The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has launched a portal to disseminate farm-related information to improve agricultural productivity and farm income for small and marginal ryots.

Launched in partnership with the e-Extension Centre of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), the ICICI Knowledge Park (IKP) Centre for Advancement in Agricultural Practice (ICAAP), the portal (http://www.advanceagripractice.in) currently provides data on rice, pulses (black gram and green gram), sugarcane, banana, and coconut in the delta region of Tamil Nadu (Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts). It will in due course be scaled up to include data on major commodities such as wheat, cotton, groundnut, tapioca, turmeric, mango, and maize, fodder crops and animal husbandry topics such as cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, and poultry farming as well as tribal agriculture.

“We're aware of the challenges of information dissemination in a lingually diverse country like India. So we will be making available content in regional languages as we move along,” said Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, director of IFPRI's Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office.

In Tamil by year-end

The Tamil content is expected to be ready by the year-end. The IFPRI will also explore various dissemination platforms that are farmer-friendly such as text messages, street plays and bulletins on radio and television.

The data available on the portal includes region specific information such as soil fertility status, potential hydrogen (PH), land use patterns and cropping patterns, availability of high quality agricultural inputs such as certified seeds and fertilizers, news regarding agriculture-related government schemes and agri-credit institutions and information on procurement centres, traders and markets.

The portal also features success stories and case studies highlighting farmers' best practices and experiences that can be emulated. It also seeks to serve as a gateway for knowledge and best practices from the CGIAR (a global research partnership for a food secure future), other international agricultural research centres, and national agricultural research institutes.

Sandeep Saxena, Tamil Nadu Agricultural Production Commissioner and Agriculture Secretary, appreciated the efforts in developing the portal and suggested strategies for promoting this portal on national level. He also urged the need for ICT information on agriculture, and the necessity of reaching all farmers with instant agricultural advice.

C.V. Krishnan, president of the Institute of Financial Management and Research described the portal as a “one-stop source of information from inputs to credit, markets, and prices.”