India has a very unique quality as far as multinational companies are concerned, the country is a production house of technological talents. The number of Indian techies around the globe confirm it. As well India has developed as a technologically sound country, technology is almost everywhere, but not much in farming sector. Apparently the opportunities and business potential in this sector is countless. The agriculture sector in India still depends on the traditional old school techniques in farming. The reasons for this may vary, most farmers are comfortable with the techniques they rely on since ages, and the literacy rate among the Indian farmers are low (even though the scenario is changing). There are, for sure, not much researches conducted in the sector to analyze the feasibility of using technologies from farming. But the idea still holds immense potential.
Digitalization or computerized farming demands more effort from the techies. Both technological computer platforms and on field technologically aided machineries are essential for technology based farming. Unlike other sectors the final output at the end of the day is food products, apart from that the climate, pest attacks, and natural calamities make the farming business at a precarious state. Apparently, even now, the lion share of the farmers hand record the significant data like production data, cost accounting and other vital data regarding farming. This routine have multiple drawbacks; it is hard to collect organize, recall and analyze the data when needed. Most of the Agriculture Department offices in India is computerized, so hand recording the data will double the job of the officials as well. Here lies the potential benefit of computerized data documentation and accessibility; an IT solution which comprehends all these services will be a boon to farmers and the youth who admires farming.
This review is a keen attempt to create an awareness among farmers regarding technology adoption success factors. The review is an analytical approach to the success rate in adopting a farm management technique via a central web based portal. This web application enables the farmers to utilize different services like, recording of the production activities, monitoring, quantifying and pricing them; making cultivation decisions and following the product marketing etc. This portal was an attempt to introduce a user friendly and cheap tool to attain the benefits derived from computerizing records and information regarding farm management or farming practices. A significant advantage is its simplicity and the ability to log events as they occur. The user has easy access to the details of each and every activity as they are registered and related to documented data. Reports are easily formulated enabling ongoing support for necessary decisions.
Major Predicaments in Technology Adoption
In spite of technological advancements, agriculture sector will always be under uncertainty; crops can always be affected by a lot of external factors like climate, pest attacks, and unorganized farming etc. This precariousness is a major challenge while creating agricultural technologies, the results will tend to be stochastic as well. A benefit of information technology is embedded in the organization’s products by turning capital and information inputs to higher-value outputs. The general approach is that information technology can be defined as a managerial resource similar to other resources. However, focusing exclusively on information technology or an information system is a supply perspective that assumes that if information is made more easily available and accessible people will use and share it. This is a doubtful assumption. As a result the existence of information technology does not assure successful adoption or adoption at all.
Normally in India the farm owner has the sole responsibility in controlling and supervising the production while dealing with all the other aspects of farming. The farm management is a hideous task which makes the farmer’s life hectic, leaves him with little time to get acquainted with the computerized information management, let alone acquire proficiency in it. However the adoption and acceptance of the technology directly depends on how convinced they are about the benefits of information technology implementation in farming. Other hindrance like traditional conservatism, lack of infrastructure, difficulties in technical access were also addressed, considered and mentioned while the portal was developed.
Agri- Portal Development Stages
It was in the year 2014 when the Department of Agriculture under Government of Kerala took an initiative to develop a completely unique farm information package for the social cause of organic farming. The IT solution was developed by OrisysIndia Consultancy Services. However the program development had been relinquished due to limited program maintenance funds and other shortcomings. Over the time decision was made to use the available extension personnel to redevelop a better information system.
By mid-2014 the first version of the agri- portal was all ready for test use. The acceptance of the program was fairly good and after the testing incremental program updating was needed. Even though the first edition was success, the training for the farmers and useful on farm visit to create a positive awareness about the product was relevant to expedite further development of the program. Interaction with farmers not only helped in contributing to the ongoing updating process and system upgrading, but also played a catalyst in spreading the useful application among more and more farmers and people in agri- business.
The second version of the program had been released by the last quarter of 2014. In 2015 the full-fledged system was opened for public and this version is currently being used with online information updating.
Over the years the system had more than 1 million users. Recently it was estimated that 60% of them are actually public users and 40% of them were either farmers or agri-business providers. A recent random telephone survey indicated that the ratio of sellers as compared to buyers is now close to 60%.This ratio compares favorably with other similar commercial information systems packages, which have a smaller number of clients.
The product acquired remarkable success in its mission. Now this portal is a complete guide for farmers, the application comprises multiple services and is linked with almost every agricultural offices. The application is going through regular updating and recent researches shows that the portal meets the demands of its users and is much user-friendly.
The system will also function as an online market for agricultural products, users can buy or sell their products directly through the web application. As well, krishi.info is a comprehension of weather forecasts, links of agricultural institutions, details of agricultural universities, farm library and lot more.
Thus it can be said that implementing a single platform for agriculture is a remarkable initiative and it runs successfully among the beneficiaries.