Authors: Palve Gajanand1, D.Karthik2 and S. Kiran Reddy3
1,2,Ph.D. Scholars Division of Agricultural extension, National Dairy Research Institute (N.D.R.I), Karnal, Haryana,India.email@example.com
3, PG student of Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, Assam.
Corresponding email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As an affordable and accessible means of communication, rural communities are realizing the potential of mobile telephony to create economic opportunities and strengthen social networks. Mobile telephony effectively reduces the "distance" between individuals and institutions, making the sharing of information and knowledge easier and more effective. The mobile telephone is no longer just an audio communication tool but capable of providing additional integrated functions. Yet, mobile telephony, like all technologies, does face limitations and challenges. Mobile phones are the success story of bridging the rural digital divide, bringing tangible economic benefits and acting as agents of social mobilization through improved communication.
Mobile phone usage in third world countries is playing a vital role for the enhancement of farmers business towards agriculture. Recently, communication through mobile phones is considered very important in enhancing farmers’ access to better understand agricultural market situation. Farming communities appreciate mobile phone as easy, fast and convenient way to communicate and get prompt answers of respective problems. Nowadays, the mobile phone has generated an opportunity for the farmers especially to get the information about marketing and weather. Through this important technology, they directly keep in touch with market personals and offer their produce with reasonable prices. The use of mobile phone also keep them aware for weather forecast for agriculture input application like fertilizer and pesticides which might be affected by un-fore seen disasters as communicated by metrological department. This device has given new direction and approach to farmers to communicate directly and share about recent advances with each other. The studies showed that mobile phones have saved energy and time of farmers and ultimately improved their income. Mobile phones have provided an opportunity to the farmers to communicate directly with market brokers and customers for sell their product in good price.
The potential role of mobile telephony in agricultural production cannot be underestimated. Mobile telephony can enhance, enlarge and contribute to the efficient sharing of agricultural information on weather reports; farming decisions such as which crop to grow at a particular time of the season, when to plan, what to plant, which agrochemical to use and when to harvest. Newly discovered agricultural practices on timely soil preparation and planting, irrigation methods, weeding methods, cultivation, harvesting and methods of storage that will help farmers improve their productivity can be sent through texts (SMS) or even through direct calls on the mobile phone without the need for travelling down to where these farmers are to deliver face-to-face teaching. Mobile telecommunications technology can help deliver prices and trading information observed that mobile services can facilitate transactions by connecting farmers with various buyers and traders. It can help them in deciding where and what price to sell their produce, and can reduce search costs associated with locating outlets. This in turn will have increased efficiency, increased yields and reduced wastage and have an overall positive effect on farmers’ earning and livelihood. In addition, transportation costs, accident, theft, perishability and frustration among farmers can be reduced through mobile telephony in that farmers can obtain their supplies such as fertilizer, herbicides, improved varieties, etc at their door steps with just a simple Short Message Service (SMS) to producers and suppliers without the need to travel. Farmers can be helped through mobile telephony to strengthen their capabilities to participate and represent their constituencies when negotiating input and output prices, land claims and resource rights. Mobile technology can enable them to interact with stakeholders thus reducing social isolation. Thus, it can widen the perspective of local communities in terms of national or global development.
Application of mobile technologies to help farmers
- Delivers timely information that helps understand and analyze market prices, facilitates trade and informs business decisions;
- Reduces transaction time, travel, and costs by bridging distances and allowing for a more effective use of time;
- Strengthens communications which promote social networks and communities’ progress in health, safety, employment, recreation, and other areas;
- Increases levels of community participation, facilitating an informed decision making process, particularly greater participation from rural women.
- Spreading agricultural related information to farmers in the poorest communities are made easier with the help of cloud computing, integrated IT systems, online education and proliferation of mobile phones. One of the benefits of such connectivity and information flow is that it helps farmers make better land management decisions. For example, it can enable soil condition to be monitored in conjunction with weather information in order to better plan the planting and harvest season.
- Similarly, Geographical Information Systems can be used to provide pre-emptive information on pests and animal diseases so farmers can respond accordingly to the level of risk. Optimizing the use of fertilizer, seeds and water can also be done by utilizing mobile and cloud computing technologies. This helps farmers save money while reducing consumption.
- Rapid growth of mobile telephony and the introduction of mobile-enabled information services provide ways to improve information dissemination to the knowledge intensive agriculture sector and also help to overcome information asymmetry existing among the group of farmers. It also helps, at least partially, to bridge the gap between the availability and delivery of agricultural inputs and agriculture infrastructure.
- To leverage the full potential of information dissemination enabled by mobile telephony along with supporting infrastructure and capacity building amongst farmers it is essential to ensure the quality of information, its timeliness and trustworthiness.
- Mobile phones have been spreading fast among farmers and they are exchanging their marketing, weather and business information among each other. Farmers directly contact markets brokers and near cities for sell their product. Similarly farmers focus, search useful and up-to-date market information from social and business networks. It could prove that mobile phone was very powerful tool in providing basic information about agriculture.
Mobile phone and weather information
Information and communication technology could play an important and potential role in increase the reach of agricultural extension. in the terms of the India where farmers explore the use of a voice message forum to provide interactive and access to appropriate and timely agricultural knowledge and information from experts by use of mobile phone. Now mobile phones are being adopted by rural communities in India to get information about weather disaster as well as pesticides.
Limitations of the mobile technology
In many rural areas, access to conventional electricity sources is very limited, which can limit the effective use of mobile telephony. This is further compounded by incompatibility between the charging devices of different mobile phones. However, alternative energy sources to potentially resolve this limitation exist, such as solar/photovoltaic energy and rechargeable batteries using dynamos. Limitations to the display and collection of data in the field may also be experience due to small screens and relatively complex interfaces of some mobile phones.
Increasing mobile phone and mobile phone based services enhances the availability to knowledge and information and will further help in improving awareness, education, better adoption of technology, better health and efficiency, reduced transaction costs, better market efficiencies, etc. These in turn will catalyze the rural sector development and economic growth. Mobile phone is increasing among farmers but still there is gap available among business, customers and farmers. There is need of enhancement different project about mobile phone technologies where farmers could get easy access to communicate with people to sell their goods in market. The government and other related department should also plan to reach these farmers and provide latest information about seed, weather and market on the time and provide good price of their product.
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