A meeting in the village square in progress where among other things farmers discuss about crops and farming practices (Pic: Courtesy patrika.com)
Having chanced upon a social media app Clubhouse, a well-known agri-commodity analyst never in his dreams had thought that this would prove a great way to spread the word about modern farming.
That is how the Indian Farmers’ Club came into existence and ever since, it has been holding exchanges on a daily basis. In these daily sessions, the farmers are able to share live information concerning crops and also learn from each other’s practical experiences. At the heart of this initiative is Deepak Chavan, an agri-commodity analyst.
The field of agriculture is vast and complex. A top down mode, which mostly prevails, adds to the difficulties. This means that farmers are given information most of the time, according to Chavan, from the perspective of the consultant or the analyst.
The consultant or analyst may not necessarily have field information which is real time.
Talking to The Indian Express Chavan said: “What farmers want and what is offered often differs in many ways. But the audio drop-in rooms of Clubhouse are a solution to this problem.”
Farmers are no stranger to varied social media platforms as analysts and agriculture experts use them to reach out to them. These platforms could be Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
— Deepak Chavan (@DBChavan) July 7, 2021
On these platforms, spam and information flowing in just one direction tends to affect the exchange of information which is real and meaningful. Chavan informed that in the case of Clubhouse it is not so. “The rooms of Clubhouse allow for controlled entry of participants. The format of audio drop-in rooms is good as free exchange of ideas is possible.”
From a traditional point of view, the village square has always been a centre and source of information exchange for the farmers. In such exchanges, the lead is taken by those who have knowledge about the subject or the issue being discussed while there is a free flow of conservation. Significantly, in these exchanges several questions are asked and answered from everybody.
Clubhouse has adopted this traditional system of exchange which is very helpful to the farmers. Chavan told IE: “So, in our rooms, we first discuss the weather and then proceed to an expert member introducing the topic of the day. Post this, the room is open for questions and answers.”
Clubhouse’s first session was hosted by Chavan in which he discussed onion. The subject is one on which Chavan has experience and expertise.
“I had published this on my Facebook wall and within seconds, around 40 farmers had gone live,” he said. From then, he has been conducting sessions daily at 7 p.m.
“Expert farmers login and we talk freely about various agriculture-related issues,” Chavan added.