An IT revolution in farming

Present era is an era of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is more interactive and can render information as per the need of ultimate users and.
ensures the possibility for quick information gathering,
Present era is an era of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is more interactive and can render information as per the need of ultimate users and ensures the possibility for quick information gathering, processing, transmission, preservation and sharing for social, economical and cultural upliftment. The growth of technologies in the field of communication leads to global spread of knowledge and application which leaves multi-dimensional impact on all spheres of human activity by accelerating the process of information exchange and reducing the cost involved in achieving the ultimate objectives at farmers field. The information and communication technology can render technical services in agriculture and allied sectors, weather information, market information, global information regarding agriculture, state and central agricultural schemes formed for the welfare of the farmers. In the country like India, the use of information and communication technology is in an ascent stage to help the farmers in taking right decisions at right time to carry out their farm operations. The effectiveness of any organisation depends upon several factors, out of which effective communication is one of the most important. Presently the dissemination of the agricultural information is mostly depending on information and communication technologies.
In India many problems like inadequate infrastructure are barrier in initiating information and communication technologies in agriculture and other allied sectors. Mostly the farmers in our country are small and marginal and their economic standard is not so strong to afford the cost of information technologies. Inaccessibility of farmers to information and communication technologies will polarize the knowledge of global society. The information and communication technologies like Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and Wireless in Local-Loop (WLL) are cheaper sources of information infrastructure and this can be a milestone in improving accessibility to new technologies. Now the internet has started to dispatch its services to the farmers through its network, knowledge services and this will help to flow many kinds of agriculture and allied sectors produces from villages to long distances. Internet is emerging as potential tool to access global information and enabling two way communication. In order to exploit the potentiality of Internet, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has formulated Virtual Extension and Research Communication Network (VERCON) to establish within human and institutional elements of agricultural and allied sectors research and extension. Videoconferencing is very helpful for the farmers of far-flung areas to interact with researchers, administrators and policy makers.
In order to provide information and communication technologies in the rural areas, several projects have been implemented on pilot basis. The village knowledge centre run by M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Pudducherry represented an experiment in providing information and knowledge resources to total community on various subjects of education, agriculture, animal husbandry and banking. This project used wireless radio for data and analog voice transmission between semi-urban hub centre and eight village centres. Information and communication technologies have a remarkable impact on agricultural and allied sectors. In order to enlarge the use of technologies for the rural people we need to design products, services and technologies that can solve the farming related problems and ameliorate local social-economic conditions. The lack of focus on rural areas communication, inefficient market for agricultural products, inability of Government in dealing with the natural resources, management to integrate new technology into their operation and badly structure approach towards economic reform in information technology sectors are some of the constraints in transfer of technology to the farmers’ fields. The potentiality of information technology is extensive and needs to be exploited for more personalized services in agriculture and allied sectors. The access of information and communication technologies to the farming community should be increased by reducing the cost of cultivation. Information and communication technologies are helpful to (i) Increase the awareness and knowledge of farmers about the new technologies in agriculture and allied sectors.(ii) Increase awareness about the Government programmes and policies.(iii)Increase the agricultural productivity of the farmers. (iv) Increase price realization of farm produce at village level. (v) Improvement in agricultural extension. (vi) Enable community based organisation to promote income generating activities. Many farmers have developed their own new package and practices and they are proved useful in increasing the agricultural productivity. Most of these technologies remain in local use and are not disseminated globally.
The use of information and communication technologies based measures like video and audio CDs can facilitate the accessibility of these innovations to the farmers who cannot read. Information and communication technologies have largely been understood as the new kind of media and communication development infrastructure which helps in the dissemination of information across distance. The information and communication technologies infrastructure can improve the cost and quality of extension services as the present extension system is severely affected by limited efficient manpower. Competitiveness in the Indian agriculture and allied sectors can trigger higher productivity, higher income and risk management by inducing effective information technology. In order to find out ways for suitable information technology in agriculture, our research organisations need to set some village knowledge centres. Whenever a new sound technology is developed, it should be supplied to village knowledge centre from where it can be used by the farmers. Significant results of agricultural technologies should be shown to the farmers using new communication technologies like multi-media, video-conferencing and internet in their villages to create awareness.