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.
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 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.
Information and communication technologies are helpful to
- Increase the awareness and knowledge of farmers about the new technologies in agriculture and allied sectors.
- Increase awareness about the Government programmes and policies.
- Increase the agricultural productivity of the farmers.
- Increase price realization of farm produce at village level.
- Improvement in agricultural extension.
- 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 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.