Modern farming has created information gaps between the farmers and “experts/scientists” who provide support to farmers in their farming activities. The farmer has questions about what are the best crops to grow, when to grow, how to grow, how to handle crop diseases, when to harvest and, when and where to sell. While the farmer has the best knowledge about his/her farm/soil/crop at any point of time, experts have a better understanding about new seeds, fertilizers, pesticides as also about farming practices to be followed – they are also linked to providers of finance who can help farmers in need of investment. It is therefore crucial that for all the agriculture operations undertaken by farmers right from crop choice to marketability (this will include storage, transportation and logistics needs) location specific information be provided in a simple, acceptable and timely manner.
The Agricultural Exploratory Initiatives at RTBI are involved in developing solutions using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for providing this kind of information in a sustainable and accessible manner such that an environment for more remunerative agriculture can be created for farmers. We are also trying to understand and surmount the challenges that face the ICT movement in Indian agriculture so that our initiatives can have a truly significant impact on the farming community.