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ICT: the way forward for farm extension

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[News]

The contribution of agricultural extension to production ranges from around 17% in paddy to 40%  in commercial crops, according to S. Ayyappan, Director-General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). However, while scientific and technological innovations had been significant in the area of agriculture, communicating these to farmers had been the greatest challenge to farm extension workers. According to Ayyappan, there are 60 crore farmers to be reached, and countless languages involved.

Therefore, ICT could prove an important tool in agricultural extension. For instance, the Kisan Call Centre, had proved hugely popular and had received around 30 crore messages from farmers in a year and a half. “It is a different matter that farmers complain that the [call centre] number is busy all the time,” he said.

“Without ICT, the recent cyclones could have proved disastrous,” he added.

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