"We call the videos the Pop Idol for farmers”"

India: Entrepreneur Rikin Gandhi helps farmers with educational video's

Rikin Gandhi is working with farmers in India's teeming villages and trying to improve their lives. What Mr Gandhi and his 65-member team do at Digital Green, an independent, non-governmental organisation (NGO) that he heads, is simple: train farmers to make and show short videos where they record their problems, share solutions and highlight success stories.

They provide farmers with nifty $200 (£130) handheld, battery-operated, small, handheld pico projectors to show the videos to small groups of people in electricity-starved villages.

In five years since it started, says Mr Gandhi, more than 150,000 farmers have watched 2,600 such videos in 20 different languages in more than 2,000 villages in seven states where Digital Green has a presence. More than half the people watching these videos and putting lessons learnt from them into practice are women.

The eight to 10-minute videos try to answer elementary questions that often cloud farmers' minds: How do you select a crop? How do you prepare your land and nursery beds? How do you transplant crops? How do you remove weeds to get a healthier crop?

The most popular videos, says Mr Gandhi, are the ones where farmers are able to draw lessons from experiences with limited financial risks.

The venture has been supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the government of India, among others.

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Source: BBC.co.uk

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