To improve productivity and profitability of small farmers in the state, the state government and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) have joined hands to implement Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based knowledge sharing platforms and other agricultural innovation initiatives.
The collaboration was launched during the Digital Telangana Week.
As part of this, a Phablet was launched through which small farmers can have tips on the kind of agricultural inputs they require for their fields.
Based on specific soil health of the lands of a farmer, the scientists at the Icrisat and the government will send timely messages to the farmers through the phablet.
The phablet is a smart device bigger than a phone but smaller than a tablet.
Icrisat launched the Green Phablet which comes for around `18,600. Icrisat will maintain servers to safe keep the information.
A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between two state government departments — department of Information Technology, Electronics & Communications and department of Agriculture and Cooperation — and Icrisat here on Tuesday.
The partnership will explore areas of collaboration in digital agriculture along with agriculture value chain and explore the possibilities of Icrisat playing an active role in the T-Hub, the incubator being launched by the state government.
The partnership will help launch innovative digital platforms that aim to revitalize information dissemination in rural areas, expert systems for providing real time advisories and better access to market information by smallholder farmers.
‘’Icrisat has been at the forefront of using the latest technology to benefit smallholder farmers of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The digital agriculture initiative will allow information to be precisely targeted to individual farmers. This will help farmers to access agricultural related information and keep themselves up-to-date with market related information, which gives them an opportunity to sell their produce at fair prices, thus putting them on the path to prosperity,’’ Dr David Bergvinson, Icrisat Director General said explaining the proposed activities under the digital agriculture initiative.
The MoU was signed by C Parthasarathi, agriculture secretary, Jayesh Ranjan, IT secretary and Icrisat Director General Dr David Bergvinson in the presence of agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivasa Reddy and IT minister K T Rama Rao.
Speaking on the occasion, Rama Rao said ‘’Access to timely information and knowledge can help millions of farmers in Telangana to improve their yields, incomes and resilience since they can now make informed choices about good farming practices.’’
Rama Rao, however, felt that there is a need to bring down the cost of Phablet to `10,000 to make it affordable for farmers.
Pocharam Srinivasa Reddy felt that it is very appropriate to launch the digital agriculture activities at a time when use of digital gadgets is on the rise in rural areas.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Telangana / by Express News Service / July 08th, 2015