Technological advancements have significantly shaped the agricultural landscape since the beginning of time.
The world’s farming communities are increasingly adapting to technological innovations and embracing wide-ranging benefits of digital transformation for their industry that previously relied on traditional farming methods and passed down the same knowledge to future generations.
Farmers are now using agri-tech to best suit their crops and farming needs while reducing overall production costs. It’s the kind of cultural change that stakeholders are eager to implement.
Agriculture constitutes the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy, contributing USD 57 billion to the GDP (24%), and it remains by far the biggest employer of labor which accounts for 40% of the country’s employed population.
Apart from being such an integral contributor to the GDP, it is the largest source of foreign exchange earnings and feeds Pakistan’s entire rural and urban population.
Even though Pakistan is among the world’s most significant agricultural economies, the country’s crop yields still leave much to be desired because of limited access to formal financial services, informal market penetration, and a subpar level of public service delivery to support the industry.
A combination of technology and telecommunication, like Telenor Pakistan’s vast array of mAgri services and platforms, has played a fundamental role in the sector’s rapid growth over the past decade.
The network has a one-of-a-kind rural portfolio, offering more than a dozen services to cater to the lifestyle and agriculture needs of a rural Pakistani. The mAgri portfolio has also been helping enterprises reach their rural target audience through awareness campaigns.
For instance, Telenor Pakistan recently partnered with Viamo to drive social and behavioral change. Through this partnership, Telenor Pakistan is raising awareness of the importance of vaccination for adults and children, women empowerment, tolerance and inclusion, and charitable efforts for a more prosperous future.
Because of access to a large portfolio of users, Telenor Pakistan is using its reach to create awareness on critical issues as well as extend the services that are helping address those issues in the mAgri portfolio.
In the past, the network has partnered with a range of pharmaceutical companies to create awareness on the prevention and cure of diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis, by partnering with Roche Diagnostics Pakistan and Novonordisk as health information and accessibility are critical issues, especially in far-flung rural areas.
The mobile agriculture team is also exploring partnerships with input manufacturers to bring crop input and relevant information around crop inputs to the end user.
The mobile agriculture team works on two dimensions for value creation for the rural audience.
The first is creating a holistic portfolio for the lifestyle needs of the rural audience (through IVR-based infotainment services) and the second is offering services for the agriculture needs of the rural audience as that is the main source of livelihood for the rural users (through services offering information such as mandi rates, crop, and livestock info, etc.).
The idea is to leverage technology to help farmers, livestock owners, and females in rural areas, all of whom are deprived of credible information on agriculture, livestock, and health.
Telenor Pakistan fosters the development of agricultural innovation through its tailor-made products and services for the agricultural sector, such as its Khushaal Watan mobile application, Khushaal Sehat, Kisaan Kahani – an IVR-based product, and many other digital interventions for the agrarian landscape of Pakistan.
The network has taken the lead in digitizing the country’s agriculture sector through its flagship initiatives aimed at financial inclusion and the training and guidance of farmers across the country.
Telenor Pakistan’s Khushaal Zamindaar advisory service is recognized as the standard service for agricultural information by more than 6 million farmers across Punjab and Sindh.
The network’s extensive suite of agriculture apps provides farmers with all the information they need to grow their businesses, such as weather advisory with detailed hyperlocal and personalized weather forecasts and disaster alerts, livestock advisory services through ‘Khushaal Maweshi’ and ‘Khushaal Kahaani’ – a platform for farmers to record and spread awareness through their own success stories.
The quick adoption of digital practices in Pakistan’s agriculture sector is a clear sign of agri-tech’s success, despite the country’s low internet penetration rates in relation to the rest of South Asia.
Digital agriculture enables farmers to improve their yields, reduce food loss, waste and costs, and receive fair prices for their agricultural produce. Telenor Pakistan is empowering the entire sector with platforms providing instantaneous insightful information available at farmers’ fingertips.
Smartphone penetration is increasing in the rural base and we are creating value by offering an enhanced version of the services on the ‘Khushaal Watan’ mobile application.
Pakistan’s agri-tech landscape is still in its infancy stage and much remains to be done for an efficient and environmentally sustainable digital transformation.
Farmers are already using Telenor Pakistan’s agri-tech platforms to experience improvements in resource efficiency, reductions in food loss and wastage, and knowledge sharing.
The true scale of agri-tech potential will become more apparent as more farmers start adopting these digital services across the country. So far, 16 million subscribers are making information and advisory more accessible.
Agri-tech is single-handedly lowering information asymmetry while reducing agricultural costs at various levels and improving the livelihoods of hardworking farmers around Pakistan.