Agricultural extension is considered to be the main vehicle in transporting the valuable pieces of advises to the farming community. However, the pace of delivery can be increased by incorporating Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Extending and receiving desired information within less fraction of time has become priority and need of the hour particularly in this era of agricultural intensification. In fact, common farmers now want quick advisory services with less mobility. So, ICTs can be the appropriate solution in order to speed up the process of agricultural technology transfer. Moreover, extension services can be improved with the proper use of ICTs and help in poverty alleviation, combating food insecurity issue and exchange of agriculture innovations, reaching majority of the farmers at regional and global level. Relevant review of literature was adopted as desk research for this study. The crux of the reviewed literature revealed that the new nexus between extension and ICTs will lead to impact oriented extension and advisory services and feeding the million mouths.
Information and communication technology (ICT) has always mattered in agriculture. Ever since people have grown crops, raised livestock, and caught fish, they have sought information from one another. Today, ICT represents a tremendous opportunity for rural populations to improve productivity, to enhance food and nutrition security, to access markets, and to find employment opportunities in a revitalized sector. ICT has unleashed incredible potential to improve agriculture, and it has found a foothold even in poor smallholder farms. ICT in Agriculture, Updated Edition is the revised version of the popular ICT in Agriculture e-Sourcebook, first launched in 2011 and designed to support practitioners, decision makers, and development partners who work at the intersection of ICT and agriculture. Our hope is that this updated Sourcebook will be a practical guide to understanding current trends, implementing appropriate interventions, and evaluating the impact of ICT interventions in agricultural programs.
Updated version 2017
Future Extension and Advisory Services (EAS) needs to strategize convergence of big data with disruptive technologies such as mobile/cloud computing, Internet of Things, location-based social networks etc. Dr Shaik N Meera presents a framework to exploit these developments to strengthen EAS provision in this blog.
In the last few decades, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have provided immense opportunities for the social and economic development of rural people, and some technologies have surpassed others. Mobile telephony is one such technology that has developed significantly in the past few years, and the subscription rate in developing countries has gone up from 22 per 100 inhabitants in 2005 to 91.8 per 100 inhabitants in 2015. Mobile technology goes beyond geographic, socio-economic, and cultural barriers and this large increase in mobile subscriptions, along with the recent roll out of 3G and 4G technology, can play a big role in the development of rural people.
Improved availability of, and access to, information and communication technologies (ICTs) – especially mobile phones, computers, radio, internet, and social media – has provided many more opportunities for collection, processing, storage, retrieval, managing, and sharing of information in multiple formats. Some of these applications, such as tele-centres, web-portals, call centres, mobile apps, community radio, digital videos, audio and video conferencing, and e-learning platforms, have the potential to provide a wide range of services (information, awareness, promotional, advisory, knowledge, technology transfer, training, education, and much more) to farmers and other agricultural innovation system (AIS) actors in a timely, comprehensive, cost-effective, and interactive manner. However, the high number and rapidly changing availability of ICTs may leave extension managers confused as to which methods are available and when to use them. This note explains how to navigate the many types and gives tips on when to use them.
Social media refers to the web-based tools and media that allow users to personally and informally interact, create, share, retrieve, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Social media includes social networking sites, blogs and microblogs, online forums, discussion boards and groups, wikis, socially integrated text messaging services, videos and podcasts, and many more. Rural advisory services (RAS) have seen enormous changes in the 21st Century that require interaction among multiple stakeholders ‒ public, private, and non-profit – and learning to take collective action. These services have been called upon to be less ‘top-down’ and more interactive, and social media can be a potentially powerful tool in this regard. With increasing reach among rural people, especially the youth, through increasing mobile phone subscriptions and decreasing data tariffs, social media can help RAS to reach farmers more efficiently.
Agriculture is the largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for the majority of the world’s poorest people. As the backbone of many developing country economies, agricultural development becomes synonymous with global development. Research and development efforts to improve agriculture have been ongoing for nearly a century, but with new and ever-changing global challenges, agriculturists need to be equipped with the right information to tackle those challenges. Through advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs), most of the information needed is available on the internet. But the sheer volume and uncertainty about accuracy makes getting correct and credible information very difficult. Web portals aim to resolve this situation. They are specially designed single access points to information collected from diverse sources.
Radio is considered one of the oldest information technologies, and is one of the most popular in the developing world, partly due to its accessibility and affordability. While many rural people own a radio, those who do not may access programming through family, friends, or neighbours. Traditionally, radio has been seen as a one-way communication tool, providing information, news, and entertainment to listeners. However, when integrated with other communication tools (such as mobile phones) it can serve as a two-way platform for dialogue, to further discussions about topics that interest listeners, and to create entertaining and interactive programmes. For farmers, radio has the potential to help connect them to technical specialists, policy-makers, other farmers, suppliers, or buyers. Radio, and particularly participatory, demand-driven radio programming as a tool for extension, complements existing agricultural information systems that emphasise interaction among stakeholders (farmers, public and private knowledge brokers, market actors, researchers, policy-makers, the financial sector, etc.) where no single actor is the expert. More so, radio programmes in vernacular languages provide new communication channels and space for dialogue for communities in more remote areas, or of varying literacy levels.
This Handbook provides a step-by-step roadmap designed to equip aspiring ICT entrepreneurs, with the information and knowledge they need to start an ICT-based business in the agricultural sector, outlining key opportunities and challenges that will be encountered along the way. Using real-life examples, it provides strategies and pathways for averting common mistakes faced by early-stage entrepreneurs. Topics covered include agricultural value chains and their stakeholders, ICT business challenges, eff ective business plans and models for designing, funding and scaling ventures.
This publication showcases a few case studies where innovative use of emerging technologies together with capacity development has brought about rich dividends. Digital Green’s experiences in knowledge sharing among rural communities to Nano Ganesh’s innovative use of technology in switching on irrigation pumps have the potential to contribute significantly to the livelihoods of farming communities.
This book chapter describes how to utilise the learning principles derived from cognitive psychology for designing multimedia training modules
Participatory Radio Campaigns (PRCs) were developed by Farm Radio International as a way to help farmers learn about, evaluate, and introduce new agricultural practices that they are interested in trying. With training and facilitation support from Farm Radio International, selected radio stations work closely with farmers and farmer organizations, agricultural extension and advisory services, researchers and others to carefully plan and deliver a four-six month radio campaign. During the PRC, farmers are able to explore, exchange knowledge, gain information and share experiences with a new agricultural practice that can improve their family’s food security. Lively and entertaining, PRCs feature the voices, stories and perspectives of ordinary farmers through a mix of radio formats, including panel discussions, vox pops, village debates, phone-in shows, mini-dramas and music. Farmers provide feedback and are involved in monitoring and evaluating the PRCs throughout. New Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as cell phones, MP3 players, interactive voice response systems, and bulk SMS messaging systems are linked with radio to boost the interactivity, reach and accessibility of PRCs.
This sourcebook is meant to equip development and communication professionals with a useful set of guidelines, reference materials and learning resources to apply communication in rural development initiatives. The main goal is to enable readers to design and implement rural communication strategies combining participatory methods with communication processes, media and tools best suited for a specific situation.
Radio is a powerful communication tool. Experience with rural radio has shown the potential for agricultural extension to benefit from both the reach and the relevance that local broadcasting can achieve by using participatory communication approaches. The importance of sharing information locally and opening up wider information networks for farmers is explored with reference to the specific example of vernacular radio programmes based on research on soil and water conservation. This paper describes this specific experience in the context of rural radio as a tool for agricultural extension and rural development, with reference to the dramatically changing technology environment that is currently influencing information and communication processes worldwide. The implications for policy makers of harnessing rural radio to improve agricultural extension are also discussed.
African Farm Radio Research Initiative How ICTs are changing rural radio in Africa
Of the world’s 1 billion plus poor, seventy-five percent live in rural areas and most of these people depend on agriculture to survive. Enhancing farmers’ and agricultural workers’ livelihoods is therefore a key element in addressing global poverty. While farmers are faced by many problems, three are regularly cited as amongst the most important, namely: 1) access to credit, 2) access to better market prices, and 3) access to credible, relevant information.
In terms of information access, there has been increasing attention given to the potential of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to better connect farmers with the information they need. ICT has the capacity to dramatically expand communication between people and to improve access to information (and money). The question has been how can this promise of ICT be realistically harnessed to help the world’s rural agricultural poor?
Information Communication Technology (ICT) has tremendous power to strengthen our Agricultural Extension efforts. However, many ICT efforts are unsuccessful as they neglect elements that help build success. Use “AID” (Awareness, Interest, Doable) to evaluate your ICT program.
A MEAS factsheet
Though the farming community struggles hard to get the best out of crop production, price realization is in the hands of other market players’ viz., traders and commission agents. The farmers seldom get accurate information about local markets or the preferences of the end-consumers. This information asymmtricity will cultivate opportunistic behavior of traders resulting in meager profit margins and uncertain farm profitability on the producers’ side. Hence the market information should reach the farmers so as to make needed and quicker decisions so as to supply the commodities where they could get better prices. To bridge the information divide, new and advanced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools such as Computers, Internet and Mobile phones have tremendous potential to facilitate information transfer to farming community. In this context, the present study documents the impact of mobile market advisory services among the users in Tamil Nadu.