E-Agriculture is a new area of knowledge emerging out of the convergence of IT and farming techniques. It enhances the agricultural value chain through the application of the Internet and related technologies. IT helps farmers to have better access to information which increases productivity. It also enables him to get better prices through the information of changes in price in different markets.
The information related to policies and programs of the government, schemes for farmers, institutions through which these schemes are implemented, innovations in agriculture, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Institutions providing new agricultural inputs(high yielding seeds, new fertilizers etc) and training in new techniques are disseminated to farmers through the use of Information technology to ensure inclusiveness and to avoid digital divide.
The advantages of E-Agriculture are –
- Better and spontaneous agricultural practices.
- Better marketing exposure and pricing.
- Lessening of agricultural risks and enhanced incomes.
- Better awareness and information.
- Enhanced networking and communication.
- Facility of online trading and e-commerce.
- Better representation at various forums, authorities and platform.
- E-agriculture can play vital role in the increased food production and productivity in India.
Access to price information, access to agriculture information, access to national and international markets, increasing production efficiency and creating a ‘conducive policy environment’ are the beneficial outcomes of e-Agriculture which enhances the quality of life of farmers.
Soil Management, Water Management, Seed Management, Fertilizer Management, Pest Management, Harvest Management and Post-Harvest Management are the important components of e-Agriculture where technology aids farmers with better information and alternatives. It uses a host of technologies like Remote Sensing, Computer Simulation, Assessment of speed and direction of Wind, Soil quality assays, Crop Yield predictions and Marketing using IT.
In India, there have been several initiatives by State and Central Governments to meet the various challenges facing the agriculture sector in the country. The E-Agriculture is part of the Mission Mode Project, which has been included in NeGP (under National E-governance Plan) to consolidate the various learnings from the past, integrate all the diverse and disparate efforts currently underway, and upscale them to cover the entire country.
In the framework of agriculture, the impact of information technology can be evaluated broadly under two categories. First, Information technology is a tool for direct contribution to agricultural productivity and secondly, it is an indirect tool for empowering agriculturalists to make informed and quality decisions that will have a positive impact on the agriculture and allied activities conducted. Precision agriculture which is popular in developed countries broadly uses information technology to make a direct contribution to agricultural efficiency.
It is well recognized that E-Agriculture is a developing field focusing on the augmentation of agricultural and rural development through better information and communication processes. More precisely, e-Agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies in the rural area, with a primary focus on agriculture.
Information technology can aid Indian farmers to get significant information regarding agro-inputs, crop production technologies, agro-processing, market support, agro-finance and management of farm agri-business. The agricultural extension tool is becoming dependent on Information technology to provide appropriate and location-specific technologies for the farmers to provide timely and proficient advice to the farmers. Information technology can be the best means not only to develop agricultural extension but also to expand agriculture research and education system.
Information and communication technologies can enhance the agricultural sector in developing countries by functioning as pioneering solutions to agricultural challenges. Information technology is drastically changing the lives of humans in all areas including the agriculture sector. Information technology use computers along with telecommunication equipment for the retrieval, storage, transmission and manipulation of data, which are aimed to improve competence in the agriculture sector.