Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Chitral are remote regions with difficult geographic terrain and weak logistic infrastructure, making it hard for commercial entities to reach farmers with suitable and timely information. Variation in weather and absence of timely weather intelligence creates problems during sowing, harvesting and post harvesting for farmers. Sudden weather change results in serious losses for farmers, during apricot picking and drying as unanticipated rain can cause significant losses to farmers. Similar to many of the other parts of the country, farmers in GB and Chitral are still using old crop management techniques. Owing to lack of information on cultivation practices, farmers use poor quality inputs, apply inadequate fertilizer and do not have adequate information about diseases and pest control.
MDF’s support is enabling Telenor to launch a service that will provide actionable crop advisory as well as relevant and timely weather updates to farmers on their phone.
MDF and Telenor signed another partnership to work in Baluchistan and certain districts of KPK , which are remote regions with difficult geographic terrain and weak logistic infrastructure, making it hard for commercial entities to reach farmers with suitable and timely information. Both of these districts have significant numbers of small farmers and have favorable climate and seasonal variations for production and supply of high value fruits and vegetables like apples, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, okra and carrots to major cities. Extension services for small farmers are a challenge as private sector involvement in these two regions is limited and government extension officers do not reach remote locations and often exclude women. Thus as a result, many farmers are still using outdated crop cultivation, animal rearing, crop disease management and harvesting techniques which results in sub optimal yields.
Due to the mostly conservative nature of both KPK and Baluchistan, women face mobility issues and it is often not easy for them to go to mixed trainings. This means that the information gap is even more severe as women have little access to information and they follow outdated and primitive practices for livestock and agriculture. Women also have influence in household expenditure in these areas related to kitchen expenditure, major household purchases and children’s education. This makes them an ideal influencer for improving the nutrition and health of the household.
MDF’s support will enable Telenor to launch a service that will provide actionable crop advisory, nutrition advisory and relevant and timely weather updates to farmers on their phone. Through this service, women will also be reached with information on how to look after livestock and crop management and also on how to improve the health and nutrition of the family.