Dr. Tasneem Mubarak
Today, the 17th of May is celebrated as the Telecommunication and Information Society day all over the world to highlight the role of information and communication technology in different fields. Just a couple of decades back no one could imagine such a revolutionary transformation in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). Science and technology no doubt are progressing at a very fast pace with every passing day and so is their contribution in ICT. Devices, networks, services and applications are in place to do wonders in this field. Earlier we used to believe that Rooti, Kapda aurMakan ( Bread, clothing and home) were the three basic needs of life. In the present era of ICT imagine a person with all these three basic amenities but without at least a radio or TV set, a mobile phone, internet facility and so on. It is extremely difficult to think a life without these gadgets and facilities nowadays.
Thus if we say that ICT has now become the fourth fundamental need of life it would not be wrong. So far as its impact on an individual or society is concerned it may be positive as well as negative, but it mostly depends on us how we use it. It is beyond doubt a powerful tool to reduce distance(s) and save precious time. With a blink of eye an email or a post on social media can travel to any part of globe. In agriculture for instance with a click of button you can send advisories pertaining to weather, crop management or information pertaining to any agri- event, to hundreds of farmers simultaneously.
Services like MKisan portal, eNAM, What’s app groups, face book, websites of SAUs and institutes associated with agriculture and allied sector and so on has greatly facilitated the dissemination of relevant information. Forecast related to weather developments has enormous potential for planning of farm activities and can save money, time and other resources. Collection of information through remote sensing is extensively used for alerts regarding different aspects related to farming including, floods ,droughts, rainfall and also in the forecast of disease and pest pressure,time of application and kind of input required for their management, water management, transportation, marketing and so on. Sometimes it is beyond the budget provisions to distribute the printed literature like spray schedules, Fertilizer schedules and package of practices related to the management of diverse crops and their varieties to a huge numbers of people associated with farming.
Uploading this information on above mentioned internet based services has reasonably economized the process both in terms of money and time. TV programmes like KrishiDarshan, Butrat and ZariKhabar on Doordarshan have been playing a crucial role in guiding farmers on different farming practices depending on season and need and keep them updated about different schemes and programmes of concerned agencies. Similarly programmes on radio also serve a good purpose especially radio programme Gami Bayan Hind Khatraa.Kisan call center, mobile phone/ smart phones have made flow of information more fast and easy. Agriculture applications like Kisansuvidha, Agri-app, IFFCO kisan app, KisanYojana app and so on are serving farming community all over the country. Recently Sheri-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science & Technology has launched an application namely ‘Shech’ a Kashmiri word meaning message, for the farmers of valley. The app contains Audio Advisory especially for those farmers who can’t read, Agro Advisory, sales information and weather Advisory services. Through this piece I would like to request those farmers possessing mobile facility to download the App from Google play store and take benefit of information contained therein.
—The author, a Senior scientist at SKIMS- K, can be reached at: email@example.com