Category: Blog Entries
#Blog Entry: 8″ICTs in Nepalese Agriculture”-Prayash Adhikari

ICT is often used as an extended synonym for IT. But is more specific term that stresses the role of unified communication, and the integration of telecommunication (telephone lines and the wireless signals). Computers as well as necessary enterprises software middle ware, storage and audio visual system, which enables the user to excess store and manipulate.

The term ICT is also used to refer to the convergence of audio visual and telephone networks through a single cabling or link system.

As everyone knows the agriculture is the important aspect for the human survival. Nothing in this world goes over the agriculture. With increasing population the food security is the major concern now a day. Every nation in this world, trying to increase their productivity to fulfill the food demand of people. So many researches in agriculture has been carried out for increasing productivity. The research results new type of materials or cultivation practice which should be extended to the farmers so that they can use the practice to increase productivity. so to extent the new practice here extension work here is done by the ICT. Information and communication have always mattered in agriculture. Ever since people have grown crops, raised livestock, and caught fish, they have sought information from one another. What is the most effective planting strategy on steep slopes? Where can I buy the improved seed or feed this year? How can I acquire a land title? Who is paying the highest price at the market? How can I participate in the government’s credit program? These are the question that arises in the mind of farmer the answers of these questions are developed or we can say solved by the agriculturist or agriculture scientist these answers are accessible to farmer through ICT. Producers rarely find it easy to obtain answers to such questions, even if similar ones arise season after season. Farmers in a village may have planted the “same” crop for centuries, but over time, weather patterns and soil conditions change and epidemics of pests and diseases come and go. Updated information allows the farmers to cope with and even benefit from these changes. Agriculture is facing new and severe challenges in its own right.

Filling the stomachs of the growing population is only one reason agriculture is critical to global stability and development. It is also critical because one of the most effective ways of reducing poverty is to invest in and make improvements in the agricultural sector.

Given the challenges, the arrival of information communication technology (ICT) is well timed. The benefits of the green revolution greatly improved agricultural productivity. However, there is a demonstrable need for a new revolution that will bring lower prices for consumers (through reduced waste and more-efficient supply chain management), contribute to “smart” agriculture, and incentivize farmers (for example, through higher income) to increase their production. Public and private sector actors have long been on the search for effective solutions to address both the long- and short-term challenges in agriculture, including how to answer the abundant information needs of farmers. ICT is one of these solutions, and has recently unleashed incredible potential to improve agriculture in developing countries specifically. Technology has taken an enormous leap beyond the costly, bulky, energy-consuming equipment once available to the very few to store and analyze agricultural and scientific data. With the booming mobile, wireless, and Internet industries, ICT has found a foothold even in poor smallholder farms and in their activities.

But what exactly are ICTs? And can they really be useful and cost-effective for poor farmers with restricted access to capital, electricity, and infrastructure? First, an ICT is any device, tool, or application that permits the exchange or collection of data through interaction or transmission. ICT is an umbrella term that includes anything ranging from radio to satellite imagery to mobile phones or electronic money transfers. Second, these ICTs and others have gained traction even in impoverished regions. The increases in their affordability, accessibility, and adaptability have resulted in their use even within rural homesteads relying on agriculture. New, small devices (such as multifunctional mobile phones and nanotechnology for food safety), infrastructure (such as mobile telecommunications networks and cloud computing facilities), and especially applications (for example, that transfer money or track an item moving through a global supply chain) have proliferated. Many of the questions asked by farmers (including questions on how to increase yields, access markets, and adapt to weather conditions) can now be answered faster, with greater ease, and increased accuracy. Many of the questions can also be answered with a dialogue—where farmers, experts, and government can select best solutions based on a diverse set of expertise and experience. In order to exploit the possibilities the country has two tasks:

1.  To empower poor farmer with information and communication assets and service that will increase their productivity and income                     as well as protect their food security and livelihood

2.  To harness the ICT’s effectively to compete in complex rapidly changing global markets(avoiding falling behind the technology                             curve)

ICT is very much important in Nepalese agriculture ,as we know the ICT is the main and quick method or media for producers where they easily find the solution of their problems. As we know the agriculture development in Nepal is poor because of lack of the new research in the agriculture field. Even the results of few research held in research center can’t be accessible to the farmers/producers . The main reason of low accessibility is due to lack of development in ICT . With development of ICT the agriculture also goes up. Some farmer’s in Nepal don’t even know the new invention in agriculture practises and still using the primitive method of cultivation with low productivity. If ICT would have been  fully developed  the farmer would have produced more increasing his life stander .so the development of ICT is very important for the improvement of agriculture in Nepal.

 

Thus, ICT is an umbrella term that includes anything ranging from radio to satellite imagery to mobile phones or electronic money transfers. The agriculture always need information about updated cultivation material and practice due to changing weather and different insect, pest infestation in the crops ,which is controlled by the new practice developed in the research center .The information about the new evolution in research center is obtained by farmer through means of ICT. If the Nepalese agriculture is not to be developed and is to be continued in the primitive way with declining productivity there is no so much importance of the ICT but if the Agriculture is to be developed in high productive manner the ICT is very important. So there is a great use of ICT in Nepalese agriculture development.

#Blog Entry: 9″ICTs in Nepalese Agriculture”-Anusha Sharma

Agriculture is an important sector with majority of population in developing countries depending on it. Each and every people must consume agricultural product at least twice in a day. This sector has several challenges in the enhancement of production. The demand for agricultural products is growing day by day but the resource is scarce. Therefore it is necessary to increase the yield with limited resources. Declining soil fertility, climate change, water scarcity, quality seeds, market facilities, incidence of insects, pests and diseases, etc are some of the c major challenges. New approaches and technical innovations are required to cope with these challenges. Here, Information and Communication Technology plays an effective role to tact with these problems. ICT is the new or advanced technology that enables to form a network and circulate message globally. It keeps the whole world connected.

Last year when I was studying in my 1st semester, my mum told me that we are having problem of caterpillars in our beans and slugs in the kitchen garden. Then wasting no more second, I surfed internet. There I got chance to learn about different caterpillars like corn earworms, cabbage loopers, cutworms etc. that affect different crops. Soon the remedy was sought out. Handpicking, spraying foliage with neem oil, dusting Bt-powder were the easy methods. As soon as mum knew about that, she was amazed with the technology. Then she said “उपायखल्तीमैपोरेछत” (solution was in my pocket).

The use of ICT in agriculture range from advanced modern technologies like GPS navigation, satellite communication, wireless connectivity, cloud computing, etc to the older technologies like radio, television, newspapers etc.In our country Nepal, people largely use radio, television and mobile phones. Many research works are performed and new practices and technologies have been made in different parts of the country by researchers which need to be transferred to farmers living in different corners. In this situation ICT help to circulate the reliable and up-to-date information. ICT plays an important role as an extension media. Through the use of internet people can get remedies to their problem in no time

The availability of these communication sources can help to save lot oftime. Through medias like radio , television, mobileseven people living in remote areas can know about the new ideas, practices, technologies and solution to their problems of different insects, diseases, soil fertility, etc. People don’t have to reach help centers for such information.ICT can greatly influence the agriculture sector. If people know to use it efficiently there can be rapid development in production which can aid in raising country`s economy and trade. Therefore, through ICT there must be strong linkage between farmers, government, business sectors, institution, local suppliers and NGOs which work for agricultural benefit and ordinary citizens/farmers for the continuous flow of information

How does ICT positively influence agriculture??

We discussed that ICT influences agriculture, through ICT we can aid farmers and increase production. Following are some reasons.

  • Reduction of information gathering cost: With ICTs people can just make a phone call or check internet to find what they need. There is no problem of long distance travel in case of remote areas.
  • Improvement in market access: Farmers are aware about the current market status on input, prices and consumers trend through mobiles, websites, etc
  • Production optimization: ICTs has helped enhance production by providing information about pests, diseases, especially early warning system, new varieties, etc
  • ICT has enabled the broader and richer interaction among the farmers.
  • Gap between the researchers and farmers is bridged.
  • Agricultural producers have direct contact with the potential buyers which let them bypass the brokers.

ICTs have helped to upgrade the standard of agriculture through every possible ways. In developed countries advancement has been brought in the field of agriculture through ICTs. It supports new methods of precision agriculture like computerized farm machineries that applies fertilizers and pesticides, feeding and monitoring of farm animals by electronic sensors, etc. online buying and selling is also growing.

But ICT is no god with only positive aspects. It sure has some negative impacts as well.

  • All people can`t have access to newspaper, journals, internet service.
  • Sometimes wrong information may flow to the reader through unauthorized sources which may hamper the production.
  • Many Nepalese are below the literacy line, so those where educated members are abroad or in city, language may be the problem.
  • The waves of electronic media isn’t eco friendly

Success is not derived automatically by connecting ICT with agriculture. Successes are possible but the programs must be designed and implemented with care. Therefore it is necessary to make a careful planning from government and private sectors. In our country challenges of ICT are:-

  • Awareness raising and trainings should be given about the importance and use of ICT.
  • The infrastructures for information and communication should be improved.
  • Services should be cheaper.
  • Web based storage of agricultural information should be increased.
  • Relevant and timely information should be made available in appropriate formats so that all people can use it effectively.

 

In summary, ICT is a wide field which connects all the people together living in different corners of the world. It provides opportunities to the people for collection storing, using and sharing of information. It is a valuable tool for upgrading the level of not only agriculture but all sectors. Therefore farmers and other related sectors (agriculture input providing industry, industries dealing with output, institutions and NGOs working for benefit of agriculture, agricultural universities, and research centers) must make the effective use of ICTs for agricultural development.

#Blog Entry: 10″ICTs in Nepalese Agriculture”-Bibek Dhital

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.

  1. Sharing the research results, ones idea and some efficient methods of cultivation and management through social media and make sure the technology is effective.
  2. Internet being very cheap source of communication, making a good link between professionals and performers
  3. Online research for problems and solutions
  4. Reading agricultural news in newspaper.
  5. 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.

#Blog Entry: 13 “ICTs in Nepalese Agriculture”-Sagar Ghimire

An organic vegetable farm at Harmi VDC, Gorkha producing a cucumber in a nutrient deficit soil suffers from a great loss. The first year of invest goes on pit and develops frustration towards the agriculture. The uneducated traditional farmer establishing an organic farm in the nutrient deficit acidic soil results growing of cucurbit vines unhealthy and unfit for economic production. The curved and cracked cucumber fruits with pale yellow colored leaves and later, the fruits affected heavily by fruit fly and caused the total degradation of the cucumbers cultivated in a twenty ropanies of land. The use of the undecomposed farm yard manure in the organic farm, lack of proper management of the insect-pests and pathogens by the farmer is noticed. Also, some of the marketable harvest being consumed by broker in the name of testing samples cause the depression and economic crisis in the farmer’s livelihood. The similar problem was also found in the adjacent Ampipal VDC two years before which is just some kilometers away from the current farm. This cause discourage in investing and involving in the commercial agriculture in the whole village.

The story mentioned above is just one of the examples prevalent in the Nepalese agricultural system where illiterate old peoples and women are involved in so called indigenous stupid agricultural works. The problems faced by the farmer at one place are also being repeated in at another place due to lack of communication. There is lack of the energy and idea to use and implement the technology in absence of the educated youths whom are enjoying their burden life in the deserts of the foreign countries. The brokers are being the leaders on rural areas due to the gap between the market and production unit (farmer level). The production technology, land use pattern, insect pest management and disease control, post harvest management is too traditional and unscientific. Farmers have zero knowledge of national policy and financing opportunities because of absence of information and communication technology which creates hindrance for the betterment of the Nepalese agriculture.

For the raise of the zero level subsistence farming to commercialization or to improve itself to complete subsistence level is the major challenge which we youths should address being educated, energetic and skilled manpower of our respective villages. For that, the introduction of ICT skills is the principle demand of our country. The encouragement to the educated and skillful young people in farming with the basic knowledge of ICT skills can make the farming profitable. The information is power, communication brings skills and technologies encourage and uplift the agriculture. Use of social and agriculture related applications on e-devices, weather related information, online expert advices and sharing platform among the farmers of different places is most essential. Market availability discourse and direct connection to the market, microfinance facility as well as knowledge on government subsidy and improvement in quality seed material production, varietal selection, systematic intercultural operation and harvesting all will be possible through the basic ICT related trainings provided to the farmers which will be later conveyed easily within themselves at all the places.

Agriculture is not the job of puppets. The bad thought is persisting in our village that if our sons are poor in the school level study, then they will be treated as future plowman and farmer of the village. It is the total injustice and disrespect to the peoples who feeds the world. That concept thus must be changed. The agriculture is in fact the occupation of educated people with idea and skill about information and communication and access to the technology such as mobiles and computers, internet and applications and also the agriculture related modern cropping pattern and farm power and machineries.

The use of ICT skill acts as hand book and self guide for farmers and maintains the basic level of above mentioned factors for quality production which surely increases the productivity and labor use efficiency. This creates the good earning and good profits to the farmer for maintaining his/her quality life and also the good employment generation thus reducing the brain drain. That enhances the farming as a business and farmers to become business man which is the today’s need. This motivates the farmers in applying and using the ICT and ICT related skills, inspires the others, change attitude and that insures the future viability of agriculture sector for sustainable agriculture and sustainable national economy. The poverty reduction, women empowerment by participatory approach and proper land use will surely connect the rural Nepali brothers and sisters to the global brain through the ICT skill which then can act as third eye of the Nepalese people for the new journey towards modern agriculture and revolution and well facilitated developed New Nepal, the real dream of the patriotic Nepali people.