Stifled By Rainfall and a Subpar Electrical Grid

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Stifled by rainfall and a subpar electrical grid, 50 million farmers in rural India have relied heavily on daily newspapers for weather forecasts and middlemen to supply local market prices. With an annual income of $1,500 to $2,500, Indian farmers receive less than 25% of the value of their final crop prices, versus 40% to 50% earned by farmers in the U.S. and Great Britain. Eighteen months ago, more than 75,000 Indian farmers began using Reuters Market Light (RML), the first-ever personal-ized information service for farmers via cell phones. RML provides weather reports within a 50-mile radius, prices for 125 crops at 300 local markets and crop-specific news and tips to determine labor deployment and pricing evaluations in farmers' local languages. A phone and a three-month subscription can be purchased for $4.50 from 1,200 retail outlets in Haryana, Maharashtra and Punjab. “Reading the numerous testimonials of satisfied farmers who have seen a significant increase in their income due to RML makes the team and me extremely proud. ... We see a tremendous potential [in] this innovative concept,” said Amit Mehra, managing director and head of Reuters Market Light for Thomson Reuters. —Tanya Meyer
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