Can you imagine a time when farmers will be able to solve almost any problem with a mouse click, accessing information on their soils without even stepping outside, or consulting with agricultural scientists from all over the world without leaving home?
New technologies have enormous potential to change the way we farm: to spur economic growth, increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and lessen the environmental impact of agricultural production. The problem is that while lots of data, technologies, techniques and information are being generated by different agricultural research institutions or scientists, they are not getting to the farmer. So the problems continue on farmers’ fields, while the solutions remain with the institutions.
But it is time to open the door on new knowledge and techniques for the farmers in rural areas through different tools like mobile phones, internet, radio and other Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). In many countries farmers are already using these services and tools for getting more information about agriculture.
The agricultural research and innovation knowledge management system is revolutionizing agriculture. Scientists in organizations such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) , Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), the Asian NGO Coalition (for Agrarian and Rural Development – ANGOC), among others are working to develop many different tools. These include technologies like the The Rice Bowl Index (RBI), Plantwise Knowledge Bank, and the Direct2Farm mobile agri-advisory service. Scientists are also working on a ‘soil health card’ which helps the farmer to analyze the soil before planting seedlings.
At the same time, there is a major focus on the importance of assessing agricultural knowledge management systems and their regulatory bodies, current levels of capacities, disparities and trends in investment, as well as software and service tools that will be effective for farmers.
As YPARD members, we can help key agriculture actors get critical information, establish online services, as well as increase farmers’ awareness to such technologies/services.
Blogpost by Papia Jahan, #GCARD3 Social Reporters –papia.jahan(at)yahoo.com
Picture courtesy: Procurious
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Regional Consultation for Asia and Pacific region. This post is written by our social reporters, and represents the authors’ views only.