K. Ramasamy, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Vice Chancellor, said the ICT-based extension model has been proposed for introduction in four districts of Tamil Nadu

Speaking at the Summer School programme on ‘Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Inclusive Agricultural Development,’ he said appropriate extension models using ICT tools and traditional folk media would help strengthen adoption of scientific agricultural practices among farmers. “Dissemination of information through street plays have led to increased productivity in Madhya Pradesh by 18 per cent,” he added.

The 21-day programme has been sponsored by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. It is aimed at training agricultural scientists on the advanced ICT-based extension technologies developed by the Farm Varsity.

Dr Ramasamy said under this programme all extension officials would be provided a tablet with GPS for the purpose of offering timely extension of advisory services to farmers.

“TNAU will set up a cell to monitor the images sent by the farmers seeking advice and KVKs will be established with Internet connectivity to solve the farm problems,” he added.

“Dissemination of information and adoption of appropriate technologies is the key to success in farming,” he said and urged extension scientists to understand the situation and bring field problems to the research system.

S. Senthil Vinayagam, Director (Agrl. Extension), MANAGE, Hyderabad, said MANAGE was keen to develop e-extension modules in collaboration with the farm varsity.

“The widening farmers-to-extension workers’ ratio is actually compelling the need for the use of such ICT tools to address farmers’ queries. While the information available with the research system is huge, the challenge in the coming days would be in making it relevant by converting this content in the local language,” he said, adding “about 600 Common Service Centres (CSC) have been proposed to be established in the 12{+t}{+h} plan period.”

While emphasising the importance of using such tools, the VC observed that there are as many as 12 million registered mobile phone users, but the 3G connectivity to rural areas is far from satisfactory.

(This article was published on July 5, 2013)
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