SHILLONG: Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul M Sangma, on Friday launched the 1917 Integrated Technology Enabled Agri Management System (1917iTEAMS), a groundbreaking initiative of the Department of Agriculture, Government of Meghalaya, aimed at easing and enabling access to remunerative markets, information, crop advisories and agriculture 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 was 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 conceptualised 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 one 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.
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 agriculture 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 ARCand 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.