(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Digital
Technology for Capacity-building
Digital Technology for Capacity-building
Communities and farmer organizations can be helped through the use of digital
technology to strengthen their own capacities and better represent their
constituencies when negotiating input and output prices, land claims, resource
rights and infrastructure projects. Digital technology enables rural communities
to interact with other stakeholders, thus reducing social isolation. It widens
the perspective of local communities in terms of national or global
developments, opens up new business opportunities and allows easier contact with
friends and relatives. Digital technology helps in making laws and land titles
more accessible. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) linked to Geographical
Information Systems (GIS), digital cameras and internet, helps rural communities
to document and communicate their situation Rural communities benefit from
better access to credit and rural banking facilities. Recent mobile banking
initiatives offer further scope to reduce costs and stimulate local trade. The
Indian AMUL programme automates milk collection and payments for its 500,000
members, thereby enhancing transparency of the milk volume and quality collected
and ensuring fair payments to farmers.
Digital Technology and Service Delivery:
Huge gap exists between information residing in agricultural knowledge centres
and rural communities. At local level, multi-stakeholder mechanisms are
important to make relevant information accessible to end users. Intermediary
organizations have to connect rural communities to available knowledge. Users
will increasingly want tailor-made, quality answers to their questions. In the
Agricultural Clinics in India, customers get answers within one to two days.
Mobile Q&A services are being piloted in India. At national level, mechanisms
need to be in place to ensure learning and information sharing.
Transforming Rural India:
Digital technology is becoming the facilitator of socio-economic development in
rural India with its obvious facilities by way of health, education, financial
services and employment avenues, etc. Digital technology offering can be
Empowerment: e-Choupal comes up as fine example of empowerment with efficient
supply chain system empowering the farmers with timely and relevant information
enabling them better returns for their produce. Due to its community centric
approach, it gives other offerings also to the farmers’ like insurance and farm
management practices. Aadhar is another such tool, which has empowered the
masses by confirming their identities and is good example of digital technology
solution attempting to provide access to monetary benefits by establishing the
correct identity and this way rural economy is also expanding.
Enablement: The practice of e-governance, which creates transparency and
governance through IT has empowered the citizens. Successful implementation of
e-governance in the areas like maintenance of land records is a big step in
removing the malpractices and creating assurance of rightful ownership.
Market expansion: Indian rural market is going under transformation with better
access to information. With the help of IT, farmers can use the services of FMC
and can get better value for their product. Market expansion with the help of
digital technology can be seen through various examples, like, in the recent
years, the village and heritage tourism in remote areas of the country has
picked up a huge momentum and this has been done on account of awareness being
created by the online portals, attracting more visitors as compared to the past.
Direct connect through e-commerce has facilitated large number of artisans and
agro-based small enterprises in rural areas. Women's livelihood is being
facilitated amongst the weavers’ community in the north eastern states by
marketing their product through the internet medium. In India, ICT applications
such as Warana, Drishtee, e-Chaupal, E-Seva, Lokmitra, E-Post, Gramdoot,
Gyandoot, Tarahaat, Dhan, Akshaya, Honeybee, Praja are quite successful in
achieving their objectives.
e-Extension (eSoil Health card Programme): This is the programme of Deptt.
of Agriculture, Gujarat which aims to analyze the soil of all the villages of
the state and proposes to provide online guidance to farmers on their soil
health condition, fertilizer usage and alternative cropping pattern.
AGRISNET uses state-of-the-art broadband satellite technology to establish the
network within the country.
AGMARKNET is a comprehensive database which links together all the important
agricultural produce markets in the country.
e-KRISHI VIPANAN: It professionalizes and reorganizes the agriculture
trading business of Mandi Board by installing cost effective digital
infrastructure using latest advancement in digital technology by collecting and
delivering real time information online. It makes the operations more effective,
totally transparent, benefiting all stake holders (farmers, traders & the
government), empowering them through accurate and timely information for
effective decision making.
Query Redressal Services: This empowers the farmer community through effective,
need-based interventions. It enhances livelihood promotion of farmer community
through information dissemination and extension services, using digital
technology as a tool. The project helps the farming community by making
available a 10000 plus network of experts to them. Any queries from farmers are
forwarded to the ISAP central office from where it is routed to the relevant
Kisan Call Centres: The sole objective is to make agriculture knowledge
available at free of cost to the farmers as and when desired. Queries related to
agriculture and allied sectors are being addressed through the Kisan Call
Centres, instantly, in the local language by the experts of State departments,
SAUs, ICAR institutions etc. There are call centres for every state which are
expected to handle traffic from any part of the country. SMS using telephone and
computer interact with farmers to understand the problem and answer the queries
at a call centre. The infrastructure is placed at three locations namely-a
professionally managed call centre (level-l), a response centre in each
organization, where services of SMS are made available level-II and the Nodal
Tata Kisan Kendra: The concept of precision farming being implemented by
the TKKs has the potential to catapult rural India from the bullockcart age into
the new era of satellites and IT. TCL’s extension services, brought to farmers
through the TKKs, use remote-sensing technology to analyze soil, inform about
crop health, pest attacks and coverage of various crops predicting the final
output. This helps farmers adapt quickly to changing conditions. The result:
healthier crops, higher yields and enhanced incomes for farmers.
e-Choupal: ITC’s Agri Business Division launched it in June 2000 in which
village internet kiosks managed by farmers called sanchalaks themselves, enable
the agricultural community access ready information in their local language on
the weather & market prices, disseminate knowledge on scientific farm practices
and risk management, facilitate the sale of farm inputs (now with embedded
knowledge) and purchase farm produce from the farmers' doorsteps (decision
making is now information-based).
e-Sagu: The word 'Sagu’ meaning ‘cultivation’ in Telugu language, aims to
improve farm productivity by delivering high quality personalized
(farm-specific) agro-expert advice in a timely manner to each farm at the
farmers door-steps without farmer asking a question. The advice is provided on a
regular basis (typically once a week) from sowing to harvesting which reduces
the cost of cultivation and increases the farm productivity as well as quality
AKASHGANGA: It was established at a time when information technology was
almost unknown in the villages of India. AKASHGANGA’S success demonstrates the
potential of information technology to impact livelihoods in poor, rural
communities and that even illiterate or semiliterate people can adopt lT-based
systems when they see substantial benefits and when the systems are deployed in
purposeful, easy-to-use ways.
Decision Support System for Agro-technology
DSSAT is a software package integrating the effects of soil, crop phenotype,
weather and management options that allows users to ask “what if" questions and
simulate results by conducting, In minutes on a desktop computer, experiments
that would otherwise consume a significant part of an agronomist’s career. The
user can then simulate multi-year outcomes of crop management strategies for
different crops at any location in the world. DSSAT also provides for validation
of crop model outputs, thus allowing users to compare simulated outcomes with
observed results. Crop model validation is accomplished by inputting the user’s
minimum data, running the model then comparing outputs. By simulating probable
outcomes of crop management strategies, DSSAT offers users information with
which to rapidly appraise new crops, products and practices for adoption.
Agricultural Markets: Agricultural Marketing in India has evolved from
being restricted to catering to local demand by having market Yards within the
range of farms to one which now aims to have interconnectivity between markets
of other States to have value dispersion between farms and consumers. Emerging
changes in agriculture marketing environment of the country i.e. electronic
market, model act, warehousing, pledge loan, contract farming etc are ushering
in opportunities for new formats of markets which are effective in responding to
demand and supply. These changes require investment in infrastructure, infusion
Electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is envisioned as a unified
national electronic market bringing lnter-connectivity to markers across the
country. The diffusion of ENAM is through Organizations and intended through
change in policy. The diffusion will be faster if the desired policy changes are
made in the organization followed by change management in organizations.
eNAM for agriculture marketing can be regarded as technology which will bring a
social change in markets. The social change in relationships and networks that
work between buyer and seller as they exist in traditional markets will change
as the technology enabled eNAM is adopted in agricultural markets. Successful
adoption/ diffusion will depend on easing the adoption barriers that can be
categorized as technological and organizational. The eNAM portal launched by the
government in April 2016 has 45.4 lakh farmers and 451 mandies registered on it.
eNAM aims for integration of marketing process and flow of goods to be achieved
by bringing inter connectivity of markets through information technology. The
unified online agricultural market initiatives were launched in Karnataka in
2014. The success of UMP in Karnataka has acted as an innovator for the next
stage of technology innovation in public domain i.e. eNAMY‘fhe early adopters of
eNAM are Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh,
Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Efficient markets require good infrastructure, good
governance and innovationoriented institutions which aims to provide market
information, establish grades and standards, manage risk and create better
opportunity to enhance income and upgrade the existing markets and marketing
system to integrate with National Markets.
Technical and institutional innovations that reduce transaction cost have proven
to be enablers especially the wider use of information technologies mobile
phone, the internet, social networks for vertical coordination arrangements with
farmers or producer organization. Producer organization including agricultural
co-operatives plays an important role in supporting farmers to trade in the
market place and understand the trends in marketing. PO and collective action
can help to enhance armers’ competitiveness and increase their advantage in
emerging marketing system of eNAM. Collaboration between FPO and Private sector
builton their Extension functionaries have a key role to play in engaging
farmers with markets. SWOT analysis of the market, organizing commodity based
farmer’s interest groups and farm management capacity building, backward and
forward linkage, Farmer’s exposure to market intelligence and guidance for a
quality decision about the market. Empowering farmers by linking them to eNAM
information, services and Linkages through Market Led Extension is a long-term
India has proved its strength in Digital technology related activities all over
the world. The Indian Government’s IT task force and the National Working Group
on ”Taking IT to the Masses" and many other private entrepreneurs are working on
how Digital technology can fulfill the needs of rural poor. New creative ways
are being explored by which the communication technologies can help to eradicate
poverty and generate employment in rural India. These efforts can be achieved by
integrating digital technology into local level development planning and work.
The ”National Commission on farmers” (http:// krishakayog.gov.inl) under the
chairmanship of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan had recommended harnessing the benefits of
Digital technology for improving the socio-economic status of rural people by
suggesting the establishment of ”Rural Knowledge Centers” all over the country
using modern Digital technology tools.
The role of Digital technology to enhance food security and support rural
livelihoods is increasingly recognized and was officially endorsed at the World
Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2003-2005. This includes the use of
computers, internet, geographical information systems, mobile phones, as well as
traditional media such as radio or TV.
Awareness of up-to-date market information on prices for commodities, inputs and
consumer trends can improve farmers’ livelihoods substantially and have a
dramatic impact on their negotiating position. Such information is instrumental
in making decisions about future crops and commodities and about the best time
and place to sell and buy goods. Simple websites to match offer and demand of
agricultural produce are a start of more complex agricultural trade systems.
These sites tend to evolve from local selling/buying websites and
price-information systems, to systems offering marketing and trading functions.
It is a known fact that information to sustain and increase agricultural
production is spread over different agencies, notably farmers, universities,
research institutes, extension services, commercial enterprises, and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, this knowledge is often poorly
documented or hard to access. In India, organizations attempt to capture local
knowledge, such as in the Honey Bee programme, if the information does not
exist, intermediary organizations can help to generate it, make it accessible
and influence research agendas. The Tele-Support project collects farmers’
questions, repackage answers from local research institutes and universities on
video and in local language, store online (www.telesupport.org) and send
feedback into the local community.