ICT in Agriculture
ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications medium such as the radio, television, cell phone, computers, satellite technology; internet including email, instant messaging, video conferencing and social networking websites which have made it possible for users across the world to communicate with each other to give users quick access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures.
Agriculture is an important sector with the majority of the rural population in developing countries depending on it. The sector faces major challenges of enhancing production in a situation of dwindling natural resources necessary for production. The growing demand for agricultural products, however, also offers opportunities for producers to sustain and improve their livelihoods. Information and communication technologies paly an important role in addressing these challenges and uplifting the livelihoods of the rural poor.
Advantage of ICT in Agriculture:
The benefits of ICTs for increased agricultural productivity and strengthening the Agricultural sector include timely and updated information on agriculture related issues such as new varieties release, emergence of new threats such as diseases, weather forecast, pricing control, warning alerts etc.
ICT in enhancing agricultural productivity:
- Understanding and addressing global agriculture developments both advantageous and disadvantages are critical to improving smallholder livelihoods, in which ICT can play a major role.
- The continued increase in globalization and integration of food markets has intensified competition and efficacy in the agriculture sector, and has brought unique opportunities to include more smallholders into supply chains.
- Agriculture faces a range of modern and serious challenges, particularly in developing countries exposed to price shocks, climate change, and continued deficiencies in infrastructure in rural areas.
Use of ICT in Agriculture:
- Increasing efficiency, productivity and sustainability of small scale farms.
- Information about pest and disease control, especially early warning systems, new varieties, new ways to optimize production and regulations for quality control.
- Better of markets resulting from informed decisions about future crops and commodities and best time and place to sell and buy goods.
- Up-to-date market information on prices for commodities, inputs and consumer trends.
- Strengthen capacities and better representation of their constituencies when negotiating input and output prices, land claims, resource rights and infrastructure projects.
- Reduce social isolation, widen the perspective of local communities in terms of national or global developments, open up new business opportunities and allow easier contact with friends and relatives.