Diffusion and Dissemination of Agricultural Knowledge: An e-Communication Model for Rural India

Diffusion and Dissemination of Agricultural Knowledge: An e-Communication Model for Rural India

I.V. Malhan (University of Jammu, India) and Shivarama Rao (Wipro Technologies, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-820-8.ch006
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Almost sixty five percent of Indian population is engaged in agriculture that contributes to food security of the world’s second largest populated country. Though agriculture sector shares 26 percent of GDP, this sector is very crucial for the sustainable growth and development of India. The emerging agricultural challenges demand information intensive agriculture work and applications of state of the art knowledge to enhance agricultural productivity, but non-accessibility of information and subsequently awareness and knowledge gaps that exist in this sector, enormously affect agricultural productivity. Efforts are being made for e-communication of information in rural India. This chapter portrays such efforts of public and private sectors, pinpoints the problem areas for accessibility of latest agricultural knowledge and suggests an e-communication model suitable for transfer of agricultural knowledge in the rural areas of India.
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The world is facing twin challenges of economic growth and food and nutritional security of its inhabitants. Knowledge for enhancing agricultural productivity exists but is confined to limited pockets of populations. Many poor people do not know how to access it and use it to the best advantage of their limited land holdings. They therefore continue to live in misery and deprivation. “Of the world’s 1.09 billion extremely poor peoples about 74 percent (810 million) live in marginal areas and rely on small scale agriculture for their livelihoods” (Bage, 2005). A number of persons form such farming communities are illiterates and are undernourished. This seriously affects their capacities to access knowledge and even work effectively. They are the producers but not the adequate consumers of food because of poverty. “Most of the 842 million undernourished people in the developing world today are from farming families in developing countries” (Prolinnova, n.d.).

Increasing the agricultural productivity with the application of state of the art agricultural knowledge is not only essential for feeding the growing global population but is also linked to improving the economic conditions of people and overall development and growth of the world economy. “Agriculture is a vital development tool for achieving Millennium Development Goal that calls for halving by 2015 the share of people suffering from extreme poverty and hunger. That is the overall message of 2008’s World Development Report (WDR)….The report provides guidance to governments and the international community on designing and implementing agriculture-for-development agenda that makes a difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of rural poor” (World Development Report,2008). There is a great potential for boosting the economy by enhancing the purchasing power of rural populations. This is possible by increasing productivity through knowledge intensive agriculture, focusing development activities in the rural areas through appropriate technologies that will further help in creation of jobs and movement of goods and services in rural areas.

Management of agricultural resources including the agricultural knowledge, building farmers’ capacities and removal of bottlenecks for good governance of agriculture at all levels is essential for increasing the contribution of the agricultural sector in the growth of economy. “To-day, rapidly expanding domestic and global markets; institutional innovations, finance, and collective information technology offer exciting opportunities to use agriculture to promote development. But seizing these opportunities will require the political will to move forward with reforms that improve the governance of agriculture” (World Development Report, 2008).

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