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Imagen de e-Agriculture
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Question 2

  What type of ICTs are being used and how to make farming practices more environmentally sustainable? Are they effective? What are the biggest constraints?

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ICT enabled Fertilizer recommendation in Bangladesh

Dear All,

Great to see this discussion point and like to share one very interesting experience of Bangladesh.

BIID is promoting ICT enabled information and advisory services for the farmers under our e-Krishok program. One of the service under this program is Fertilizer Recommendation Solution (FRS) which was developed by SRDI, Ministry of Agriculture with support from Katlayst.

The general fertilizer usage in Bangladesh mostly determined by the farmer themselves and sometimes retailers (fertilizer seller) play an importnat role. From different studies and practical experiences of the field, it is observed that farmers are not using proper dose & type due to lack of appropriate knowledge and some other reasons. And it contributes to increase the production cost aw well as harmful for the health & environment.  Thus, the FRS concept enrolled to make an online based solution to guide the farmers to know the right dose and type of fertilizer to be used for the speciifc location & item. Farmers only need to put some basic information about his/her location (to identify the soil type & nature), land size, item (crop) and other features (irrigation, typology etc.). Based on the information, the software will give a Prescription about the fertilizer management inclusing quantity, type and usage details. Farmers can get a printout of this from a telecentre / information centre.

The primary findings categorically showed that FRS suggest lower dose than the existing practices. But due to lack of awareness of the farmers, FRS couldn't  become very popular.

We understand that FRS can be a killer ICT application which can ensure multi-fold benefits to the farmers.

Regards,

Shahid

BIID, Bangladesh

 

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ICT enabled Fertilizer recommendation in Bangladesh

Hi Shahid, thanks for the post. How does FRS compare with the cell phone nutrient management tool for rice of IRRI? (Which is not currently available for Bangladesh). Does FRS do many crops? The IRRI tool is described in brief in another post:

http://www.e-agriculture.org/content/nutrient-manager-rice-mobile-tool-providing-personalized-fertilizer-guidelines-small-scale-r

Am I correct in understanding that the only problem you indicate is lack of knowledge by farmers of the tool?

Rgds, Bruce

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FRS

Hi Bruce,

I am aware of the IRRI Nutrient Management tool and it seems similar objective, but usage wise, I found FRS is much user friendly, specially for the local communities.

Yes, awareness is one of the major constraint and also another part is endorsement of the government. Though FRS is a tool of a govt. institute but the concerned department couldnt communicate the service through the govt. channels like extension.

Regards,

Shahid

 

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FRS

Hi Shahid

After reading your post and your reply to Mr Bruce, i am beginning to believe that there are more constraints than just communication of the initiative. Also, since you said it is a tool of gov't institute, why is awareness a major problem? Does it mean there is ineffective extension service or it is lack of gov't support/finding. What about farmers' acceptability. I think this is one of the critical factors and not awareness. Extension nowadays has gone technological, so a few mobile contact and dissemination can make an impact. Again was farmers' input taken into consideration when developing the initiative?

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FRS

Hi Festus,

From our experience, we count awareness is a major constraint and surely extension is not highly efficient to address all issues in Bangladesh, I am sure, this is similar in Nigeria, like many other African countries.

We dont think that 'FEW' mobile contacts will change the scenario, rather we need comprehensive and long term initiatives to change the social behaviour of farmers.

FRS is mainly the digitization of existing fertilizer usage information & recommendation of the government. And we consulted farmers for developing the interface of the service to ensure uner friendliness. Appreciate if pl share more about the Nigerian experiences on fertilizer usages and scopes to integrate farmers input in this (FRS) process.

Regards,

Shahid

 

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Re: FRS

Hi Festus
You have raised a very valid point and I think to make the scenario clearer I can offer some insights in addition to Mr. Shahid's points, as I am directly working with the FRS project.

First of all considering everything the awareness is one of the most crucial issues but surely not the only issue. If you look the profile of an average farmer in Bangladesh you will find that the acceptance of new technology is very slow. And here making them use a software/ phone call for fertilizer dosage is something very difficult. Because if something goes wrong who would compensate. Also another risk is if may be because of the bad seeds or high moisture or low irrigation the yield is not up to the expected level still the blame would be on FRS. The average rate of accepting new technology is around 13.5% according to Rogers Diffusion of Innovations Theory. And I feel it is less than 5% in Bangladesh, though I dont have any data but just my work and field experiences.

Here let me share an experience of mine, I went to a field visit to see what was the result of using FRS. I met a very young farmer who was studying in university and at the same time was helping his father with farming. He came to know about the software and wanted to use but it his father, who was a farmer for more than 35 years, simply did not listen. According to the father it was absolutely absurd that someone, whom he can’t see only hear over phone, would recommend the exact amount of fertilizer to be used in his land without even seeing his land!! To him it was a ridiculous idea and in his 35 years of career as a farmer he never heard of something so absurd. He would not trust any such thing easily that has a direct impact on his livelihood. I hope this gives you some idea of the difficulty in creating awareness and making farmers use the service.

Of course there are other issues like policy and private sector integration but those are less difficult to solve. Changing attitude of the farmers where a critical mass is needed to gather a momentum to ensure widespread usage of FRS and similar services are yet to be achieved.
From the context of Bangladesh I have shared my experience and the challenge we are facing in facilitating a mindset shift. It would be highly helpful if someone shares experiences of achieving mindset shift or breakthrough in new technology adoption.

Thanks

Asad
 

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tools for other inputs

While most of the site-specific management tools have been for nutrients, we need to realize that farmers need more than fertilizer advice. There is a need to further expand the tools to cover other inputs such as water management. I know that CIMMYT and IRRI has done something in this regard for the Indo-Gangetic Plains, but I am yet to see any such precision tool for Africa or the Middle East where water shortage is a major issue. Is anyone in the forum aware of such technology for these latter regions?

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Irrigation water management

 Currently with a USAID funding working on drip/trickle irrigation management for sub Saharan Africa, strategising on Nigeria. Kind regards.

 

David Ojo, NIHORT, Ibadan

skypename: davidojo1

Mail:drdavidojo@gmail.com

 

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Nano Ganesh for Remote Irrigation Control

Hi All,

I believe there are a host of ICT solutions for environmentally sustainable farming practices but will like to hear your view about Nano Ganesh, especially those who have the experience of using it or seeing it function. Its ability to control water use by farmers and also reduce travelling to and from the field for irrigation - http://agriculture.gbiportal.net/2011/11/21/nano-ganesh-a-mobile-app-for...

Also, you may want to follow this event at our portal that is going to make over 100 ICT solutions for agriculture available to the public for feedback and update after the launch this Friday. We may be able to breakdown some of these solutions into Climate-friendly solutions.

Mapping ICTs Along the Agricultural Value Chain: http://gbiportal.net/2012/02/29/tech-talk-mapping-icts-along-the-ag-valu...

 

Thanks

 

Ben

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climate-friendly solutions

Thanks for sharing Ben. If you could break out some specific examples of solutions that are climate-friendly, that would be greatly appreciated.

Also next Monday the second topic will open looking at ICT applications in risk management, insurance, weather data, etc. I'm sure there will be ICT solutions in the agri value chain map that relate directly to this topic!

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ICT to optimize the use of pesticides

Los agricultores aplican agrotóxicos en exceso o fuera de tiempo, principalmente por no contar con los datos para tomar decisiones:1) estado fenológico de los cultivos, 2) cantidad de plagas o enfermedades y 3) datos meteorológicos. Todos estos factores influyen en el impacto que una plaga o enfermedad puede hacer a un cultivo y define el momento adecuado de la aplicación (Integrated Pest Management).

La Fundación Trazar, en Argentina hemos desarrollado el Sistema FruTIC, que a través de las TIC se favorece la aplicación del " Integrated Pest Management " por parte de los agricultores. El Sistema FruTIC captura datos fenológicos de los diferentes cultivos, la presencia de plagas y enfermedades (en sitios de muestreo territorialmente distribuídos) y los datos de estaciones meteorológicas automáticas. Con estos datos hace correr modelos de impacto de plagas y enfermedades entregando a los agricultores recomendaciones.
Por ahora sólo está disponible para cultivos cítricos (naranja, mandarina, limón, etc.). Lo estamos adaptando a nuevos cultivos.
 

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translation of the above

(quick and dirty translation, but it is good enough to get the points for those who don't read Spanish)

Farmers apply pesticides in excessively or at the wrong time, mainly as a result of not having the data to make decisions: 1) crop growth stage, 2) number of pests or diseases and 3) meteorological data. All these factors influence the impact a pest or disease can have on a crop and defines the timing of application (Integrated Pest Management).

Trace Foundation in Argentina has developed the system FruTIC, that through ICT favors the application of "Integrated Pest Management" by the farmers. The FruTIC system captures phenological data of different crops, the presence of pests and diseases (territorially distributed sampling sites) and data from automatic weather stations. With these data models are run on the impact of pests and diseases, and recommendations delivered to farmers.

For now it is only available for citrus crops (orange, tangerine, lemon, etc..). We are adapting to new cultivars.

[note from the facilitator: for more on FruTIC (in Spanish) see http://www.frutic.org.ar/]

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Challenges

Difficulty to access WWW or limited connectivity, missing electricty power during most of the day or permanently, lack of materials used for ICT-enabled information management and knowledge sharing that address the needs and demands of users are among the key challenges. They can be overcome by service providers that develop reliable rural connectivity, alternative power resources for electricity supply, and by involving from the onset the particular client groups to define what types of information and knowledge will be useful to them.

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Good morning everybody: In

Good morning everybody:

In Peru, despite the fact that agriculture is one of the main productive activities and has recognized its potential for economic and social development, is just beginning to become aware of how to use ICT in this sector. Is currently preferring to increase internet access in rural areas but supplemented with educational projects and agricultural development.
It is important to get budget to incorporate mobile technology, in this role you ask colleagues or anyone interested in such projects contact me and tell me where funding could hustle.

Cordiality

Bertha Garcia Cienfuegos

Peru

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