Mobile Learning: How Smartphones Help Illiterate Farmers In Rural India

Hendrik Knoche | National Geographic | June 5, 2013

Small farmers are some of the most important people in the world – as Hendrik Knoche explains in today’s ‘Digital Diversity’, they provide over half of the world’s food supply. Helping such farmers improve their methods through innovative and efficient agriculture has long been an aim of development projects and an important part of the fight against global hunger. But many small farmers are illiterate, meaning it is difficult for them to share and learn about new farming practices. In addition, such development projects often fail to listen to small farmers’ own local knowledge and ideas about agriculture, causing schemes to fail.

Computer scientist Hendrik, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, is aiming to change that. He has designed a new smart-phone interface for farmers especially so that both illiterate and literate can share ideas and vital information about agriculture, helping them, and 62% of the world’s food supply, to stay in business.