15 March 2007

Analyzing agricultural ICT projects in India

The new agricultural paradigm necessitates the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in agricultural extension systems. To develop a strategy, the existing isolated ICT projects need to be studied critically on some parameters. Such critical issues include process impacts, factors related to farmers' influence on the success of ICT projects, and the effectiveness of functionaries involved in such projects.

To investigate these issues, three major agricultural ICT projects in India were selected, namely, the Gyandoot Project (Madhya Pradesh), Warna Wired Project (Maharashtra) and Ikisan Project (Andhra Pradesh). Sample respondents consisted of user farmers (n=240) and functionaries (n=180) of the three projects. Data related to process impacts, various factors related to farmers, their information needs, and the effectiveness of functionaries, were collected.

Analyses of process impacts revealed that these projects have made effective contribution and were adequately equipped in carrying out the activities. It was found that majority of the users were small and marginal farmers. The study outlined the important information needs for these three different regions of India. The study also revealed that irrespective of computer illiteracy, ICT could be harnessed effectively through human interfaces in the form of functionaries at kiosks. The effectiveness of the functionaries was found to be moderate to high.

Based on the study, it is recommended that the government should take up large-scale ICT initiatives to back up resource poor farmers. Future initiatives should have effective functionaries who have high orientation towards ICT extension, faith in people, and basic agricultural education.

Source: A critical analysis of agricultural information communication technology (ICT) projects in India: implications for developing world. / Meera, S.N. , Jhamtani, A. , Rao, D.U.M. [Division of Agricultural Extension, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi - 110 012, India.] / Tropical Agricultural Research, 2003, Vol. 15, pp. 109-119.

This information is extracted from the
CAB Abstracts database, available on many platforms including CAB Direct. It is provided by CABI to IAALD members and readers to enhance knowledge sharing and exchange on different aspects of information and communication in agriculture and related disciplines. Copyright CAB International, reproduced with permission.


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