Spice farmers have a helpline

Spice farmers have a helpline

The Union Commerce Ministry has come out with a real-time daily helpline for spices farmers across the country, with the launch of a “Pan-India Mobile Tele-network”on Wednesday in Tamil Nadu.

Under the auspices of the Spices Board of India, nearly 300 farmers from Tamil Nadu, one of the major spices producing states, have registered themselves in a network them to get free “Voice SMS” on their mobile instruments on a range of information in Tamil from prices of spices, projects, various aspects of cultivation, processing, marketing and exports besides weather report on a daily basis.

The project was launched on the campus of Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) in Coimbatore, a Spice Board spokesman told Deccan Herald over the phone. The new community of spice farmers has been named Tamil Nadu Spices Community. On registering as a member of this community, each spices-growing farmer will get a free “SIM Card.”

The information dissemination network will work in association with IFFCO Kissan Sanchar Limited (IKSL), the official said. For Tamil Nadu, the Spices Board Office at Coimbatore will be the nodal point from where the messages, daily between 7 am and 4 pm, will be fed into the main IKSL server situated in New Delhi. From there, it will be broadcast to the farmers network-members who will directly receive these messages/advisories in the voice mode, in the respective regional language, he said.  

There was no entry or registration for the spice farmers to become a member of this network in their respective states. The scheme will be extended to other states in the next few months, the spokesman said. But each farmer will have to furnish a photo and his voter ID and as a sum of Rs 56 for SIM activation.

The Spices Board official said there was also provision for interactive voice mail when the farmers could dial a pre-assigned number to get their doubts clarified on various aspects. The network will be started in Kerala from Kochi by July-end. The tele network will then be launched in Karnataka, based in Saklespur in Hassan district in August, followed by Andhra Pradesh with Guntur as its centre. It will be then progressively extended to other spices-growing states in India.

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