MobiMOOC – A Practical Learning Tool to Promote Corporate Literacy for Effective Functioning of Farmer Producer Organizations

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Fostering Lifelong Learning // Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood to more than 70% of rural households in India. Of the total farmers, 87% are small-holders with less than two hectares of land. Yet they play an imperative role in agriculture development and poverty reduction. They face constraints to adopt technologies, access credit services, buy inputs, get market links and achieve economies of scale. As a mitigation measure, in the recent past, Indian government has adopted the development of the Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) to collectivize farmers with the core objectives of doubling farmers income by reducing production costs, improving productivity, strengthening participation in the value-chain and foster business principles. As on date 10,000 FPOs are formed in India with an average 700 to 1000 shareholders and registered under the company’s act. However, there have been gaps and challenges in securing the active participation of the shareholders in contributing to the business. The recent impact study conducted in the state of Maharashtra pointed out that FPOs resulted in rising in price realization among 22% of members and 28% accessed inputs at a lesser cost. Although results are encouraging, promoting the participation of all members in business transactions is crucial to the growth of the company. The main barriers are limited understanding among shareholders about their roles, responsibilities, rights, operational structure, and governance of the organization. Members perceive the FPO as one more collective and thus they miss connecting the corporate dimension in their organization. Thus, promoting continuous learning among shareholders and leaders about the above-listed issues is necessary for their active participation in the company activities and achieving a successful business. // Against this backdrop, a corporate literacy course was designed and piloted using the MobiMOOC digital tool with 24 FPOs from five districts, having an average shareholder base of 1035, in Tamil Nadu, India. Contents are prepared based on the learner's needs assessment conducted and categorized into blocks, divided into units and chunks. The contents were disseminated to farmers as voice calls on simple mobile phones with options of retrieving (IVRS) and listening when convenient to individual farmers. In this paper we will discuss the experiences of pedagogy adopted, design and dissemination of contents, feedback of learners on how it supported in gaining and knowledge on FPOs, and how they practiced the learning in their FPOs businesses and its impacts. The paper will also touch upon the scope for replication of the learnings. // Paper ID 2639

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC),Mobile Learning (mLearning),Agriculture