Skymet Weather Highlights Farmers' Suicides In A Poignant Film
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About three lakh farmers have committed suicide in India in the last 20 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of India.
The farmers' suicide is a disgrace for the whole country as India is primarily an agri-based economy with 58 per cent of its population depending on agriculture for livelihood. It is this agri-based population that contributes to 16 per cent of Gross Value Added (during 2014-15) as per Central Statistics office.
In spite of the huge impact they have on our economy, it is the incidences of their suicides that we read day after day in newspapers.
To show the reality behind these number of suicides, Skymet Weather, the weather monitoring and agri-risk solutions company, launched a digital campaign #HelptheFarmer last week. The creative agency that worked with Skymet to make the four-minute short film was Gurgaon-based company RK Swamy BBDO.
The film is about a little village girl, Duniya and her father who is a farmer. Duniya lives in perpetual fear about her father's well being, even following him to the field and back home. The background score informs that she is anxious that her father might commit suicide like many of her friends' fathers who hanged themselves due to bad monsoon.
Sunil Kukreti, senior partner of RK Swamy BBDO shares that "the movie is a humble attempt to sensitise the country about the grave reality of the farmers' lives and how their suicide has been reduced to the facts and figures in newspapers especially for the urban population." So, it was a conscious decision, he adds, to show the world as a little girl sees it to heighten the emotional part - the trauma of the family, the anxiety that surrounds them and the crisis they live in.
The rationale behind the video was, says Jatin Singh, founder and CEO of Skymet, "to convey how weather forecasting data can help the farmers plan their crop cultivation cycle and also prepare them in advance for the drought or the excessive rains, enabling them to reduce their production cost."
Skymet provides the weather forecast free, for short and long term, for each village in India through its website and mobile app in 10 local languages.
"Though the viewership will be more in urban areas but due to the deep penetration of mobile internet we hope to reach what I call 'rurban' areas such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, east Rajasthan that have a better urban connect than other argi-based states," adds Singh.
Dave Banerjee, CEO of advertising agency, Fisheye Creative Solutions feels that, "there was no need for the tyre-swing in the end. I think that made the film a little filmy and the issue a little frivolous. It somewhat negated the father's concern for rain and therefore made the 'farmers' suicide' seem less alarming. This doesn't bring to life the severity of the death of three lakh farmers."
The video has got over one million views from social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube (Watch Video Here) and Twitter.
"We want the entire nation to use our forecast so we will launch another on-the-ground campaign for rural areas," says Manav Singh Gahlaut, digital media head at Skymet.
Skymet is also working with India.org to create a lighter version its website and app so people in interiors of the country can access the information from their platform.