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Farmers bank on the power of social media to make a windfall

punjab Updated: Feb 09, 2016 11:17 IST
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu
Hindustan Times

Illustration by Sidhharth Sharma(HT Photo)

Farmers across the state are embracing social media like never before to further their business interests. From getting tips about agriculture to promoting their products online, tech savvy farmers are proving that they are second to none when it comes to using social media.

Experts from Punjab Agricultural University’s (PAU) School of Business Studies (SBS) said the trend is here to stay and farmers have realised the power of social networking. They said more and more farmers including women can be seen joining different social networking tools in the days to come.

“This trend is very encouraging and will get popular with every passing month. It holds huge potential to benefit the farmers and farming in general. Interestingly, farmers who took different product marketing trainings from us have also created their special Facebook pages to popualrise their products. They take orders from their customers, feedback and also launch new products online. Even those who are not much educated are sailing in the same boat,”said an associate professor from the university’s SBS.

“With our school alone, about 7,000 f ar mers from Punjab including several farm women are connected to PAU through different WhatsApp groups created by us on different agricultural subjects and allied activities. I have personally created about 15 such groups with several subparts where within few days, membership went on to rise. Interestingly, every single day we get so many new farmer members.”

The professor said some of the farmers who are active on social networking said it is a very fruitful experience to be part of it. One can exchange ideas, grab latest knowledge on different agricultural practices and can also get an answer on any doubt from agricultural experts which are also many on social networking, they pointed out.

“I promote my readymade ‘Punjabi tadka’ product used for preparing vegetables on facebook. Thanks to my son who taught me about internet. Had I not created my own page it would have been very difficult to promote my products”, said Jagwant Singh Rai, a farmer from Sangrur.

Shahnaz, a farm woman from Bathinda said, “I also created a facebook page on my home made products such as jams and pickles few years ago. It has proved very beneficial as I get many orders through the page. Many give me feedback as well but most importantly, it connected me to women from across the state. I was motivated by PAU experts to make a facebook page for my products.”

Davinder Singh, a vegetable farmer from Doraha said he has created a WhatsApp group for farmers of his region where he regularly shares latest vegetable growing techniques and weather warnings. “I am also connected to different Whatsapp groups created by SBS and i must say these groups are really helpful,”said Singh.

Sukhpal Singh Sekhon, district agriculture officer said, “Not just in Ludhiana but farmers across the state are learning the importance of internet and social networking. If we compare this trend to last ten years, reverse will be the case but for the benefit of farmers, we want more and more of them to get oriented to internet and exploit the oppurtunities.”