This initiative is done in convergence with National Center for Organic Farming (NCOF), Ghaziabad.