Category: Blog Entries
#Blog Entry: 14 “ICTs in Nepalese Agriculture”-Sanjok Poudel

Information and communication is the need of today’s world. It is communication that leads human civilization from Stone Age to today’s modern era of science. Advancement in information and commutation technology has made this world a common village. We can now communicate and share information in any corner of the world with ease. It is hard to imagine world without ICT. ICT has been effectively involved in various endeavors.  So Agriculture too can’t be at odds from it. Information and Communication occupies pertinent position since human started farming. System, types and methods of farming has been exchanged among peoples since decade.  Though farmers has been cultivating same crop from centuries on the same piece of land, method and system of farming has been changes. With change in climatic pattern and surrounding atmosphere, farmers are changing the way of farming to cope with the change. And this has been possible only through communication and information. Farmers are aware about the change and means to cope with the change through Information and Communication. Information is needed in every phase of farming. Agriculture is also prone to various risk which are inevitable such as climate hazard, crop failure etc. But with advancement in ICT like GPS and GIS system and weather forecasting these risk can be limited to some extent. Various modes and methods of ICT have been implemented in farming with time and this has helped farming achieve its goals and objectives efficiently.

Agriculture now is facing new and inevitable challenges. Global population is expected to hike higher and for this agriculture production is to be increased by folds. With this pressure on agriculture has intensified. But it is a kismet that with these challenges the arrival of Information and Communication Technology has coincide. With the introduction of green revolution the need of production was meet to some extent.  Furthermore revolution is required to increase the productivity for feeding the world in near future. So to address these challenges more effective solution is required. And for this ICT can be an effective solution that have immense potential to improve agriculture specially in developing and resource poor country like Nepal.

In Nepal, Agriculture is a crucial sector providing livelihood to approximately 70% of the population. Despite of substantial involvement of population in farming, country still has to import vast portion of consumption from outside. And with this scope and potential of ICT in Agriculture in Nepalese context has further more amplified. ICT no doubt can play a crucial role in dissemination of innovation and modern technology and help farmer adopt such technology. ICT can take farming at a new level. This need has been felt and amalgamation of ICT in agriculture has mushroom in past few years in the country. Advancement of technology in the country and accessibility, affordability and adaptability of ICT has made farmer easier to adapt to such technology. With telecommunication and Internet accessible in almost every corner of the country, farmers can learn about advancement in agriculture and innovation with ease. ICT can even raise livelihood and capacity building of small holder farmers in a quick pace. One of the best examples would be mobile phones. With its accessibility and affordability people can access to various information as well as share ideas among one another with ease. SMS services about market values of various commodities can be accessed in various part of the country. Recent development of a mobile apps “Smart Krishi” and “Krishi Ghar” are landmark in ICT in Agriculture in Nepal. With this farmers can access to information related to agriculture in their fingertips. Information and communication technology like such can be a bridge to connect innovations to the farmers. Farmers can even get access to market values of various commodities through the use of these apps. Also there are various radio and television program broadcasting which discuss about various issues on agriculture as well as provide expertise advice and suggestion to farmers in need. Also government has been providing Toll free numbers and call centre to provide information about agriculture and has also established various contact centers under District Agricultural Office for access of information and other facilities to the farmers. Though limited intervention has been done towards application of ICT in agriculture in Nepal, its outcomes are mesmerizing. Since application of ICT in agriculture is found to be fruitful through its initial application, government along with farmers and stakeholders are exited for its widespread extension and further more accessibility to the farmers and entrepreneurs. Meanwhile ICT has proven to be a milestone in agriculture in Nepal.

#Blog Entry: 15 “ICTs in Nepalese Agriculture” – Swosthi Thapa

Most of the countries in the world have been developed using modern information and communication technologies(ICT).ICT is one of the main factor for increasing agricultural production and productivity without degrading the natural resources. In world, ICT has been rapidly adopting but in case of our country it is moving in speed of snail due to lack of flow of information and adoption of new technologies by farmers as well as experts but also Nepal is increasing its ICT development in agriculture.

Though Nepal has developed several useful technologies it has been confined in research centers only. There are limited communication facilities to communicate farmers. Harvesting can be can be carried out properly when there is an ICT in to communicate to scientists, policy makers and farmers. About 80% of people live in rural areas whose main occupation is agriculture are illiterate and adopt traditional farming system; not only this there is there is no organized and regulated marketing system for marketing agricultural produce. Some of major constraints are budgetary limitation, illiteracy, poor infrastructure, inadequate human resources, load shedding and high cost of operation .In spite of its challenges ICT offers program for both social and economic development. It includes productivity improvement, avoiding buying on credit, comfortable life, reduction in poverty, house modified, liberal spending, change in lifestyle and maintenance of children improved. It helps farmers to understand the modern cultivation methods,  availability of agriculture inputs, irrigational sources, availability of pesticides and fertilizers for increasing the production and productivity of crops. Agriculture not only concerns cultivation of crops but also raising livestock or poultry and ICT helps to breed hybrid livestock and poultry.

Knowing about the present context, in 2011,the% of households possessing radio was 50.82,television 36.45%,cable TV 19.33% and computer 7.33%.Presently not only Radio Nepal but also nearly 300 FM radio stations are in operation and many private FM radios have started to broadcast agricultural programs. Nepal TV is telecasting agricultural programme daily in 15 minute evening time slot. About 514 newspapers are published in Nepal at present in which some of them are publishing agricultural news and views occasionally. AICC produces “Krishi Patrika” which is popular among farmers. As the various tools of ICT are newspapers, mobile, SMS services, radio talk programmes, smartphone applications etc .Due to help of internet connection in most of the districts the applications related to agriculture like Krishi Ghar, Smart Krishi, IFA-Krishi Nepal etc. have helped so much. By the use of technology various hybrid seeds of crops are being introduced that can resist in suitable environment and give more production.ICT has helped for carrying out research and development that has increased the development of varieties of crops.

For the development of agriculture through ICT the government should invite donors, private sectors and co-operatives for investment in this sector. Establishment of electronic libraries in central and regional levels, software development for soil analysis, crop forecast and market information, establishment of Krishi  Gyan Kendra(KGK) at each VDCs, establishment of e-linkage, human resource development through training and higher education are the areas requiring more investment. As farming system is integrated with crops, livestock and fishery, arrangement can be made to have 3 or 4 JT or JTA at each KGK one each for crop, horticulture, livestock and fishery. JT/JTAs should be trained in application of ICT.As there is loadshedding in our country, alternative sources of energy like solar and rechargeable batteries can be used. As farming community is illiterate and lacks basic skills; extension worker should help them for self-learning package and uplift them to use ICT for agriculture development.

#Blog Entry:17″Agriculture, make it full circle with ICT”-Sujan Adhikari

Agriculture merely had been like magic with human minds and its tool, ICT. It is in practice since dawn of human civilization and it is basis to human life. Many countries in the world had progressed much in agriculture and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) played key role to make it happen. While we don’t see strong position of Nepalese Agriculture in ICT.

Why Youth ignore agriculture?

We are limited on natural way of farming. It’s hectic when we don’t get more than we sow. So, its time to change our range form human labour to ICT. Lets feed the world by what we browse.

So, here we need ICT to change people’s perception regarding farming and view it as an exciting, serving and innovative sector. Certainly ICT can deter young people away from stereotypes of traditional farming.

Status of ICT in Nepalese Agriculture:

ICT4AG2Though this ICT was already familiar in developed countries, we are on the preliminary stage of using ICT in Nepalese Agriculture. Agriculture looks different today – our farmers are using GPS and you can monitor your irrigation systems over the Internet.

We can count uses of ICT in Nepalese Agriculture in our fingers. In last decades there are TV, Radio programs to help farmers.We had few agriculture based smart phone apps like “Smart Krishi”, “Krishi Ghar”. We can browse the prices of vegetables in Kalimati Bazar from our smart phones today. Yeah some are using GPS while some are using ICT in extension services. But we still need a giant leap with ICT.

ICT, how we can make it happen in Nepalese Agriculture?

 

Race had begun to prioritize ICT for Development and the race is between private sectors in Nepalese Agriculture. Some possible uses of ICT can be:

  •  Many land are kept fallow due to shortage of labour and capital and on the other hand some people are in search of land. So keeping records of large farming land along with its edaphic properties in internet can help possible stakeholders to use them properly in lease.
  •  Since agriculture is sector of high risk and uncertainties, mobile SMS system can be boon in remote villages of Nepal where people grow different crops and valuable products. They will be informed about weather, disease and markets value so; they can cope up with any uncertainties. It will also provide them with cost of necessary items for cultivation like seeds, fertilizers etc.
  • Farmer can put any queries regarding their cultivation through video calls with experts. It can be best Extension methods for proper dissemination of knowledge. Farmer can set time for regular discussion.
  • Effective use of GPS can help farmer in map-making, geo fencing and surveying. It help farmer to sow seeds in even spacing.
  •  Geographic Information System (GIS) has great scope in Nepal to design and layout field before cultivation. It saves time and labour and gives out accurate designing.
  • Establishment of call centers can help boost our traditional agriculture. Government or Agricultural University can either establish it. It will help agricultural students to share their knowledge as well.
  • Online selling and buying of agro-products. It helps to seek market and fix price easily. It can be great efforts for farmers and consumers too.
  • Data collection and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are a vital part of development work. We can effectively use smart tools to collect data in survey. It only saves our time only, but increases accuracy too.

 

These are only some way of getting information through computer technology. But the future of Nepalese agriculture lie on these tools and one day everything (information, evaluation and work), will be done by drones and robot for us.

ICT Tools Level of implementation Level of easiness for implementation
Mobile SMS System Limited (2,3 Districts) High
Video Calls Not Followed High
Database of Lands Zero High
Data Collection Partially used Easy and High SR
GPS Limited Relatively Easier
Online Market Informal Easy and has high scope
Call Centers Zero Easier and High success rate
GIS Limited Easy and useful
Precision Farming Zero Low but highly useful

Table 1.0       ICT, its level and ease for implementation.

 

Its time to act:

Its time to manoeuvre and raise our country. Everything in this sphere is changing and so our culture and agriculture.

Nepal, an agricultural country where 2/3rd of its population’s occupation is agriculture and 1/4th of its population still lie below poverty line. So, its time to change these statistics and status with ICT. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

 

 

Really the world seems out of imagination. Lets implant technology in our farmers mind. Aye we youth can change.

#Blog Entry:16″Role of ICTs in Nepalese agriculture”-Sameer Pokhrel

It always needs two to tango. Communication is the basis for the modern science, technology, literature, arts and all other fields. But the pith of the matter these days is how broadly we communicate.

Information Communication Technology

Image Credit: http://www.ijictt.ictt.info/

What is ICT
Information and communication Technology (ICT) is the advanced form of global communication. This technology includes computer network, telephone networks, wireless technology, Global Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), computer controlled devices, mobile applications, e- learning, e- commerce, computer aided design and so on. In broad sense, it helps user to access, store, transmit and manipulate the information. These days, ICT has been applied in many fields globally.

Role in Agriculture

women-in-farming

Image Credit: Sanjay Dhakal /YPARD

Agriculture no more is family oriented. It demands commercialization. It has claimed itself as one of the leading business of the world. Every crop we grow today is finally weighed with its monetary value. Of course, Agriculture is profit oriented. Each and every activities related to agriculture including sowing, irrigation management, fertilizer management, pest management, harvesting, storage, food preservation, food safety, food marketing and lots of other minor to major ones requires the knowledge of ICT. Today a farmer can get a ton of fertilizer on a single click of an “OK” button, a consumer can demand for quintals of corn grains just by clicking a “YES” button. And of course, ICT made it possible.

Agro-meteorological information is like appendage to successful agriculture. Agro-outputs are highly dependent upon meteorological information. E-learning is simply inevitable. A single crop you grow can alter the global economy if you know the nub of the agriculture.
In gist; transformation from spade to computer gives a great taste in agriculture.

Status in Nepal

Last 5 decades, Information and Communication has taken a huge leap in Nepalese context. According to Nepal Telecommunication Authority its total user has reached 85.6% up to mid Dec 2014. Telecommunication penetration rate has been increased by 12.88% in 1 year. Similarly internet penetration rate has reached 38.09%. That means no house is away from the touch of communication. Even a 4 and half years child across the country would show the sense of déjà vu towards radio and television.
Thanks to those achievements, however its use in the agriculture is a recent concept. KRISHI KARYAKRAM from Nepal Television (NTV) possibly is the one to get its feet wet. Recently the few smart phone application like Krishi Ghar , Smart Krishi have let the cat out the bag. Kudos to the KISSAN CALL CENTRE initiative by Agricare Pvt.Ltd. However ICT in Nepal is just a neonate.

Constrains

Surfing on internet is immature till these days. Mobile phones are meant just to call relatives and text them.
People generally follow the subsistence agriculture and is seldom profit oriented. Moreover, they follow the same traditional pattern as hand over by their fore fathers. That’s why they show apathy towards such matters. Farmers often tend to make their farm a sort of museum growing everything they thought of. Ironically, success stories are monoculture based in present world. Farmers think computer as a rocket science and none of their business.
Brain drain is massive. According to the Government of Nepal migrant worker has soared to 480,990 this fiscal year. Only old aged and illiterate people are assigned to deal agricultural affairs.

Possible solutions

65% people are involved in agriculture. A single achievement could bring a huge change in the economy. Well, being realistic,a television channel dealing with the agricultural affairs is highly recommended. A toll free number to contact an expert should be mandatory in each telephone networking system of Nepal. Motto should be there about the control of brain drain. Online marketing is crucial; provision should be there to promote such sectors. Timely information on Agro-meteorological condition could bring an enormous change. A farmer can manipulate cropping pattern or a crop itself based on that information. Digital touch between national and international agencies can play a great role. A success story might bring voluminous change on the vision of a farmer. In addition, e- learning should be mandatory for each agricultural college. The problem of what I want to call black hole, is severe in Nepal, yes the Middle men. The chasm between the cost at which farmer sales and the ultimate consumer buys is huge. To lower this, proper tuning between the farmer and the consumer is necessary. For which ICT could play a major role.
Finally, transformation from Agriculture to Egriculture might bring change about what we think when we talk about agriculture.