Thursday, December 30, 2010

IT and Indian Agriculture in the Future

IT and Indian Agriculture in the Future


Technologically it is possible to develop suitable systems, as outlined in the
previous sections, to cater to the information needs of Indian farmer. User friendly systems,
particularly with content in local languages,  can generate interest in the farmers and others
working at the grassroots. It is possible to create dedicated networks or harness the power of
Internet to make these services are available to all parts of the country.
The task of creating application packages and databases to cater to complete
spectrum of Indian agriculture is a giant task. The Long Term Agriculture Policy provides an
exhaustive list of all the areas that are to be covered. This can be taken as a guiding list to evolve
design and develop suitable systems catering to each of the specified areas. Our country has the
advantage of having a large number of specialised institutions in place catering to various
aspects of Indian agriculture. These institutions can play a crucial role in designing the
necessary applications & databases and services. This will facilitate modularisation of the task,
better control and help in achieving quick results. As it is, several institutions have already
developed systems related to their area of specialisation.
For quick results, it may be useful to get the applications outsourced to software
companies in India. This will facilitate quick deployment of applications and provide boost to the
software industry in India. In order to avoid duplication of efforts,  it may be useful to consider
promoting a coordinating agency which will have an advisory role to play in evolving standard
interface for users, broad design and monitoring of the progress.
In the post WTO regime, it is suggested that it is useful to focus more on some
agricultural products to maintain an unquestionable competitive advantage for exports. This will
call for urgent measures to introduce state of the art technologies such as remote sensing,
geographical information systems (GIS), bio-engineering, etc. India has made rapid strides in
satellite technologies.  It is possible to effectively monitor agricultural performance using remote
sensing and GIS applications. This will not only help in planning, advising and monitoring the
status of the crops but also will help in responding quickly to crop stress conditions and natural
calamities. Challenges of crop stress, soil problems, natural disasters can be tackled effectivelythrough these technologies. A beginning in precision farming can be encouraged in larger tracts
of land in which export potential can be tilted in our country’s favour.
While developing these systems it is necessary to appreciate that major audience
that is targeted is not comfortable with computers. This places premium on user friendliness and
it may be useful to consider touch screen technologies to improve user comfort levels. It is often
observed that touch screen kiosks, with their intuitive approach, provide  a means for quick
learning and higher participation. It is also necessary to provide as much content as possible in
local languages.
Once the required application packages & databases are in place,  a major
challenge is with respect to dissemination of the information. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras, NGOs
and cooperative societies may be used to set up information kiosks. Private enterprise is also
required to be drawn into these activities. These kiosks should provide information on other areas
of interest such as education, information for which people have to travel distances such as those
related to the government, courts, etc. Facilities for email, raising queries to experts, uploading
digital clips to draw the attention of experts to location specific problems can be envisaged.

0 comments:

Post a Comment