SPEAKERS at a roundtable held under the joint auspices of Ethics Advanced Technology Limited (EATL) and Prothom Alo on Saturday focused on making ICT applications accessible, cost effective and farmer-friendly. ICT applications for agriculture will have to be evolved bearing in mind the needs of the farmers and being consistent with the advanced nature of the gadget.
At some level, mobile operators have been providing agriculture information services since 2000. Shykh Seraj wonders whether the farmers derive the value for money they spend on such services. In fact, very few farmers are aware about the services being provided by the Information and Services Centres at the Union Parishad. People in charge of the centres are not to be found sometimes, which is a pity!
Why are we failing to utilise the vast network of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in providing ICT services to farmers, is something that will have to be addressed squarely.
It is a good suggestion that mobile operators set aside a portion of their budget under CSR for providing agriculture information inputs to the farmers.
Not only ICT could help the farmers produce more, but also trade more avoiding the middlemen to get fair prices for their produce in the end.
Unless the government and private sector work together to provide cost-efficient, timely and problem-solving services, the true potential of the ICT use in agriculture will remain largely unrealised.