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Agri 2024

Agricultural contact centres: Driving agricultural extension services with artificial intelligence and information technology

Gbolahan Oshonubi, Speaker at Agriculture Conferences
Intelligent Network Services Limited, Nigeria
Title : Agricultural contact centres: Driving agricultural extension services with artificial intelligence and information technology


In developing countries, agriculture remains one of the major occupations. With interests from small holder farmers to commercial farmers, agriculture is a major employer. As the number of the interested farmers are increasing there is a challenge with the commensurable number of agricultural extension service providers. This is a major concern to the industry as farmers need information on inputs, weather forecast, product pricing, pest control, livestock management, agronomy, aquaculture among others. The recent adaptations in contact centre and growth in artificial intelligence is encouraging the development of agricultural contact centre. Agricultural contact centres are ensemble of various technologies to deliver digital extension services to farmers. It is a combination of a call centre (telephone lines, computer telephony integration, computer systems, headsets, and Local Area Network infrastructure), agriculture focused customer relationship management application with robust knowledge management module integrated with Artificial Intelligence Generative Pre-training Transformers (GPT). The use of the GPT positively caters for knowledge augmentation required of the agent by complementing the number of agents and experts needed in the contact centre. SMS channel (by extension WhatsApp) enables message broadcast to large number of farmers thereby scaling the service to reach a large number of farmers on the outbound leg. On the other, inbound SMS service allows farmers send in messages which can be attended to by the agent. The contact centre is multi-lingual service centre that allow callers to choose from their preferred language which is premised on Interactive Voice Response with other functionalities like pre-recorded audio messages, missed calls functionalities. For commercial farmers, and small holders with smart phones, the contact centre features videoconferencing facility for one-to-one and one-to-many discussion sessions. Farmers can also send email and receive newsletters through the email channel of the contact centre. The contact centres provide services to farmers virtually across various regions in a country without or geographical limits; or physical visit to the farmers. This makes the contact centre provide immediate service to last miles farms and inaccessible terrains. With this, governments agencies, Non Governmental Organisations and Community Based Organisations, research institutes can provide and sponsor agricultural extension services with minimal resources while reaching a wide range of audience. This can be purposed for capacity building, skill development, training and retraining to the farmers and agro-allied service providers in addition providing agricultural information and advisory services, which include but not limited to answer questions on agronomy, animal health and production technologies, fisheries and aquaculture. Other areas of services include providing information and tips on pest and disease management, support farmers with information on farming efficiency and and farming management services, price information and market intelligence, agricultural marketplace and tele-commerce solution, weather forecasts and information. In this presentation, I will be discussing setting up an agricultural contact centre from the technology dimensioning to human resource requirements and how the contact centre can positively impact the agricultural sub sector in developing countries. Starting from the objectives of the contact centre, capacity planning, choice of technology, to training of the staff of the contact centre, this paper will provide information on how to set up a contact centre. In addition, it will discuss business models to transition it from a cost centre to a profit centre


Gbolahan Oshonubi is the Chief Executive Officer of Intelligent Network Services Limited, located in Lagos State, Nigeria. He graduated in Electrical/Electronic Engineering at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria with almost three decades of experiences in microwave and fibre optics communication, systems integration, product design. In business management, his is involved business development, marketing and data science and business analytics with focus on Business-To-Consumer. He is involved in the development and adaptation of contact centre for various industry in emergency management, financial services, manufacturing, automotive and recently agricultural contact centre. At his leisure, Gbolahan spends quality time on developing systems integration solution and reading history

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