What if a farmer gets agricultural information through his television set and applies the information to his farm? In India, it seems impossible. However, Mumbai-based Nomad films has turned this impossible into reality with a TV Channel, Green TV, on the eve of independence day this year.
The channel is currently is in test run. However, after few months of trial it is expected to be formally launched in October this year.
The channel has a clear mandate of disseminating information on various aspects of agriculture like crop protection, fertilisers, seeds, irrigation, crop selection, farm mechanisation, agri-research and education, agri-business, food processing industry, dairy farming, horticulture, fisheries, animal husbandry, bee farming and other allied areas.
Junaid Memon, promoter of Green TV, explains, “The content is relevant to the farmer and his family and it helps him in his business of agriculture and allied services under agriculture , including his social well-being and all-round growth in terms of education and health and awareness of the country’s plan and expansion.”
“The content is being developed since there are no other players in the same field or for that matter, we ,as a team, are developing new content. By disseminating such content, our aim is to bridge the gap between rural and urban India,” he adds.
Memon has been travelling in India’s rural for around five years to meet people and understand their needs. According to him, Green TV is intended to broadcast value added content to empower rural India. It also seeks to be an active partner with government in initiatives spreading awareness programmes in rural India.
The channel has been getting good feedback from the farming spectrum. Dr. D Narsimha Reddy, professor at National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad and national fellow at Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), says, “If there is any agency or media channel that would bring inputs on development in agriculture as agri market accessible to small and marginal farmers, it would be an ideal development in the present context of Indian agriculture.”
Echoing Dr. Reddy’s view, Daljeet Singh Gill, president, Progressive Dairy Farmers Association, too welcomes the move and says, “Along with agriculture, in dairy and poultry, there is a lack of awareness among the farmers. Those who get exposure from the universities have good knowledge, but common farmers lack awareness. If any channel provides such information, it would be helpful for the largest community of India. If there are good programmes, farmers will watch them.”
Commenting on the state of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Gill adds, “Since KVK are not functioning properly as they have confined themselves to organising exhibitions, an initiative like Green TV would be helpful to farmers.”
As India is a diverse nation with multiple languages and socially and culturally different in many aspects, the channel has both micro and a macro approaches to reach out to the whole nation.
Highlighting the broadcasting modules, Memon says, “Our intention is to launch Green Television in as many languages as possible to cover the whole of India. We are starting with Hindi as a primary language followed by Tamil , Telugu , Marathi and Bengali. The idea is to reach a vast segment of people with their local languages so that our targeted audience gets the desired benefit.”
The management of Green TV has decided to promote the channel in two ways. Firstly, Below-the-Line (BTL) activities at national level to gain large viewership and also to keep them updated. Secondly, to reach out to the advertisers, the channel has a sales team which will look after the advertisements. “Our sales teams are operating from various centres such as Delhi , Kolkatta , Mumbai , Ahemdabad and Bengalaru so that the area of advertisement sales is well covered. Besides this, we are using a number of media sites to reach out to potential advertisers, through mailers and other promotional materials on all the media websites,” cites Memon.
The channel’s focus will be primarily on reaching the cable operators who deliver cable television in villages, in towns, and in tier- II and III cities. To reach through satellite and Direct-to-Home, the channel is exploring possibilities of a tie-up with DD Direct and another Broadcasters using DTH as a medium to reach the remote areas of the country. The channel will be free-to-air, but can be watched only through the set-top-boxes (STBs).
“We have two advertising agencies roped in, one for print and the other one for audio visual space,” Memon adds. The company, however, shies away from revealing the name of the agencies.
Any new channel which has been launched needs content, distribution and advertising, and we are working like any other channels, which are facing the same challenges. The only difference is that the content will be shown is totally different, and hence no relevant content is available at this time. We need to design the whole content, and reciprocates the promoter, elaborates Memon.
Green TV does not see any competition in the market presently as it is focused on a new segment like agriculture where no other TV channel is working so far. The promoter does not feel anxious if any other player enters in the same domain with agricultural content.
Having an agrarian country, the upliftment of farmers is a very crucial thing for India. In contrast, in term of application of appropriate information in the filed, the sector is still very poor. Initiatives like Green TV could be helpful for farmers to get awareness for farm practices.