|29 December 2017|
Press Release No. 1245/17
CHIEF MINISTER INAUGURATES INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY ENABLED AGRI MANAGEMENT ENABLED SYSTEM
Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul M. Sangma, today launched the 1917 Integrated Technology Enabled Agri Management System (1917iTEAMS), a groundbreaking new initiative of the Department of Agriculture, Government of Meghalaya, aimed at easing and enabling access to remunerative markets, information, crop advisories and Agri related services for farmers, buyers, sellers and entrepreneurs of the state. Addressing the gathering during his Inaugural Speech, Chief Minister, Dr Mukul M Sangma said that the inauguration is a great moment for the government to empower the most important sections of the society, the farmers, who take care of the food and nutritional security and people who are often not attended to in a manner as they deserved. “The programme is a beautiful concept designed and conceptualized to empower our farmers and farming will no longer be the same again,” said the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister added that farming should ultimately be the most attractive option for livelihood. “This is one of the concepts of multiple interventions and is formatted in a manner that can provide comprehensive services to farmers with a broad spectrum solutions available to the farmers using the advantage of technology and integrating the emerging changes in market behavior ,” informed the Chief Minister.
Dr Sangma also added that the government has come up with a comprehensive Agriculture management plan called CAMP and under which number of interventions are conceptualized. “1917 i-TEAMS will become a common name and a name which will connect with the farmers”, said Dr Sangma while adding that it is time for all to realize that Agriculture is the on thing and also stated that farmers will now not be looking around for help to reach the market and they will be insulated from the exploitations and manipulations of the traders. He further added that technology has changed our lives and it is important to leverage upon this technology in manner that brings reasons for farmers to have hope. He also stated that success will be achieved when every farmer in the state will be reached and given the necessary support backed by a scientific team and experts and urged the farmers to take advantage of the initiative dedicated exclusively for the farmers. The 1917iTEAMS is a first of its kind in the country, disruptive farmer centric and market oriented technology service that will offer affordable transportation, evacuation and logistics services to farmers and facilitate them to access markets, buyers and sellers of their choice through a cloud based technology driven center called the Agri Response Center (ARC) set up by the Department in the top floor of the new District Agriculture Office complex, Laitumkhrah, Shillong and linked, through the cloud, to a fleet of dedicated Agri Response Vehicles (ARV) spread out across the state.
The ARC which is essentially a customized 31 seater call center, will host an omnibus IT platform comprising of an Interactive Information Dissemination System (IIDS), Fleet Management Application and a User Fee Management System that will receive and collate produce evacuation and logistics demand of farmers, VECs, FPOs, SHGs, Cooperatives etc on the supply side based on calls made to the 1917 toll free number allotted to Meghalaya and the requirement for agri produce / products from buyers on the demand side and pass this information on through a demand supply matrix that will be made available to registered farmers and buyers initially over the phone or SMS and later on in an easy to read format via an app that will be made available to users on their mobile phones. In addition the ARC will also have a content dissemination section and knowledge management system that will push out expert advisories on crop, weather, animal health, input dealers, market price, plant protection etc based upon content generated by the 1917iTEAMS ecosystem and through the app driven interface of the 1917iTEAMS. By leveraging on the outreach of the app and market information generated by the 1917iTEAMS platform, both buyers and sellers will be able to make informed marketing choices. Unlike other online trading platforms, the 1917iTEAMS platform is not a place where trade or buying and selling will happen. It is simply a cloud based level playing field where buyer and sellers are made aware of each other’s needs and prices and decide on whom to shake hands with. Once the deal is done the farmer / buyer places the call to the ARC on the toll free 1917 number for lifting and transportation of the produce.
The 1917iTEAMS will also have a fleet of dedicated ARVs leased out from local entrepreneurs and aggregators across the state which will move out, under the direction and tracking of the ARC, to lift farmer’s produce / livestock from aggregation sites and transport the produce directly to the farmers’ choice of markets based on calls requests made to the ARC and on payment of a minimal user fee. It is anticipated that this initiative will result in significant employment generation as service providers for many entrepreneurs / unemployed youths across the state. The 1917iTEAMS is an IT backed ecosystem that leverages upon the convergence initiatives and framework of the IBDLP and brings together the Department of Agriculture, the Meghalaya Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (MgSFAC), Department of AH & Veterinary, Department of IT & Communications, Department of Water Resources, the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship, the Central Agriculture University, Imphal, the College of Post Graduate Studies, Umiam, the College of Home Sciences, Tura and the Digital India Corporation, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India for the benefit of the farming community of the state.
The launch of 1917iTEAMS comes exactly one hundred years after the Champaran Satyagraha, the first pro farmer agitation launched by Mohandas Gandhi in India which sparked the non violence movement that won India its Independence and which saw him first emerge as the “Mahatma”. As part of the launch, the Chief Minister inaugurated and dedicated the Agri Response Center to the farmer of the state and also flagged off the Agri Response Vehicles (ARVs). Also present during the inauguration were, Chief Secretary, Y Tsering, Commissioner & Secretary, Agriculture, P S Kumar, Secretary, Agriculture, M N Nampui, Director, Agriculture, D Syiemiong and other officers from the Agriculture and Horticulture departments.