Changing patterns of IT inputs for agriculture

Some developing nations like India, with the intervention of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have de-regulated agriculture, which has made IT important in the decision making process.

In the changing patterns of IT needs, information needs can be categorized as Awareness Databases, one, which improve understanding of role of IT in agriculture; secondly, systems that support decisions which enable farmers to indulge in SWOT analysis and take appropriate decisions, and thirdly engage in alliances which will ultimately benefit the farmers. Additionally, farmers should be encouraged to keep themselves abreast of fresh opportunities, and availability of monitoring facilities to take corrective actions when something goes wrong.

The awareness database should be free of rhetoric and a jargonized information. If you are adopting the language used by the WTO, it is necessary for local experts to rephrase the jargons to the understanding levels of common farmers, who should also bring out how this will affect their traditional methods followed in agricultural activities.

Secondly, systems supporting decisions of farmers should be formed keeping in view the reality of an ordinary farmer being afraid of taking risks. He should be made to apprehend how he stands to gain by adopting new methods and how subsidies offered for export of crops are not to his benefit, and without them he can make his produce more competitive.

The local community should be encouraged to undertake SWOT analysis and compare the difference that would be derived by adopting the new patterns of inputs in agricultural activity. A farming community should be advised of specialization, which can lead to better exports, apart from posting them with data of possible threats which may relate to cheaper imports.

Third aspect relates to efforts towards the collective benefit. Small time farmers have a natural disadvantage of small size of land holdings, and if they can pool up this resource the exports can be better, for which IT plays a very great role, and complex systems based on IT have to be developed which should of course be supported by real infrastructure development on the ground.

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