It's been a month since B.N. Fand Patil got on Clubhouse, the social audio app. He sits by a window at 7 p.m. for a live conversation on the Indian Farmer's Club voice chat room, catching up with fellow farmers Shivaji Awate, Samadhan Bagul, Vijay Jaibhave and Balasaheb Gavli Barshi on agricultural practices, weather, marketing and crop management. Social media is not new to him — he also uses Facebook and Instagram to network. "Social media se bahut benefit hua hai (social media has been of great benefit)," he says, adding that his Facebook post on farming beans 10 years ago received many comments, opening a window of opportunities. "I learnt natural activation techniques of soil and the importance of weather," recalls Mr. Patil, a 36-year-old farmer. Pune-based freelance journalist and agro analyst Deepak Chavan, who started the Indian Farmer's Club on Clubhouse in June, believes social media is a powerful means of expression for farmers. "These platforms are self-help support systems that help us help each other," he says. In the 30 sessions held so far — in Marathi and occasionally Hindi — around 100 farmers, mostly from Maharashtra, discuss horticulture, vegetable harvesting, crop management, sowing time, marketing, innovations… Read full this story
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