Jan. 7, 2019
In 2016 and 2017, the Kleffmann Group surveyed the Internet behaviour of corn farmers living in India. 4,294 farmers participated in the study in 2016, 4,225 farmers in 2017. In this article, the farmers living in India who cultivate maize are generally presented as "the farmers".
India is currently witnessing a mobile Internet boom. However, there is an acute urban-rural digital divide - urban Internet penetration being way higher than rural Internet penetration. Kleffmann Group’s study indicates that this scenario is changing very quickly.
More and more Indian farmers have now access to Internet. In 2016, 13 % of farmers had access to Internet, but a season later the number rose to 17 %. By far the most common way to surf Internet is through mobile phones; only a small proportion of them surf Internet through PCs or laptops. Although the study suggests that more and more farmers have access to Internet, farmers’ usage of Internet is still low. We also don’t witness any steep increase in their frequency of usage.
Comparing the data for 14 corn growing Indian states, we witness significant variations in Internet penetration across states. For example, Internet penetration in Gujarat has crossed the 50 % mark. And, every 1 in 3 farmers in Maharashtra and Punjab have access to Internet. On the other hand, states like Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are far behind with single digit Internet penetration. Use of Internet for agricultural related information has increased tremendously - In 2016, 25 % of the farmers surveyed used Internet to obtain agricultural information. By 2017, this figure rose to 41 %. In the same time period, farmers who use Internet to entertain themselves also rose from 70 % to 81 %. These trends indicate the overall opportunity this platform presents to manufacturers and marketers of agriculture products.