Karnataka is an agrarian economy contributing more than 11% of India’s agricultural produce. More than 65% of the land is utilised for agriculture and around 60% of the people undertake agriculture as their primary occupation.
The farmer community in a large state like Karnataka relies heavily on monsoon rains for their crops. The sentiment during 2017-18 had been low due to poor rains that resulted in drought. The government policies towards farmers had also not been very encouraging, thus resulting in a high number of deaths amongst farmers.
Vijay Karnataka (VK) wanted to create a business opportunity for a significant population of the state, create a more optimistic outlook in the farmer community, and spread success stories of star farmers in the region who have achieved good crops despite poor rains.
VK accepted state government support to develop a credible campaign that aimed to bring agriculture business closer to the farmers, unlike any campaign by other media houses in the region. The campaign would fulfill Vijay Karnataka’s strategic pillar of “empowering Kannadigas.”
The VK Super Star Raita (Farmer) campaign recognised progressive star farmers who had achieved bumper crops by adopting innovative ideas or techniques. The campaign was designed around regional district-level events and a state-level finale where the top 20 farmers would be awarded the title VK Super Star Raita.
VK created a 360-degree campaign to invite entries from farmers by using print, on-ground (pasting posters in agriculture markets), radio, SMS, WhatsApp, and databases from an agriculture product supplier. We created buzz about the district-level events through grassroots level reporters and stringers to collect nominations from farmers.
VK main edition, special pull-outs, and hyper-local supplements were used to cover the district-level events. Local television channels and digital media were utilised to broadcast these events. We identified 182 star farmers, which included men, women, disabled, old, and young farmers across agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and fisheries. The success stories published would help other farmers achieve better crops in the future.
The VK Super Star Raita campaign was very well received by the farmers and agri-businesses. The call for entries was predominantly via print. Non-subscribers had to buy a newspaper to get the entry forms and continuous updates of the campaign for two to three months.
Stringers played a critical role in influencing farmers to send entries on the platform. With an increasing number of entries received from farming community across different districts and higher advertising client support, the number of district events grew.
Across regions, advertising clients could engage with more than 7,000 farmers through routes like: product sampling/testing, freebies/vouchers, trials, product presentations, and literature on their products. The campaign led to increased readership in various parts of the state. VK spread the success stories across the state to empower millions of farmers and encouraged women farmers and young farmers to persist with agriculture.
VK’s unique initiative received appreciation from farmers, government officials, bureaucrats, dozens of agri-business leaders, and agricultural universities.