Noted economist Abdul Aziz said on Monday that adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) as part of modern technological practices, is an ideal solution to tackle the problem of stagnation of agricultural output as it could help increase output without increasing production costs.
Participating at a national conference on ‘Information and communication technologies for agriculture and rural development’, jointly organised by the Karnataka State Higher Education Council and the Tumkur University in Bangalore, Prof. Aziz said the rural economy had suffered due to stagnation in agricultural output, decrease in employment and income-generation activities. Besides, the spiralling prices of foodgrains had affected the weaker sections.
“If you try to accelerate capital formation by increasing investments, it may increase agricultural output. But in the present circumstances, such an increase in output will come about only when there is a continuous rise in prices,” he said, while adding, “As you try to get more output through more investments, there is a possibility that this output will come with increasing prices. Hence this may not be an ideal solution.”
According to him, adoption of modern technology is the ideal solution to increase agricultural output without triggering increase in costs. He made it clear the ICT should be a major component of such modern technological practices.
Necessary information should be given to farmers and farm entrepreneurs at the time of sowing on what to grow, and also at the time of harvesting on where to market and how to market, he suggested.
Internet as tool
In this regard, he called for exploring the option of using the Internet as a tool for effective and swift communication.
Pointing out that a large number of rural families do not have access to modern communication tools, he warned that leaving them out of the information network would lead to further widening of not only economic inequality, but also social inequality.
To tackle this problem, he called for setting up village panchayat-level communication centres and also taking up a programme to impart computer literacy to village people.
Promoting ICT in the agriculture and rural sector would help take the benefits of economic growth to the grassroots, besides increasing the standard of living of the weaker sections, he felt.
Monitoring crop health
Mangalore University’s marine geology professor Gangadhara Bhatt dwelt on how remote sensing techniques could be used for the development of agriculture, including monitoring of crop health.
Use Internet as a tool for effective and swift communication: Abdul Aziz ‘Leaving rural families without access to modern communication tools will stem their growth’
Use Internet as a tool for effective and swift communication: Abdul Aziz
‘Leaving rural families without access to modern communication tools will stem their growth’