News : Call Centre to Clear Farm Queries
Thiruvananthapuram, June 9, 2014 -- Informations related to farming, the diseases which hit crops or the availability of seeds and saplings are now at your finger tips.
Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) has launched a call centre for farmers at the Small Farmers Agriculture Business Consortium at Manjalikkulam Road here. The call centre has been launched based on the budget announcement which earmarked Rs 5 crore for setting up the facility across the state.
With a toll-free number 18004251661, the call centre would answer the queries of farmers across the state.
"All the queries coming to the centre are given equal priority and it has attempted to answer them all. If a query couldn’t be answered at once, within a particular time, the person would be provided with the information he had asked for. In such cases, we transfer the question to the Agricultural University or the Rubber Board to collect the accurate details," ATMA state coordinator V Vinod said.
On an average, the call centre which was launched a month ago is receiving 20 to 25 calls per day.
"Farmers from all parts of the state are calling up to clear doubts on crop diseases, diseases affecting cattle and the like.
At times, when we can’t provide appropriate information we give them phone numbers of authorities concerned or offices such as Krishi Bhavans," said K Suresh, former assistant director, Agriculture Department, who is at present monitoring the functioning of the call centre.
However, the functioning of the call centre, now from 10 am to 5 pm, is yet to be on full swing.
According to Vinod, though the budget had allocation for the initiative, there was no specification on how it should be set up.
Setting up a call centre here is only an initial step. There are plans to expand this further. Once the expansion takes place, the call centre would function in two shifts: one between 8 am to 2 pm and the other from 2 pm to 8 pm. Then four employees of the Agricultural Department would be engaged to answer the calls. They would work under the supervision of an officer of assistant director rank.
ATMA is also trying to popularise the call centre through advertisements in Doordarshan and All India Radio as many farmers do not know that such a facility exists.
A plan to integrate the functioning of the call centre with the mobile alert facility of the farmers registered with Krishi Bhavans is also on cards.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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