GSMA helps 5.1m farmers with nutrition initiative

Natalie Bannerman
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The GSMA wanted to help a million hungry people by 2018, but has already helped 5.1 million through operators in Africa and Asia

The GSMA says that its mNutrition initiative has already helped more than five million people – well ahead of its target of improving the health of one million people by 2018.

The industry organisation says that it has helped over five million farmers in developing countries, with nearly four million of them in partnership with Telenor Pakistan and Grameenphone, the Bangladesh operator that is also backed by Telenor.

In an impact report, the GSMA reported 5.1 million agricultural value-added service users were helped as a result of the programme. Of these, 760,000 are from Bangladesh using the Krishi Sheba service from Grameenphone and 2.9 million are users of Khushhaal Zamindar service by Telenor Pakistan.

Launched in 2014, the mNutrition programme is supported by the UK’s aid programme and uses mobile-based services to change behaviour. Six companies across Asia and Africa partnered with the GSMA to launch and scale up the initiative: Grameenphone and Telenor Pakistan, Airtel Malawi, Dialog Sri Lanka, Vodafone Ghana and Ooredoo Myanmar.

Khushaal Zamindar is an agricultural value-added service that was launched in 2015. It helps farmers to improve yields by providing access to agricultural advisory information and news. An interactive voice response, triggered through SMS alerts, notify users twice a day. Users can also access the service by dialling a free number on Telenor Pakistan’s network.

The Krishi Sheba service registers users through a one-click registration process, giving them access to seasonal agricultural content. The service began as free during 2016, but is now $0.04 a week. The service includes one outbound call a week and users can access additional information through interactive voice response or through a call agent.

Two thirds of Krishi Sheba users cite the service as one of two main sources of agricultural information, while 85% of Khushaal Zamindar users say the same about its service.