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In 2013, the world's population of humans hit 7 billion. In the same year, the number of mobile phones in the world was 6.8 billion. This means that there were that many entry points to the internet. Accessibility to mobile phones has helped the farming and agricultural community all over the world.

Eric Owandu, a farmer in Kenya participated in a regional trial of a text messaging service for farmers. The service gave Eric advice on crop management, the different maize varieties available, the right fertilizer to use and other such relevant data. In his own words, "This service has helped me a lot to improve my production and profits." A clear advantage of the service was that important information reached farmers faster than the usual personal visits by agriculture advisors. The farmers were also able to time their planting at the correct time based on the advice sent to them. This advice was always based on expert analysis of the weather and climate patterns and many other parameters. Much of this is information that the farmers did not have before.

Since 2011, rice farmers in the Philippines have been receiving free fertilizer guidelines via their mobile phones. A simple call on a toll-free number gave them advice on the right type and quantity of fertilizer to use on their crops, as well as the right timing of their fertilizer programs. The information given to the farmers helped to maximize production and profits and also reduce waste.

A similar mobile phone application launched in Indonesia helped more than 300 rice farmers across nine provinces in the country. Farmers in all the provinces increased their rice yields and earnings by making the recommended changes to their fertilizer regimen. An added benefit of the program is information retrieval from the fields, especially about the occurrence of pests and diseases. This helps to provide early intervention when needed.

India has launched a comprehensive agro-advisory service for smallholders using mobile device technology. Small scale dairy, poultry and goat farming have been especially targeted at the initial implementation of the programme. These initiatives promote the use of mobile telephone to help farmers maximize their resources. Mobile phones are used to share all kinds of information relevant to the farmer.

Kerala is a small state in the south-east corner of India. It has seen an amazing impact in the use of mobile phones among fishermen. Kerala has successfully eliminated 100% waste of throwaway fish at the port markets.

US farmers are well ahead of other farmers around the world in the use of mobile phone technology in their farming enterprises. Computer technology provides them with accurate data on the weather, irrigation scheduling, market prices and many other management tools.

With the advent of mobile phones, farmers do not anymore look to signs in nature to plan their farming activities. There were many quirky and strange parameters that farmers used to understand the weather. Some looked to the direction of wind. Others observed the striations in clouds. The most comical was killing a goat and studying patterns on its intestines. Today, the same farmer will be looking in different directions simply to find out in which direction his mobile phone signal is best.

In a futuristic scenario, a farmer inspecting his fields nay take a photo of an unfamiliar insect and upload it to a relevant authority. The authority may ask him to make a check to see how wide-spread the infestation is. Then he would be asked to send them the GPS coordinates of the area infested. He would then be connected to a trustworthy pest control company that can handle the problem. The company would give him a quotation on the cost of the necessary pesticide application on the area. The farmer would confirm the order and make payment using his mobile. As he drives away, the pest control company would send a drone with the necessary quantity of pesticide and spray the area. By this time, the farmer himself would be in some far away corner of his field attending to other matters.

It is noteworthy that all the technology mentioned in the scenario is already available. It is only that they have not been employed in the way described.

   

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

 

1.

From paragraph 1, in your own words explain the difference between farming and agriculture.

 

2.

(a) From paragraph 2, what advice did Eric Owandu get on his mobile phone ?

(b) How did the service help Eric ?

 

3.

(a) From paragraph 3, when was the mobile phone service for rice farmers started in the Philippines ?

(b) What were the two advices that the rice farmers were given ?

 

4.

(a) From paragraph 7, what information do US farmers get with computer technology ?

(b) Mention two strange methods that farmers used to decide on planting times.

 

5.

In your opinion what is the foremost characteristic that benefits farmers in the co-ordinated use of mobile phones ?

Characteristic :

Reason:

 

6.

Based on the passage, write a summary of :

The benefits that farmers can enjoy by being in constant communication with relevant authorities.

How this could change the face of farming.

 

 

 

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Answers
 

1.

Agriculture refers to the growing of vegetables and grains for food. Farming, besides including agriculture, refers to the rearing of animals and fish for food. (Any suitable answer)
 

2.

(a) He received advice on crop management, the different maize varieties available, the right fertilizer to use and other such relevant data.

(b) It helped him to improve his production and profits.

 

3.

(a) It was started in 2011

(b)

(i) They were advised on the right type and quantity of fertilizer to use.

(ii) They were advised on the right timing to apply the fertilizer.

 

4.

(a) They receive accurate date on the weather, irrigation scheduling, market prices and many other management tools.

(b) Two strange methods of deciding when to plant was studying patterns on the intestines of goats and studying the striations in clouds.

 

5.

Characteristic: The foremost characteristic that benefits farmers is accurate advice related to farming.

Reason: The examples cited in the passage prove that the advice given to the farmers helped to increase yield and profits. The futuristic scenario tells of a situation where pest control can be done before the pests proliferate to a scale that is detrimental to yield and profits.

  6. Mobile phones are proving invaluable to farmers the world over. The weather is an important factor in farming. Planting and harvest must be planned to be when the weather is ideal. Meteorology departments in all countries monitor daily weather and periodical trends. This information, which is vital for farmers, can easily be conveyed to the farmers in precise timing. Advice on plant species, fertilizing programs and other field management methods may be sent simultaneously to a large number of farmers at the same time. In the future, with the benefit of online marketing, farmers may be able to sell their goods directly to wholesalers without the interference of mid-way agents. This will not only reduce the overall price for consumers, the farmers too can rake in better profits.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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