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e-technology to aid farmers

Greenhouse gases from agriculture account for over ten percent of total emissions globally,
roughly equivalent to the entire global transport sector. Meanwhile, it is estimated that
agricultural production will need to increase by about 70% by 2050 to keep pace with global
population growth. Whats more, the real impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector are
likely going to be hardest felt in many of those countries whose people rely on agriculture most
for their livelihoods. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, for example, some estimates show
a reduction in the productivity of most major food crops as a result of changes to the climate over
the next forty years.
The increasing availability of affordable technologies that have the potential to reduce
greenhouse gases and increase productivity in agriculture. Information and communications
technologies, like the mobile phone, video, and even radio. As mobile phone penetration
rates continue to grow at a rapid rate throughout the globe, farmers now have access to a growing
number of agricultural information services both through SMS and voice. In short, they make it
easier to share locally relevant information on improved techniques and to provide time-specific
information and recommendations such as weather forecasts etc.
In addition to mobile phone services, a low-cost video equipment to create locally made
extension videos to share the stories of farmers who have made the change to more sustainable
practices with their peers in other communities. And not to be outdone, by coupling mobile
phone access with radio access, interactive radio programs can be developed where farmers can
ask their doubts and concerns to an expert having relevant information. This will lead to two way
flow of information and at the same time better assimilation and use of information provided.
Government has taken some steps in this direction and is broadcasting programs in rural areas.
Also doordarshan shows programs such as Krishi Darshan where information related to new
technologies, seeds, irrigation techniques are shown.
Also since penetration of computer and internet is also increasing in rural area it is opening a
completely new dimension of information flow. Private sector can also be involved now to
provide IT solutions and software. This area seems to be most promising as many facilities can
be used like audio video conferencing, instant search on internet , fast access of information etc.
With development of new software and applications it will be easy also to operate and handle
them. This will also provide employment opportunities to youth.
A successful initiative by private sector known as e-Choupal can be mentioned here. It is a
business platform consisting of a set of organizational subsystems and interfaces connecting
farmers to global markets. This common structure can be used to provide products and services
for farmers as producer as well as consumer. The e-Choupal business consists of:
(a) The infrastructure (physical or organizational) through which transaction takes place.
(b) The entity (person or organization) making the transaction.
(c) The geographical coverage.
One e-choupal serves a cluster of five villages. This e-choupal provides free information and
knowledge which ensures wide participation by the farmer. The entity which provides the facility
create revenue through transactions on commission basis.
Of course, the potential impact of ICT on its own is not enough to overcome the very real
climate and food security challenges that our country and in fact world faces over the next
several decades. It is important to remember that while the technologies can be used to support
the transition to more sustainable agricultural practices, they still require someone to create high
quality and relevant content, and someone to pay for the dissemination of that information.
However, there is cause for optimism that just as technology has enabled the rapid spread of
entertainment, it may also facilitate a faster transition to environmentally friendlier forms of
agriculture in the parts of the world that need them most. And while that alone wont solve the
problem, it is certainly a helpful start.

References:1. http://www.e-agriculture.org/blog/how-ict-helping-farmers-and-combatting-climate-
change
2. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
Name: Ayush Rai