Role of ICT's in transforming agricultural community
Authors: Palve Gajanand1, Ashokkumar2 and D.Karthik3
1,2, Ph.D. Scholars Division of Agricultural extension, National Dairy Research Institute (N.D.R.I), Karnal, Haryana,
3, Ph.D. Scholar Division of Agricultural extension, SRS, National Dairy Research Institute, (N.D.R.I) Adugodi, Bengaluru
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ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications medium such as the radio, television, cell phone, computers, satellite technology; internet including email, instant messaging, video conferencing and social networking websites which have made it possible for users across the world to communicate with each other to give users quick access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. The use of ICT in agriculture ranges from advanced modern technologies, such as GPS navigation, satellite communication, and wireless connectivity, to older technologies such as radio and television.

However, the rural people still lack basic communication infrastructure in accessing crucial information in order to make timely decisions. The application of ICT in agriculture generates possibilities to solve problems of rural people and also to promote the agricultural production by providing scientific information timely and directly to farmers. Here are some benefits of ICT in agriculture.

Over the last 10 - 15 years, ICT has changed the way the world works, plays, communicates and shops. Many of these changes are seen the world over, some are restricted to more advanced countries. These changes have been so pervasive that it is hard to remember what the world was like without them.

Agriculture is an important sector with the majority of the rural population in developing countries depending on it. The sector faces major challenges of enhancing production in a situation of dwindling natural resources necessary for production. The growing demand for agricultural products, however, also offers opportunities for producers to sustain and improve their livelihoods. Information and communication technologies play an important role in addressing these challenges and uplifting the livelihoods of the rural poor.

Introduction of mobile phones has brought about a tremendous change in agriculture sector resulting into dramatic improvement in the efficiency and profitability of the agriculture industry. The spread of mobile phone service allow farmer to land their product timely and directly to the market where wholesalers are ready to purchase them without presence of middle man. This situation reduced waste from between 5-8 per cent of total product to close to zero and increased average profitability by around 8 per cent.

Radio and television has been another input in communication technology used widely by many farmers, they have been used by farmers, entrepreneurs, extension workers and other stake holders to disseminate information on various innovation in agricultural technology.

The internet is also an emerging tool with potential to contribute in agriculture sector and in rural development. Internet enables rural communities stay up to date and to receive information about the market and other necessary information in the industry. Internet can facilitate dialogue among communities and help to share information between government planners, development agencies, researchers, and technical experts.

Advantage of ICT in Agriculture:

The benefits of ICTs for increased agricultural productivity and strengthening the Agricultural sector include timely and updated information on agriculture related issues such as new varieties release, emergence of new threats such as diseases, weather forecast, pricing control, warning alerts etc.

ICT in enhancing agricultural productivity:

  • Understanding and addressing global agriculture developments both advantageous and disadvantages are critical to improving smallholder livelihoods, in which ICT can play a major role.
  • The continued increase in globalization and integration of food markets has intensified competition and efficacy in the agriculture sector, and has brought unique opportunities to include more smallholders into supply chains.
  • Agriculture faces a range of modern and serious challenges, particularly in developing countries exposed to price shocks, climate change, and continued deficiencies in infrastructure in rural areas.
Use of ICT in Agriculture:

  • Increasing efficiency, productivity and sustainability of small scale farms.
  • Information about pest and disease control, especially early warning systems, new varieties, new ways to optimize production and regulations for quality control.
  • Better of markets resulting from informed decisions about future crops and commodities and best time and place to sell and buy goods.
  • Up-to-date market information on prices for commodities, inputs and consumer trends.
  • Strengthen capacities and better representation of their constituencies when negotiating input and output prices, land claims, resource rights and infrastructure projects.
  • Reduce social isolation, widen the perspective of local communities in terms of national or global developments, open up new business opportunities and allow easier contact with friends and relatives.

Farmers now need information about trend and technology needed in farming so as to produce more and participate effectively in setting price of their product. To make all this possible huge utilization of ICT must be taken as the first priority

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