The rate of commercialization in Agriculture in Nepal hasn’t propelled. I think the problem lies not in our ideas but our techniques, not in lack of market but lack of market information. Both of these problem that has been atrophying the growth of Agribusiness in Nepal as a glamorous enterprise, can be head on tackled by the use of ICT.
First of all the correct assessment of a farm business plan is a must. Far too often we see youths plunging into actions without realistic goals, appropriate scale and definite set of action plan. The use of ICT at this stage can mean all the difference between an enterprise taking off and falling flat. The information, success stories, production records and market demands can help the entrepreneur make a successful assessment of his conditions, and that will help him set targets that he can achieve, choose the production technique that suits his scale or the efficient changes that can be made at his capital. This forms a solid bed to launch a farm business.
ICT in this regard not only enables him/her to choose a better production strategy but also allows to troubleshoot any problems that might occur during the production process and the communication, contacts made with people in similar works within and outside the country through SNS and internet will really be an important factor in the sustainability of the enterprise and hunting of new markets.
Once the desired production is achieved the focus lies on minimizing post-harvest loss and marketing. The amount of research that is currently being done under post-harvest loss fascinating. So with ICT they can regularly update their practice.
In the world of business nothing is asprecious as market information. And for far too long the market information has stayed with the businessmen and middlemen and the farmers have remained as price-takers, which probably is the chief reason why the majority of Nepalese farmers are poor. Now all that changes with the entry of ICT as farmers can search or even ask by telephone what the market value is and then decide the wholesale rates. This makes them immune from the middlemen of Nepalese markets who are notorious for ripping off huge chunks of profit out of Nepalese farmers. Of course the middlemen aren’t the evil beings that everyone make them to be, they are equally important forming the vital chain from fields to markets as farmer cannot effectively perform the dual role of production and distribution themselves. ICT empowers farmers thereby balancing the farmer-middlemen relationship. ICT can even enable these middlemen to effectively decide the fate of products they bought, by navigation of markets within and abroad through internet so as to fetch the highest price and advances in storage/transportation practices concern them equally.
Very often the use of ICT in Nepalese rural context had been passed down as joke as they believed that ICT is futile to the illiterate majority of rural Nepal but the recent advances on the mobile devices and the development of apps like Smart Krishiand its usefulness has proved them otherwise. Beside ICT doesn’t only mean high tech devices and navigating through English-internet pages, it could be as simple as a telephone conversation with a fellow farmer, extension worker or a specialist.
With the demand for foods ever rising and the farming getting easier, glamorous and profitable each day, now seems like the perfect time to start an Agro-enterprise with the power of ICT in the pocket.
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