Iffco Kisan Sanchar Ltd (IKSL), the firm co-founded by Ranjan Sharma alongwith the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd (Iffco) in 2007. IKSL has a customer base of 80 lakh farmers, to whom it sends five free voice messages everyday on crops, weather, livestock and the like. It also extends to them a free helpline service on the same. Most of their customers are Iffco shareholders. Of India’s farmer population of 15 crore, around 5.5 crore are in Iffco.
Ranjan Sharma did a 45-day pilot in 11 villages of the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, where he distributed handsets free of cost. IKSL is not the only one operating in the area of agricultural advisory in the country. Reuters Market Light, Tata Consultancy Services’ mKrishi and Qualcomm’s venture for fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu in association with M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and Tata Teleservices, called Fisher Friend, are some of them.