Shillong, December 29: Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul M Sangma today launched the 1917 Integrated Technology Enabled Agri Management System (1917 iTEAMS), 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, CM Sangma said that the inauguration is a great moment for the government to empower the most important section 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 they deserved. “The programme is a beautiful concept designed and conceptualized to empower our farmers. Farming will no longer be the same again” said Sangma. He 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 CM.
Sangma also informed that the government has come up with a Comprehensive Agriculture Management Plan called CAMP and under which number of interventions are conceptualized. “1917 iTEAMS will become a common name and a name which will connect with the farmers” he said while adding that farmers will now not be looking around for help to reach the market and they will be insulated from the exploitation and manipulations of the traders. He further added “Technology has changed our lives and it is important to leverage upon this technology in a manner that brings reasons for farmers to have hope. 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”. He urged the farmers to take advantage of the initiative dedicated exclusively for the farmers.
The 1917 iTEAMS 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 is a customized 31-seater call center, which 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 and Cooperatives on the supply side based on calls made to the toll free number (1917) 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.
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 based upon content generated by the 1917 iTEAMS ecosystem and through the app driven interface of the 1917 iTEAMS.
Unlike other online trading platforms, the 1917 iTEAMS 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.
It 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.
It must be noted that the launch of 1917 iTEAMS 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).
Chief Secretary, Y Tsering, Commissioner & Secretary, Agriculture, PS Kumar, Secretary, Agriculture, MN Nampui, Director, Agriculture, D Syiemiong and other officers from the Agriculture and Horticulture departments were present during the ceremony.