In Cambodia’s most rural areas, people like farmers do not have access to Internet and often lack crucial information that can help farmers adopt the use of fragrant rice seed for high yields.
The International Finance Corporation is keen to strengthen and further improve the effectiveness of its work in the rice seed space through the introduction of another ICT channel, in addition to its weekly radio program.
The IFC, in collaboration with agriculture NGO Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Development (CIRD), and InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia (iLab SEA), developed a voice-centric system so farmers can also access to information and knowledge on improved, high value fragrant rice seeds through their mobile phones, in their own language.
The ICT4Ag Verboice project targets 8 provinces, and Cambodian farmers there can call the Verboice number to gain knowledge about fragrant rice seed. Verboice is interactive, free of charge and accessible 24/7. Farmers can even leave questions for CIRD to respond through radio broadcast.
The software underlying Verboice is a free and open-source tool that makes it easy for anyone to create and run projects that interact via voice, allowing users to listen and record messages in their own language and dialect or answer questions with a phone keypad.
Verboice projects can start small and scale up, making it possible to improve lives even in communities previously closed off by literacy and technological barriers.