SEPTEMBER 20, 2012
Farmers Associates of Pakistan (FAP) is in the process of developing the country’s first-ever farmers’ call centre, enabling the farming community get access to latest agriculture and trade information.
Dr Mohammad Tariq Bucha, president of the Farmers Associates of Pakistan, said that the organisation is also promoting an electronic agriculture environment in Pakistan: “Farmers will be provided with the latest information through text messages, emails, FM radio and television channels, while mobile van system will also be introduced,” he said.
Initially, the project would be launched in Punjab, which would later be extended to Sindh and other provinces.
Bucha said that in the absence of such a system, growers sold their crop at lower rates but, under the e-agriculture project, they would get better prices as it would help them get relevant information regarding agro-inputs, crop production technologies, agro-processing, market support, agro-finance and management of farm agri-business.
Ahmad Jawad, chief executive officer of Harvest Tradings, said that the information technology provided appropriate and location-specific technologies for the farmers to furnish timely and proficient advice. For agricultural extension management, the role of information technology can be encouraged for future resource documentation.
The crop forecasting, input management, command area management, watershed management, land and water resources development, drinking water potential mapping precision management, natural disaster management, fishery management, hill area development and post-harvest management were the key areas, where the information technology could play its imperative impact.
Jawad said that the information and communication technologies could generate new openings to bridge the gap between haves and the have-nots in the developing countries.
“There are many possibilities of integration of ICT in agriculture and rural development,” he said. This technology provides an opportunity to the developing nations and underdeveloped nations so that they can build up their strategies and compete with the developed nations.
“Information is the key in every sector for development. Agriculture is not an exception. It helps take timely action, prepare strategies for the next season or year, speculate the market changes and avoid unfavourable circumstances,” said Jawad.