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Bharat jogs down a row of cotton plants, deftly placing a plastic tarp over his crops. He double checks his Android smartphone and confirms that, yes, a storm is coming.

Back home, alongside his two young sons, Bharat watches as the rain falls on their field. Just a year and a half ago, poor weather would have caught Bharat off guard and sent him into a panic that his harvest would be destroyed. But today, Bharat can relax, knowing his crops are safe from the elements. Should another bad weather spell hit in the coming days, he will be prepared.

Bharat comes from a lineage of farmers: The four and a half acres of land Bharat owns in Jalna, India were passed down from his father and grandfather. Growing up, however, Bharat’s family often struggled to bring in fruitful harvests and to make ends meet. Because of this, Bharat’s education was put on hold. It was understood that he would spend his days helping on the farm and eventually take it over.

But Bharat always wondered who he would have become had he been able to pursue his education. When Bharat’s children were born, he became determined to gain financial stability, so that his sons could have a quality education and pursue careers outside of farming. Bharat had long felt that he was being held back by a lack of access to information about the weather, plant growth, and plant wellness. Year after year, he lost crops to rainstorms, heat spells, and pests.

In 2018, a friend shared that he had recently purchased a smartphone, and it had opened new doors that helped him to significantly increase his crop yield. Purchasing a smartphone would eat up all of Bharat and his wife’s savings, but both agreed it could be a life-altering investment. When Bharat collected all the money he had tucked away, however, he realized it wasn’t enough to cover the cost of the phone. The family would have to wait a bit longer.

“My hope is that, as farmers, we continue to keep up with the times, and use technology to live happier, more secure lives.”

Then, his sons, who were six and eight at the time, approached him with their piggy bank. “They broke open their bank and gave me the rest of the money to afford the phone,” Bharat says. “And from there, our lives changed.”

Since purchasing his Android (Go edition) phone, Bharat has been able to nearly triple his annual income. By using Google Go to keep up with weather forecasts, Bharat has saved his crops time and again from poor weather. What’s more, his phone has become a resource for him to expand his knowledge of farming and to develop new skills.

“Earlier this year, my cotton became infected with pink bollworm,” Bharat says. “I went to YouTube and watched a video about how to properly mix and spray pesticide.” The solution worked. He also recently learned from YouTube that the juice from neem tree leaves can be used as an insecticide. “There are many neem trees in the area, so for next season, I won’t need to buy any insecticides, or use chemical-based products on my crops,” he says. “I can save money.”

“The life of a farmer is very difficult. I don’t want my children to have to be farmers. I want them to study hard and get good government jobs.”

Bharat also uses YouTube and Google Go to keep up with the news—something that recently proved significant. “This was how I came to learn about a government test for children the same age as my older son, which would allow him to go to a private school for free, from now through the 12th grade,” he says.

For six months, Bharat’s son studied for the test with the help of Google Go on his dad’s Android phone. He used the application to research topics that would be covered on the exam and spent time on various websites—reading articles, watching videos, and taking quizzes—to review the subjects. He sat for the test in January of this year, and is waiting to hear back. “If he gets into the program, it would mean the world to me,” Bharat says. In the meantime, Bharat encourages other farmers in his community to invest in smartphones. “My hope is that, as farmers, we continue to keep up with the times,” he says, “and use technology to live happier, more secure lives.”

How Bharat does it.

Android (Go edition).

For the first time, with his Android (Go edition) phone, Bharat is able to access the internet. He uses Google Go to keep up with the weather forecast, which allows him to proactively take action to protect his crops from inclement weather.

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Bharat uses YouTube to boost his skills related to crop health and pest prevention, recently warding off a pink bollworm infestation by learning a new method for mixing and spraying pesticides.

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Google Go.

Both Bharat and his sons lean on Google Go and YouTube for education outside of farming. For Bharat, it’s helped him learn about new schooling opportunities for the boys. For his sons, it’s about enriching the topics they need to know on important government tests.

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