A REVIEW OF LITERATURE STUDY ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES IN INDIAN AGRICULTURE Anil Kumar Sahu M. Sc. (ICT in Agriculture and Rural Development) Internship Work at the RTBI, Chennai May 3, 2011
Introduction • ICT plays a vital role in farming communities • The Review of literature study results would help the ICT innovators and scientific communities Objectives • To understand the existing ICT efforts in the Indian Agriculture scenario • To analyze agricultural advisory information such as cultivation practices/marketing/Government programmes/inputs availability/ others etc • To identify ICT based training for farmers • To review the challenges in Implementing ICT initiatives • To analyze issues related to sustainability of ICT efforts in Agriculture
Methodology • Collected around 334 papers/reports using Google engine that were published between 2000 and 2010 • About 150 papers have been selected • The selected papers were arranged, explained and summarized
1. Mobile phone/Telephone mKRISHI by TCS - Maharashtra, Punjab and UP since 2009 • Mobile phone is equipped with multiple features like sensors, camera, GPS, and microphones • Collect agri-related data through WSN • Advisory on pest attack, market price, agri-inputs, Govt. policies etc • IVRS platform for farmer to answer simple questions about the disease symptoms with simple (Yes/No) inputs • Synchronization of image of crops infested with farmer’s voice through microphone • Rural-Net (R-Net), a mobile phone based social networking environment • Service cost lie between $1 and $2 a month.
2. SMS Reuters Market Light (RML)- Thomson Reuters in 2006 in Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab • It has own voucher card along the lines of a mobile recharge card. • Choice based information on 150 crop types in more than 1,000 markets • Nearly 300,000 individual farmers across 15,000 villages have bought subscriptions to RML from launching year • Market prices from three selected mandis and tips as well as best practices of specific crop as chosen by farmers. • On an average, each farmer receives four messages each day • Subscribe to services for 3, 6, or 12 month periods at rates that amount to just a few Indian Rupees a day or Rs. 175 ($4.10) for 3 months • Approximately US$8,000 is the highest reported saving by a farmer according to the information shared by RML
3. IVRS IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) - Promoted by IFFCO in collaboration with AirTel in 2007 (covers 18 Indian States) • AirTel is to prepare a unique SIM card IFFCO-AirTel Green Card • Subscribers are provided five 1-minute voice-based messages free of cost every day • Farmer can also access a toll-free helpline service at the cost of Re. 1 per minute where they receive farm advisory messages and practical inputs from experts • The call rates within the CUG (Close User Group) would be just 50 paisa • Society get income of Rs. 9500 per months through Green SIM Card • Increased of 16-25% in terms of yield • Increased in procurement by 30-35% of HAFED
4. Radio dial-up and broadcasts AvaajOtalo (AO)-Gujarat (2009) by IBM & DSC • Helps farmers for asking questions and browsing others’ questions • Announcement board is a list of headline related to agri uploaded to AO by DSC staff or other agri-experts several times per week • Radio archive lets the caller listen to archived radio programs produced by DSC on agricultural topics • Farmers are allowed to record their own questions, and response by experts • Users browsed the archive by listening to 30 second summary recordings and then choosing to listen to full 15 minute program or continue browsing • Farmers can record their questions using a toll-free number • Q & A are re-broadcast on a local agricultural radio program for wider dissemination • Increase in income of over $3,000
5. AIR and TV Agromet Advisory Services (AAS)-Ministry of Earth Science launched in 2008 (All India) • Based on past and anticipated weather conditions and are broadcast by AIR in the respective regions in regional languages and also telecast through TV (also through print media) • E.g. AIR (Darbhanga, Bihar), they are providing daily weather data with advisory and also talked about crop condition, forecast and advisory on weekly basis • IMD has a network of 125 AWS and a large number of manual observatories • Weather based advisories generated by 130 AMFUs • Involves all stakeholders such as SAUs, ICAR,KVK, DAC, State Departments of Agriculture/ Horticulture/ Animal Husbandry/ Forestry (up to District level offices), NGOs, Media Agencies, etc
6. Community FM radio TNAU Community FM/e-Radio-VelaanPalkalaikkazhagaVivasayee FM” • Coverage of 15 to 20 km radius (107.4 MHz) from 10.30 am to 1 pm every day • Feature of ‘e’ component through TNAUAGRITECH portal • Under agriculture, latest farm technologies, market price of commodities and weather forecasts • Farmers success story, sharing experience of progressive farmers • Social linkage by interfacing with faculty on the preparation of training capsule on community radio as an effective ICT tools • Three top clients: identify information givers, identify information seekers and channelize through CRS • As on Feb. 2011,nearly 300 hrs need based programme has been produced
7. Video-conferencing n-Logue • n-Logue Communications Private Limited • Launched in 2000 in Tamil Nadu • n-Logue partners with experts at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural College and Research Institute to provide advice • On farming methods and solutions to crop and animal diseases via videoconferencing • Timely detection and diagnosis of crop disease in Okra remotely by agricultural experts was able to save an entire harvest
8. Web Agriculture Knowledge Management in India (AKMINDIA) • Launched by collaborative effort of IIT-B, IIT-K and IITM-K in 2009 in Karnataka and Uttarakhand • Online Fertilizer Recommendation System (OFRS) • Web-GIS based location specific weather information and forecasting • Appropriate multimedia video contents • Web GIS based Soil Micro nutrient Information System in Dharward where farmers can access online visualization of soil nutrients • Social networking space, blog • Provided 250 audio crop tips on 27 crops through web based system. • Crop doctor forum where complete cultivation practices of 19 crops • Providing scientific solution to queries within 24 hours by the experts
9. Multimedia Digital Green (DG)-Karnataka (2006) by Microsoft Research India’s Technology • Video repository included field demonstrations by agri-scientists, progressive farmers, interactions among farmers • The videos averaged 10 minutes in length • About 1306 videos were produced and it was screened for 21216 times with over 45091 farmers’ involvement • Adoption rate of agriculture practices 7 fold over a conventional training/extension • 10 times more effective per dollar spent than a conventional extension system on a cost per adoption basis • They charge nominal fee (INR 2-4) per farmer per screening
10. Online Video Channel Kissan Information Dissemination and Networking ((KISSAN), Kerala • Launched by Kerala state IT Mission and IIITM-K • Giving authentic agri information through various delivery methods • Country’s first online video channel in collaboration with YouTube and Google • More than 150 telecast quality full length videos on best practices, and other scientific inputs • Around 923,187 upload views and also provided crop specific play list and catalog on the internet. • Users can also access this video on mobile through GPRS/WAP
11. Print Media Agriwatch-IASL and launched in 2000 • Print media, SMS based and web based services • Agriwatch Farm Weekly in both Hindi and Marathi for complete newspaper • Agriwatch Trade Weekly in Hindi for small traders • Daily/Weekly/Fortnightly Trade Research reports (on Email) covers agri-commodities (Rice, Wheat, Maize etc.) • Valuable trade information on prices and news (about 4-5 messages/day) through mobile • Agriwatch Monthly Magazine in both English and Hindi covering Indian and International Agribusiness and Trade • Membership of Agribusiness Portal www.AgriWatch.comto access a large amount of agribusiness related information
12. Phone based information portal VoiKiosk - IBM Research in Andhra Pradesh in 2008 • VoiceSiteto access content by dialing a phone number and information can be listened rather than being read or seen • VoiKiosk identifies farmers based on their caller IDs. • All information in the VoiceSite is stored as audio messages • Expert will be able to post his advice for the farmer on VoiKiosk • About 50 calls per day at the start of the pilot, the last week of the pilot has witnessed more than 4,000 calls every day • More than 900 users used the system over a period of four months
13. PDA i-Shakti- Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) • Capable of disconnected operation and provided many of the services of the main PC based system • Offered up to 1GB of permanent storage • Provides its customers and users a complete enterprise web application ‘in-a-box’ • Users can access information from existing databases on Agri and other topics • Farmers post their questions that are subsequently answered by agri-experts.
Social Challenges • Lack of familiarity with the operating system/computer • Telephone was out of order due to poor bad signal during rainy seasons • Identifying suitable kiosk operators and LSPs are posed • Lack of confidence by the farmers for expert advice • Lack of understanding the ICT initiatives due to poor literacy level of farmers • Difficult in providing ICT based training to farmers due to poor education • PCO operator did not allow farmers to call toll-free number because they will not get anything out of the calls made by the farmers • Fear of farmers towards online trading due to lack confidence • In the initial stage of the project, public showed lack of acceptance • In one of the e-choupal projects, Govt. policy did not allow them to procure the agricultural products • Local marketers felt ICT based projects as threat because they perceived it will affect their livelihoods • Through web based, there is need of information mediator because of farmer’s illiteracy and are unskilled
Technical challenges • Frequent power (electricity) cuts in remote rural areas • Poor telecom connectivity and low bandwidth • Limited battery backup in digital camera • Difficulty in developing local content by service providers • The database developed for one location was not suitable for another locations • Converting local specific manual copies of land records into computer based systems was difficult • Mobile phones were not the easiest method of input for typing long text • Image processing algorithms for enabling auto detection of a particular symptom from the received images • Organizing and harvesting the agriculture meta-data was posed a challenge due to high volume of data • Difficult in using local dialect/language in tribal area
Sustainability of ICTs in Agri initiatives • Revenue generation by charging some nominal fee from the users • Participation with local self governance • Additional services • Government support in technical and financial aspects • PPP model is a few workable options to achieve sustainability • Involvement of academic institution such as ICRISAT, IARI, IIIT, SAUs etc. • Use of FOSS must be user friendly • Recruiting people having diploma or degree holders in agriculture
Conclusion • Penetration of internet in rural area is still low as compared to urban areas • It needs great skill to operate computer by farmers • Increasing mobile phone users • 3G mobile with number of facilities and options • Intervention of GPS, GPRS, IVRS, GIS, Remote Sensing and wireless network technology • Multimedia based system is user-friendly tool • Therefore, ICTs offer an opportunity for agriculture development by reaching to unreached farming communities.
Experiences Gained • Deciding my topic of project work and its finalization • Understood ICT initiatives so far operational in Indian Agriculture. • Deep insight of knowledge and understanding at RTBI with RTBI officials • Initial few days at Chennai, I faced difficulties • Got hostel and took the taste of south Indian dish (Rice, Kurma, Rasam and Sambhar) that was entirely different taste and flavour from North Indian dish. • I understood first time that how to talk without using word (Tamil) to hostel mess staff (also used translator) and local people • Up to one month after joining hostel, I had difficulty in dinner. • I understood the few culture from hostel roomee and from observing Chennai and also way of life style of people of Chennai • Really Chennai is very special and unique city in terms of maintaining his tradition and culture.
Acknowledgement • Prof. Dr. Ashok Junjhunwala • Ms. Suma Prashant • Dr. M. Ganesan
My entire work which includes papers/reports will be handed over to Ms. Suma and Dr. Ganesan • Final report will be made available after Professor’s approval