22 October 2018
Agriculture in Myanmar is the largest industry in the country, where it accounts for 60 percent of the GDP and employing about 65 percent of the labor force. However, experts comment that agriculture in Myanmar has many areas to improve especially the technology in growing the crops.
Green Way is one of the rare agri-apps formed in May 2011. University knowledge combined with experience from field work and lessons from farmers with whom the developers conducted training sessions. The app is aimed to share alternative agricultural techniques with farmers to help them improve their agricultural outputs and income levels.
Ko Aung Myint Myat from Green way app said, “Currently we have 100,000 downloads and daily users of 600 and over 5000 users per week. It’s a free app. The app features technology for agriculture and livestock. Daily price data for crops. And news on weather, technology for agriculture and livestock. We also have survey sessions and general knowledge. And we also include programs from TV and radio.”
Among many useful features on the app, he explains about the most used feature of the app.
“We have like 25 wholesale centers connected with us. So the users can get information on price and stuff from those wholesale centers. Also we have the question and answer features where users raise questions on the issues they are facing and seek solution and give advice to each other. Also over 3000 experts from university, teachers and students and respective departments and farmers participate in the discussion.”
The app is developed by two local developers. He also explained how they happened to come up with the idea of developing this app.
“Yin Yin Phyu and Thien Soe…Two founders of this app used to work at an NGO before they develop this app. They graduated from university of agriculture. And they found that number of staff working at Department of Agriculture is quite smaller… fewer than number of farmers. So they cannot reach out to farmers immediately when the farmers are in need of them. So the farmers make a quick decision, and make mistakes, often time leading to big loss. So one of the founders thought that now… mobile phone penetration is getting higher so they can use this technology on the phone to get advice from experts in a timely manner and prevent the loss.”
It took them 5 years to develop this farmer-friendly app. The developers have been studying the farmers' needs, behaviors and farming conditions whilst working closely with them.
Initially, the app started off as an app for agriculture and the app has added the session for livestock technology as per users’ request in May 2018.
Out-reach manager of Green way, Ko Aung Khant explains how this app benefits the users.
“Mostly, farmers don’t get access to reliable information on the technology. They don’t know where to get it from. There also is no training for them and libraries are rare even in a city like Yangon. So through this app, they will be able to learn innovative technology and they can meet and discuss with reliable experts. And later, we are planning to add on the feature where they can sell their products. Another good point is that as the users can check the current price of the products, they will be able to sell their produce at right price.”
The app is being used in 323 of Myanmar’s 330 townships.
Department of Agriculture (DoA) and Greenway app recently signed an agreement, with promises to broaden the scope of the platform. The Department will use Green Way as one of its major tools for disseminating important content and information with farmers.