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Title Integrating ICTs in Agricultural Development- A Case for ATMA project. Authors Manish Kumar Chitra Pathak S.P.Gupta. Introduction. Even though agriculture only contributes over 25% to our GDP, it is a source of livelihood for more than 60 per cent of the population.

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Title Integrating ICTs in Agricultural Development- A Case for ATMA project

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Title Integrating ICTs in Agricultural Development- A Case for ATMA project


Manish Kumar

Chitra Pathak



  • Even though agriculture only contributes over 25% to our GDP, it is a source of livelihood for more than 60 per cent of the population.

  • Farming has become knowledge intensive, the need for information is very high and the quantity of information generated or exchanged is also huge

  • Hence the need to revamp conventional agricultural extension system

  • Here ICTs can play an important role

  • When used as a broad tool for providing local farming communities with scientific knowledge, ICT heralds the formation of knowledge societies in the rural areas

  • As a result in last 6-7 years many ICTs projects and programmes have been launched in India.

  • Some of the much talked about ICT projects are Gyandoot in Madhya Pradesh, Bhoomi in Karnataka, e-Sewa in Andhra Pradhesh, SARI in Tamil Nadu, Nabanna in West Bengal, and WARNA in Maharashtra.

  • This paper has made an effort to discuss the role of ICTs in agriculture within the context of a research study of the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) project in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.

  • ATMA Under the ITD component of NATP

  • The ITD component aims to test new innovations in technology dissemination and also to give a new direction to the Indian extension system with pilot testing of the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) model in 28 pilot districts of India.

  • an exploratory study with an objective to generate empirical information for improving the current efforts in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar

Summary of Findings

  • Lack of relevant information

  • Officials in the role of ‘trouble shooters’

  • External agents defined problems and information gathering process, and so controlled analysis

  • Positive perception of farmers about their groups

  • Confidence and capability to scale up

  • Official focus on achieving the target of numbers

  • Lack of interaction with NGOs

  • Negative perception of Officials about NGOs

  • Differential capability of stakeholders

  • Lack of interaction among village, block and district level functionaries

  • Power vested at the Top

What ICTs can do?

  • Provide access to information regarding cultivation, post-harvest processing, market condition, etc.

  • Establish direct relationship with potential buyers, thus increasing producers bargaining power

  • Facilitate gathering and sharing of agricultural information

  • Multi-media community centre in the village can extend access to information about health, education, business, etc., besides providing a platform for communication within the village and with the rest of the world as well


  • Support bottom-up, horizontal, top-down and diagonal articulation of needs and facilitate integration of local and global knowledge

  • Facilitate building consensus among various actors through multi-directional exchange of information on each other's actions or initiatives

  • Create, support and strengthen interactive and collaborative networks, which ensure information flow to and from farming community

  • Facilitate dialogue among concerned actors to resolve problems at hand

  • Improve work efficiency by overcoming physical and time barrier

Innovations in ICT Applications

  • e-Learning

    -For instance in Thailand APRTC (www.aprtc.org)

  • VASAT Initiative

    - A new extension communication approach that will help enhance food and livelihood security of the vulnerable farm families that inhabit the SAT region of the developing world

Research in ICT and Agri. Development-Challenges

  • Projects designed to meet information needs in their target population, according to their individual mandates and the agenda they establish.

  • Driven by institutions rather than community

  • Increase awareness among agriculture officials about the usefulness of ICTs

  • Need for full-fledged strategy to harness ICT’s potential for assisting overall agricultural development.

  • User equity from a gender perspective very low

  • Efforts should made to develop among the farmers both a satisfactory level of faith in the intentions of the ICT staff and a firm commitment to the goals of the proposed project

  • Participatory and rapid rural appraisals should be carried out to ascertain what information the farmers need

  • More qualitative studies should be conducted to get in-depth understandings of the project impacts

  • Ethnographic approach may be a good alternative


  • ICTs a potential alternative way to meet farmers’ needs in a cost effective manner if integrated in the agricultural development process

  • Participatory extension approaches should be incorporated in projects

  • Using all kind of available technologies

  • Need to develop and implement alternative and effective extension approaches which meets the changing needs of its clientele.

Thank You.

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