“Reduce the physical moves,
Boost the technological boons”
Obviously, a need for paradigm change! The more we lead ourselves to the technology, the more we find our life changing in a new direction. In this modern era, information and communication technology has been an indispensable part of our life. It is the time that, we couldn’t spend more than an hour without our cell phone. On the other hand, we have to fulfill our basic needs in this competitive era. The number of mouths is increasing day by day and the resources are being over-exploited. So, here comes, “Agriculture” to flourish in it’s part to feed increasingly populated world. Most of the developed countries are very forward in this regard. But, developing countries like Nepal are lagging behind. It’s not possible if we limit agriculture only in culture. “Information and Communication Technology” plays a critical role in this regard.
Definitely, Agriculture, which has been regarded only as a traditional occupation, is changing into an attractive opportunity for the youths to create a dynamic business path. Newspapers, mobile SMS services, radio talk programs, smart phone applications, all come under the group of ICTs. Information is the most critical requirement for effective risk mitigation and farmers require a lot of information to make choices to manage risk. In Nepal, ICTs are helping to increase the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of small scale farms, providing up-to-date information on prices, access to credit and training as well as the ability to interact with other farmers. Technological innovations are revolutionizing the agribusiness sector. Impact of ICT in Agriculture Value Chains is diverse and it influences the market competitiveness in different ways. Agricultural professionals are more and more concerned with the potential uses of ICT for rural development, while these tools are becoming popular among young people. ICTs have been an innovative platform for the knowledge sharing and networking regarding development of agriculture globally, which would certainly help in sustainable development and global food security.
As mentioned earlier, ICTs have always mattered in agriculture. In Nepal, ICTs have shown evidences for easier access to market and information resources. The role of ICTs to stimulate agriculture, enhance food security and support rural livelihoods is increasingly recognized officially at the “World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)” (2003-2005). Videos for sharing information, SMS for accessing the market prices, frontline SMS for collecting information, really help in leading agriculture in an innovative and fruitful way. Concerning on women in Nepal, ICT can change the traditional equilibrium in a family, making women independent from their husbands. ICT is changing the lives of women and family farmers in Nepal. In today’s scenario of Nepal, Nepalese agriculture has been more benefited through ICT. Apps like Smart Krishi, Krishi Ghar, IFA-Krishi Nepal, radio programs like Krishi Karyakram, Li-BIRD ko chautari, printed media as Krishakko Pana are becoming popular. Similarly, KIssan Call Centre, Agri Youth Nepal (AYN), YPARD (Young Professionals Platform for Agricultural Research and Development) are playing crucial role for helping famers to improve farming systems on the one hand and awaring youths, sharing ideas and motivating farmers on the other hand. It is the matter of pride that, Agriculture Category became winner in Ncell App Camp. In this regard, ICT has been a boon in developing countries like Nepal.
Comparing and contrasting ICT and other related services that are helping to develop the agriculture as a major theme, ICT has been proved as a powerful tool in this modern century. It has been most appropriate tool for faster and easier dissemination of information whereas other extension services are being traditional and inconvenient as per time. But, all of these help in flow of information. While the positive impacts are discussed, still many rural farmers don’t have access or the capacity to use ICT. Moreover, it can be difficult to determine whether the appropriate tool now will persist in being the appropriate tool in the future or not. To reduce the drawbacks, we should concern that how this digital revolution is impacting and how the institutions and development actors are concerning for the future actions. A robust relationship between Government of Nepal, youths, related national and international agencies, farmers, stakeholders and all concerned authorities could ultimately facilitate for the promotion of this innovative sector.
In conclusion, as ICT is the most promising tool to uproot orthodoxy of Nepalese agriculture system by leading agriculture in an innovative way, it has a great role to play in agricultural development, food security and rural development. And, agriculture wouldn’t be limited only in culture rather, would be a modern way of life for farmers, cool opportunity for young people and Nepal, as a feeding source for millions and billions of people residing in the lap of mother earth.
“Smart Agriculture for Smarter Nepal”
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