With the proliferation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in every field, agriculture is not one to be left behind. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University for one, has developed a host of ICT tools, which are used by farmers on an everyday basis. The university is constantly upgrading its tools for agriculture and agricultural education, and also seeks ways of disseminating the same.
In a fillip to this effort, it is hosting a 21-day Summer School on ‘Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Initiatives for Inclusive Agricultural Development’, sponsored by The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The school, organised by the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology of TNAU, from July 3 to 23, has 25 agricultural extension scientists from 11 States attending it at TNAU.
Ravi Kumar Theodore, Head of the Department and Course Director, says that the summer school is sort of a train-the-trainer programme where the extension scientists, agricultural faculty, members of non-Governmental organisations, and Krishi Vigyan Kendra staff, are taught the latest technology in ICT and the use of tools.
“They will learn the ones that are being used by TNAU so that they can go back to their respective areas of work and develop ICT tools based on their needs. These tools are focussed on dissemination of agricultural information to farmers, extension workers and also agriculture students,” he adds.
The training includes sessions on various ICT-based tools used for agriculture and field visits to experimental areas of TNAU and lands of farmers where ICT is being implemented.
Vice-Chancellor of K. Ramasamy says that appropriate extension models using ICT tools and traditional folk media need to be handled in tandem to disseminate agricultural information for promoting the adoption of scientific agricultural practices among farmers.
“The ICT-based extension model is proposed to be introduced in four districts of Tamil Nadu. Under this programme, all extension officials of the Department of Agriculture will be given computer tablets with GPS for offering timely extension advisory services to farmers. Officials will use the tablets to send crop status images to experts. TNAU will set up a cell to monitor the images and Krishi Vigyan Kendras will be provided with Internet connectivity to solve farm problems,” he says.