In recent years, Meghalaya’s economy has seen a gradual growth in the industrial and services sectors, and its consequent contribution to the GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product). Meanwhile, the share of the agricultural and allied sectors in the GSDP has decreased drastically from around 40% in the early ’80s to 15-19% currently. However, the agricultural sector still remains a significant source of employment for the state as more than two-thirds of the population is dependent on it for their livelihood.
Some of the major causes for such sectoral changes as part of the state economy can be attributed to the fragmentation of the agricultural land holdings, the greater numbers of small and marginal farmers, the resulting prevalence of tenant farming practices, and weak post-harvest management. The farmers are also beset by structural hurdles such as dominance of middle-men, trader cartelization, irregular power supply, lack of assured irrigation and access to finance. Perhaps the most challenging hurdle faced by the farmers across the state includes the absence of organized evacuation logistics, limited or no access to remunerative and sustainable markets and the absence of transparent processes and platforms that facilitate healthy buyer seller interaction and activities.
To address these challenges and empower the farmers of the state, the government of Meghalaya launched an innovative helpline, 1917, which is accessible from all telecom service provider networks of the state and from certain telecom circles outside the state. This number is based on the Integrated Technology Enabled Agri Management System, also referred to as 1917-iTEAMS. The goal of the initiative is to provide a platform for the farmers and related stakeholders in the state agricultural sector to network and connect with each other, and establish direct lines of communication with markets across the globe. The most important aspect of this initiative is the ability of farmers to directly access relevant and reliable information and markets, without the influence of middlemen and unreasonable traders.
1917iTEAMS enables the farmers to call the toll free 1917 number with queries related to Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Apiculture and Sericulture. There are two Agri Response Centres (ARCs) linked to the 1917 number to respond to these queries, as well as provide farmers information related to disease management in crops, health management in livestock and even departmental schemes and training.
  1. Logistics Solutions. The service enables farmers and their buyers to discuss evacuation and transportation logistics and determine viable solutions to transport goods to farms or markets. This process is also strengthened by a network of Agri-Response Vehicles (ARVs), that are entrepreneur owned pickup trucks that offer a high competitive freight rate (INR 0.02 per kg/ km).
  2. Market Connect. Finally, the major benefit of 1917iTEAMS is the provision of information on potential markets, buyers and sellers and enlightening farmers and buyers of the different selling/buying options available to them. It is important to note that 1917iTEAMS connects the registered farmers with commodities to sell to the registered buyers looking to buy the same commodities but does not participate in any buying /selling negotiations.


The 1917iTEAMS enables farmers and citizens to dial a single toll free number connected to a centralized call, dispatch and facilitation centre called the Agri Response Centre (ARC). The ARC operates on a cloud based technology platform which collates 1) advisory, market, evacuation and logistics demand of farmers, FPOs, SHGs, Cooperatives etc on the supply side, and 2) the requirement for agri produce/products from buyers on the demand side.
The ARC has a content dissemination section that processes this data and sends out important information through text-based SMS, voice calls, and through mobile apps, thereby enabling both buyers and sellers to make informed marketing choices. This includes information related to crop, weather, animal health, input dealers, market information, buyer demand, produce availability, plant protection, and expert advisories.
The other component of 1917iTEAMS is the evacuation and logistics service which consists of dedicated, entrepreneur owned, Agri Response Vehicles (ARVs) across the state. These vehicles are backed by a GPS enabled fleet management and tracking system, which will move out, under the direction and tracking of the ARC, to lift farmer’s produce from aggregation sites and transport the produce directly to the farmers’ choice of markets.

iTEAMS is a cloud based platform that provides advisory services and ensures a level playing field where buyers and sellers are made aware of each other’s needs and prices, and decide on whom they want to shake hands with. Once the deal is done the farmer / buyer places the call to the ARC on the toll free number for lifting and transportation of the produce by the ARVs to destinations of their choice.

Success Factors

  • Personalized ‘Agro Advisory’ based on ‘Farm and Farmer Profile’ in the local dialect through the IVRS, SMS and the mobile app
  • Booking of Agri Response Vehicle (ARV) on Toll-Free and through the mobile app
  • Market accessibility through the ARVs
  • Sell/buy request on Toll-Free number and on the mobile app
  • Price transparency and information on IVR, SMS and mobile app
  • Best fit product market scenario
  • ‘Live Interaction’ with Scientists and Level 2 experts through the IVR
  • Facility to ‘Refer Critical Problems’ to relevant ‘Crop Specialist’ available virtually
  • ‘Round the Clock Query Registration Facility’ through IVRS & Smart Phones
  • ‘Anywhere Anytime Access’ to Past Advisories
  • Facility to ‘Push Emergency Message’ to Farmers based on Location and Crops
  • ‘Network Independent’ – Accessible from All Networks
  • Farmers using text messages as a reference and validating transactions
  • Timely information related to production, protection, post-harvest and weather
  • Voice messages to aid farmers with less literacy skills
  • Weather forecasts and awareness to help in planning agricultural work
  • Short films via social media on agriculture-related information
  • Increased awareness about the use of ICTs in agriculture