Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) for good dairy farming practices (GDFP)
Authors: Dr. H R Meena A. P.Verma and Mukesh Kumar

Good Agricultural Practice for dairy farmers is about implementing sound practices on dairy farms collectively called Good Dairy Farming Practice (GDFP). These practices must ensure that the milk and milk products produced are safe and suitable for their intended use, and also that the dairy farm enterprise is viable into the future from the economic, social and environmental point of view. Most importantly, dairy farmers are in the business of producing food for human consumption so they must be confident in the safety and quality of the milk they produce. Good dairy farming practice underpins the production of milk that satisfies the highest expectations of the food industry and consumers. The international framework to ensure the safety and suitability of milk and milk products is contained in the Codex Recommended International Code of Practice -General Principles of Food Hygiene (CAC/RCP 1- 1969, Rev. 4, 2003) together with the Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Milk and Milk Products (CAC/RCP 57-2004).

Extension approaches in our country now shifted from grow more to earn more and to manage this change extension is now becoming more diversified, technology intensive, knowledge oriented and more demand-driven. This requires the extension workers at the cutting edge level to be master of so many trades, which is neither practicable nor possible. The extension agents must be more effective in meeting the information needs of farmers and communicating with them accordingly (GoI, 2007). The existing communication tools and techniques must be utilized with value additions in different combinations by both extension agents and farmers for faster dissemination and feedback of information in the context at which they can access and use information. Though Musa (2011) has classified the challenges for disseminating agricultural information through ICT’s, the same categories holds good otherwise. The challenges or constraints are classified into Socio-economic challenges, cultural challenges, technical constraints and constraint of the method itself. Though, there is “no thumb rule” for use of different methods in effective dissemination of information, an attempt is emphasized that extension professionals must be more imaginative and forecasting as far as innovations in development and use of innovative communication tools. There is huge gap in technology adoption by the farmers between what is available with research institutions and what is being practiced by the farmers. This may be attributed to various constraints faced by extension system among which human resource constraint is one which can be clearly understood from extension worker per farmer ratio of 1:700-800 in India. Hence, the system needs to reorient itself to perform demand driven agricultural and allied extension service to farmers. Mass communication methods and technologies like ICT’s as one of the solutions has been accepted globally as the engine of economic growth. The communication methods & tools, if used appropriately have tremendous potential to improve agricultural production scenario in the socio-economic development of the country.

Farming communities needed extension services for Training, farm Business Advisory, Technology Demonstration, information, Education and Communication of innovations. E-Extension can be defined simply as the use of electronic technologies (especially ICT) to enhance face-to-face (f2f) and paper-based transactions. These technologies can be as simple as teleconferences or as complex as wikis and blogs. ( e-Extension, is a collaboratively built Internet‐based learning environment delivering sound, science‐based information on a 24/7/365 basis.

e-Extension define as the electronic delivery of extension service is a network of institutions that provide a more efficient alternative to a traditional extension system for agriculture, animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries and natural resources sectors. It maximizes the use of information and communication technology to attain a modernized agriculture and livestock sector. It focuses on creating an electronic and interactive bridge where farmers, livestock owners and other stakeholders meet and transact to enhance productivity, profitability and global competitiveness.

e-Extension facilitate the following services;

  • Credible expertise
  • Reliable answers based upon sound research
  • Connections to the best minds in the universities
  • Creative solutions to today's complex challenges
  • Customized answers to your specific needs
  • Trustworthy, field-tested data
  • Dynamic, relevant and timely answers
E-extension is unlike any other search engine or information-based website. It's a space where university content providers can gather and produce new educational and information resources on wide-ranging topics. Because it's available to students, researchers, clinicians, professors, as well as the general public, at any time from any Internet connection, E-extension helps solve real-life problems in real time.

Effective e-Extension help farmers-producers in adopting Good Dairy Farming Practices through:

· Building capacities and skill of dairy farmers in order to empower them to adopt good dairy farming practices for improving their production while reducing risk.

· Assisting dairy farmers to make best use of the ICT tools in their production practices.

· Providing timely updated information and market related information such as demand- supply and price.

· Promoting producer organizations to facilitate a platform for value chain and improve the production and profitability of the farmers.

Major components of E- extension

• Major three comments of e-Extension are

(1) e-Learning (Online, offline, blended courses and Digital learning resources)-Various courses are developed and specifically designed for agricultural extension workers and farmers

· Courseware developers come from partner agencies under the Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology and ICAR institutes, University,

· All courses were pre-tested and assessed by experts on agricultural and social technologies and by experts on distance learning.

· Digital learning resources are available for supplemental learning (web-based, pdf and video tutorials in YouTube.

(2) e-Farming - Technical advisory services on agriculture and animal husbandry technologies, Technical Assistance to rural-based organizations and Agricultural marketing

Services for stakeholders. (3) e-Trading-Online Trading, Micro-financing and Agricultural marketing services.


Some initiative on e-Extension services in India

1. Bhoomi project

It is e-governance project of the Government of Karnataka. Under this project 20 million land records of 6.7 million land owners in 176 taluks of Karnataka have been computerized. Total transparency in land records administration with added advantage of security and reliability. Based on the overwhelming success of Bhoomi project, computerization of land records are now made mandatory for all the states in India.

2. E-Choupal-Initiative of ITC Ltd.

e-Choupal link rural farmers directly for the procurement of agricultural / aquaculture produce like soya, coffee, and prawns etc. In this system role of the middleman is eliminated. The principle function of e-Choupal is to inform, empower and improve their decision making ability. There are 26,500 e-Choupal today covering 100,000 villages in 15 states, servicing 15 million farmers.

3. a-AQUA: Initiative of IIT Bombay

a-AQUA is an online multilingual, multimedia agricultural portal for disseminating information from and to the grassroots of the Indian agricultural community. a-AQUA (almost all questions answered) is a farmer-expert Q & A database supporting Indian languages . a-AQUA helps in integrating multiple databases-farmer, kiosk operator, expert and other user database, Q & A database, farmer feedback data, farmer schemes data, Price Information database, Crop Recommendations database, Crop Disease Images database and Q&A translations database.

4. NDRI, Messaging portal

A web enable NDRI Messaging service portal were developed. This portal is based on software to send the SMS (text and voice) from the computer to the respondent’s mobile phone. This software will keep the record of messages, farmers and message history. This software is designed in ASP.Net 4.0 using C# language. Database is designed using SQL Server 2008. NDRI Messaging portal was launched on 7

th October 2014 on the occasion of Progressive Dairy Farmers meet in the presence of Dr. R S Paroda, Chairman Haryana Kisan Ayog and Ex DG ICAR, Dr. A K Srivastava, Director, NDRI, and other invited dignitaries’ and around 125 progressive dairy farmers across the country. Since launching the NDRI Massing portal every week 2 SMS are being send to the respondents on different aspects of dairy farming after scrutinized by the expert committee constitute by the competent authority.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently working as Senior Scientist in Dairy Extension Division, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001 Haryana (India). I have also worked with ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243122 Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh (India) as Scientist for 10 year. Also a recipient of the ICAR’s prestigious "The Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Outstanding Extension Scientist Award" in Social science.