IT's role in agriculture

Before considering how Information Technology can improve agriculture both in terms of its produce as a result of IT strategies, we have to understand what tools should be employed and the infrastructure that is required for making use of IT in an agricultural context.

With IT tools now becoming widely available and are part of a rapidly changing scenario, even in developing countries, it is possible to foresee a wider scale of implementation of IT in agricultural practices.

There are a number of input devices that can be employed in agriculture. Gone are the days of using computers in a limited way, i.e. by only using keyboards and mice. Today’s computers, which employ touch screen facilities, has enabled even rural agricultural communities to make use of these user-friendly devices to register inputs. An important factor is not requiring a farmer to be well versed in a particular language to register his inputs.

With the availability of digital cameras, which are affordable, it is possible to bring farming communities together for easy demonstration of things we would like to teach, with live video, audio and slideshows. Similar is the case of output devices. There are monitors, printers, projection equipment for data dissemination, which can help the agriculturists to develop an interest in using IT based services for their purposes.

The availability of software, the high speed processing systems, the Graphic User Interface (GUI) are known be the standard interfaces for users, which can be deployed to educate farming communities.

We can broadly categorize IT under two different heads, as to its role in agriculture: One, as a tool directly contributing for increasing agricultural produce, and second, a tool for improving the knowledge of farmers so that they deploy these in their activities to generate more crops, understand soil conditions, seed requirements et al.

Precision farming, used in developed regions using direct tools in agriculture, have given good results.

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