AgroSpaceBot – virtual extension agent – Neksigol Navovar

1 Own Digital Solutions for AgricultureAPIMessengersSoftware solution

AgroSpaceBot – virtual extension agent

AgroSpaceBot is a Telegram-based app that responds to messages sent to @agrospace_bot as a virtual extension agent that currently conducts a conversation via the textual method, more precisely through subsequent selections from the proposed options. The agricultural chatbot is built based on the dataset from Neksigol knowledge management system and its agricultural databases.

Type Digital Solution
Organization Neksigol Group (Neksigol Navovar is responsible for software development and Neksigol Mushovir is for technical backstopping on the agronomic part)
Organization Type Startup / Small-medium enterprise
Country / Territory Tajikistan
Location Khujand
Implemented in Tajikistan
Use case Agricultural extension and advisory services; Disaster risk management and early warning systems; Capacity development and empowerment
Domain Plant health and production; Livestock, animal health and production; Beekeeping; Soil management; Water management; Nutrition; Food processing; Land use and restoration; Forest management; Energy; Climate change
Description AgroSpaceBot is an agricultural chatbot to answer queries related to market prices, weather and agri-inputs. This system is available 24*7, can be accessed through any electronic device and the information is delivered with ease of understanding. The chatbot allows access to information and knowledge from messenger anywhere with a minimum requirement for an Internet connection. No registrations are needed, and no special mobile applications download.
Since 2022
Maturity Early stages (Ideation)
In partnership No
Technology Digital communication (email, messengers); Software solution; API (Application Programming Interface)
Technology description Currently, AgroSpaceBot is launched in MVP format, which is the earliest version of the product that has a minimum set of functionalities, including with a user interface in the only Russian language. But the multi-language user interface is integrating into the chatbot with priority given to the Tajik language.
Users Smallholder farms; Civil society organizations (NGOs, local action groups); Public sector; Private sector (other businesses); Research institutions or academic organizations; Field agro-consultants; Village advisors; Agri-inputs suppliers; Agro-shops; Buyers of agri-products
Users’ description Although, AgroSpaceBot may be of interest to all agriculture stakeholders due to providing easy access to information and knowledge, through integration in the instant messengers, it targets smallholder farmers especially.
The majority of rural people prefer messengers for sharing information because they are easy to use and usually begin to use them to communicate with relatives, friends, colleagues, etc. Today, even women also have smartphones, at least simple ones, because a majority of them have children who work in Russia and mothers prefer to speak to their children via messengers.
Business model Fully free; Advertising; Freemium (free and fee)
Business model description Currently, AgroSpaceBot is working in MVP format and it is fully free to use. Any user can access the chatbot without limitations at this stage. Although, the chatbot is used as a channel for advertising and ordering for HOSIL.TJ - online agri-inputs delivery service.
In future, after integrating all functions, the solution will be commercialized through a freemium business model. Users can choose between a basic service with free access or a premium one with a small amount subscription fee. The basic service will allow access to most information and integrated tools. The premium service will provide access to an advanced set of services.
Challenges There is a need to improve the chatbot and extend its functionalities in order to realize the potential of such technologies as chatbot accompanied with Machine Learning to support agriculture. Firstly, AgroSpaceBot needs to be complemented by an early warning system, which can send in-app notifications to alert in cases of frost, heavy rain, high temperature, floods, storm warnings, unforeseen weather events, disease/pest outbreaks, etc. Secondly, the chatbot should be improved to answer queries related to crop production and management such as planting, irrigation, spraying, harvesting etc. Furthermore, the system should be extended by creating thematic agricultural groups integrated into the messaging platform which allow farmers to ask questions and get feedback on areas they needed additional information from specialists (agricultural specialists on agronomy, pests and disease control, livestock, marketing).
Food Value Chain stage Production; Post-harvest handling and aggregation; Distribution (wholesale and retail)
Impact According to the assessment on digital tools conducted by GIZ in 2019, instant messengers are most used by the rural population for information exchange. Thus, with such a system as the chatbot integrated into messengers, most farmers can get access to information about the latest farming practices and localized information such as market prices and weather forecasts, hence get a better agricultural output. The system would enable the farmer to get answers about farming related practices, anytime, which will in turn help in spreading the modern farming technology faster and to a higher number of farmers.
SDGs SDG 1: No poverty; SDG 2: Zero Hunger; SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth; SDG 9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure; SDG 13: Climate action
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