Reliance Foundation, the corporate social responsibility wing of Reliance Industries Limited—
one of India’s largest conglomerate holding companies—organized the Farmer-Experts Live Interaction Program, a 90-minute interactive TV program for farmers where they can phone in their questions about agriculture. To answer the questions, Reliance Foundation invited senior IRRI staff members, CSISA extension agronomist, and Mr. Needhibathi, a local farmer that has been collaborating with CSISA for several years.
The Farmer-Experts Live Interaction Program introduced the project, the role of the different participating implementation agencies, and its donors to viewers. To encourage viewers to participate in the live question and answer part of the program, water scarcity and labor shortage—the major constraints facing farmers in the Cauvery Delta—were highlighted. Viewers phoned in questions about conservation agriculture, crop establishment using minimal labor and water, laser land leveling, and dry seeded rice (DSR) using seed drills, and weed management.
Farmer-Experts Live Interaction Program also covered mechanically transplanted non-puddled rice and the service provider model. In addition, CSISA experts outlined the employment prospects that mechanization and the introduction of conservation agriculture can bring to the rural youths by becoming service providers to farmers.
The Farmer-Experts Live Interaction Program is broadcasted once monthly on Zen TV, a local TV channel, to create mass awareness and disseminate the location-specific information on agriculture. It is screened in 4 districts within the CSISA hub domain.