By Dr. Mohinder Prashar
For the last couple of years, we have been witnessing the critical role that Information and communication technology is playing in our lives. Keeping pace with the latest technology, Indian Agriculture sector is also, slowly and steadily, aligning itself to be more farmer-oriented and friendly. With mobile apps, e-portals and other popular technologies, ICT has brought technological advancements which involve the smart and innovative ways in agriculture. In this blog post, I have talked about some of these observations.
What is ICT?
Essentially, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is used as an overarching term incorporating all modes of transmission like electronic devices, networks, mobiles, services and applications (Source) which help to disseminate information with the help of technology. In the recent years, ICT has proved to be extremely beneficial for farmers including small land holders, marginalized and poor farmers, and helped them in marketing, precision farming and improved profits. Through ICT, farmers have been empowered to exchange their opinions, experiences and ideas. It has given farmers more exposure and allowed them to use science that looks at agriculture from an integrated perspective (Source). Also, e-Agriculture is one of the action lines identified in the declaration and plan of action of the World Summit on the Information Society (Source). E-agriculture has the potential to put India on the higher pedestal of ’Second Green Revolution’ by making Indian agricultural sector self-sufficient.
Availability of timely information and technology has proved very crucial in areas like disease prevalence and drought management thereby helping the farmers not only in avoiding crop loss but also thwarting economic loss, this raised the demand of planning and making strategies that could equip farmers with various information rights from sowing seeds to harvesting. And, ICT has now become a reliable instrument for improving the quantity and quality of the agricultural production.
The efforts of the Government in the area of ICT have escalated the living standard of Indian farmers and made them ICT-friendly, which has resulted in increased penetration of useful information about crops, soils, climate and cultivation processes. Several measures have been taken for encouraging Indian farmers to be more ICT-friendly, which include e-choupal, e-krishi , e-aid and many more. And, numerous mobile applications have also been launched by the Government of India for the same including Mandi trades, Mpower social , kisan suvidha, Crop Insurance, agri market and MKisan Application.
The need of marketing agricultural produce at competitive prices will change the farmers’ attitude towards ICT. And, thus this new technology will help and contribute more in sustaining the Indian agriculture (Source).