Last year, i visited a place where tomato was cultivated. There i saw many sorts of diseases and abnormality. Then i started to search about it. I searched on Google, youtube weikipedia and so many online sites hard to mention over here. There i found a suitable applicable cheap and effective method of to control many diseases like blight, powdery mildew, wilt etc. Leaf blight control by the use of copper wire or a coin was the one I liked and practiced at my home. And the technique I found and applied (though i dont have result yet) i shared it to my friends through my blog and facebook. The point I want to conclude here is that, was there no internet, (ICT) neither I would be able to know the techniques nor I could have shared it with my friends. That’s the reason where ICT is necessary in agriculture.
Information and communication technology, shortly known as ICT works as anextension media, sharing different useful things from person of one corner to another. It works as a bridge between those who know and those who want to know. And agriculture is that subject where communucation between knowers and learners is crucial. In context of Nepal, apps like “smart krishi” are developed which provides a suitable platform for efficient agricultural practice for those who have access to internet connection. Now we have solution to many problems in our pocket. Many family now have at least one member who knows how to use internet and if not at least someone in neighbor. And smart phones are in reaching each pocket day by day.
New technology, new methods of cultivation, new practices, new idea, new variety, new this new that is arising everyday in agriculture. And those new things, if not passed to farmers, what is the point in their introduction and development? And ICT is necessary for the dissemination of those new ideas, tell people that improved and efficient technology exists and encourage them in using this technology.
Nepal is a agricultural country which imports more than 60℅ of the agricultural products. That is a very un-prideful thing to say being an agriculturist. 🙁 In the world, there are many developed countries who produce 10, 12 tons of rice per hectare, and I have to say its possible in Nepal as well, the only thing we need is communication between who are producing 10 tons and those who are trying for that. And that’s the field of ICT to work on.
Now a day the situation is better, there are online newspaper just for agriculture, journals in agriculture, and organizationworking in agriculture and so on. Even if the newspaper doesn’t reach Humla,Jumla, Manang, Mustang, (remote areas of Nepal), Facebook, online patrika sure does. And these social media can be effictively utilized in circulating the information.
These people who are producing potato in humla, apple in mustang, rice in terai and low hills etc should be able to know about the world’s trend, practice of cultuvation, amount of fertilizer etc without travelling for 2days and one night. For this reason ICT should work powerfully in agriculture sector to extend the news from one place to another in no time. A circle between farmers, ICTians, researchers and high producres should be made in waves, farmers should come to professional through wave and methods of disease control,and pest control etc. should reach the farmer through waves. By waves here, i mean the fastest and cheapest means of communication i.e internet. Though farmers’don’t have easy access to internet, the agriculture professional working in their area sure does.
Merits of ICT in agriculture:-
- Farmers (especially small ones) often face problems like poor soils, drought, erosion and pests. Key areas where ICT can help improve this is by providing up-to-date information about pest and disease control, new varieties, new ways to optimize production and regulations for quality control.
- Sometimes farmer might face new disease and pests in their field, but that pest might not be new to the whole world. Some solution might already exist in some corner of the world. And that can be known through communication and information shearing.
- As agriculture is nature dependent system, farmers can plan their work according to weather forecasted for upcoming days. That was efficient management of irrigation, fertilization weeding can be done.
Tough ICT seems to be very facinating technology and looks awesome, misleading and misuse of this opportunity can be very harmful in the internet, anybody can upload media and edit them. Sometimes unauthorized and inaccurate message might flow to the learner and production may fall. So in e-agriculture a reliable source for information sharing media should be authorized.
Demerits of present ICT:-
No good thing exists in the world without having some demerits. When we have something, we should risk something for it. So is ICT. Some of the risks in agriculture are
- No filtration of articles. Sometimes can be unreliable in case of online article.
- All people dont have access to internet and also daily newspaper
- Privacy is hard to maintain while using internet
- Language might be the problem sometimes
- Where there is no internet, urgent information can’t be circulated.
How can ICT be used effectively used to promote agriculture?
Things are good when they are used efficiently. Medicine is good but too much of it is sickness. ICT works in same principle. We have to use it in wise manner to have good results.
- Sharing the research results, ones idea and some efficient methods of cultivation and management through social media and make sure the technology is effective.
- Internet being very cheap source of communication, making a good link between professionals and performers
- Online research for problems and solutions
- Reading agricultural news in newspaper.
- If access to internet, YouTube might be the best solution of problems.
Hence, to conclude, ICT has both positive and negative aspect in agriculture. But if effectively used, it can be used as an effective tool to enhance the production and productivity in context of Nepalese agriculture. ICT helps to build a strong network between people in all the corners. Gathering ideas from many different places might arise a solution for lot of unmanaged problems.