Chennai, Tamil Nadu– The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in partnership with the e-Extension Centre of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), launched the Advancing Agricultural Practice portalhttp://www.advanceagripractice.in for the ICICI Knowledge Park (IKP) Centre for Advancement in Agricultural Practice (ICAAP) , a subsidiary of IKP Trust, Chennai today. It aims to improve agricultural productivity and farm income for smallholder farmers across India through improvements in agricultural practice. This agricultural knowledge management portal serves as a gateway for knowledge and best practices from the CGIAR (a global research partnership for a food secure future), other international agricultural research centers, and national agricultural research institutes.
Designed to respond to the information needs of local knowledge intermediaries such as research scientists, extension professionals, farmers associations, NGO staff, and agricultural entrepreneurs, the portal provides information that will benefit both small and marginal farmers directly through improved extension services, and indirectly through the improved use of information by intermediary organizations.
The portal currently provides data on rice, pulses (black gram and green gram), sugarcane, banana, and coconut in the delta region of Tamil Nadu (Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts). It will be scaled up in the coming year to include data on major commodities such as wheat, cotton, groundnut, tapioca, turmeric, mango, and maize; on fodder crops; and on animal husbandry topics such as cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, and poultry farming; as well as tribal agriculture.
The data available on the portal includes:
- region specific information such as soil fertility status, potential hydrogen (PH), land use patterns and cropping patterns;
- availability of high quality agricultural inputs such as certified seeds and fertilizers;
- news regarding agriculture-related government schemes and agri-credit institutions; and
- information on procurement centers, traders and markets.
The portal also features success stories and case studies highlighting farmers’ best practices and experiences that can be emulated by other farmers. Studies show that farmers adopt practices they learn from progressive farmers and input dealers more than from any other source.
Sandeep Saxena, Tamil Nadu agricultural production commissioner and secretary, appreciated the efforts of the IKP trust, IFPRI, and TNAU in developing the portal and suggested strategies for promoting this portal on national level. Saxena urged the need for ICT information on agriculture, and the necessity of reaching all farmers with instant agricultural advice.
C. V. Krishnan, president of the Institute of Financial Management and Research described the portal as a “one-stop source of information from inputs to credit, markets, and prices.”
“We are trying to bridge the gap,” said E. Vadivel, project officer at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. “And increasing the use of ICT in reaching out to the farmers will be effective in providing knowledge and information and thus a useful tool to support extension.”
Targeting smallholder farmers requires specialized content, approach, and delivery mechanisms, as smallholders have different information needs and rely mostly on interpersonal sources. These farmers may lack motivation and interest, so timely delivery and reliability of information will be important.
“The information provided will help farmers to adopt best practices,” explained Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, director of IFPRI’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, “so they can increase their yields and incomes, and improve their livelihoods.”
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty. IFPRI was established in 1975 to identify and analyze alternative national and international strategies and policies for meeting the food needs of the developing world, with particular emphasis on low-income countries and on the poorer groups in those countries. It is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. www.ifpri.org.
IKP Centre for Advancement in Agricultural Practices (ICAAP) is jointly owned by IKP Trust (51%) and IFMR Trust (49%) (www.ifmr.co.in) and is a Company under Section 25 of the Companies Act (1956). It aims to improve agricultural productivity and farm income in India for small-holder farmers through improvements in agricultural practices, by acting as a bridge between the knowledge available at research laboratories and academia and organizations that directly interact with small-holder farmers. http://www.ikptrust.org.in/ikp-centre-for-advancement-in-agricultural-practice.html
Vaishali Dassani, IFPRI, +91 9810020635
Senthil Kumar, IFPRI, +91 9943989830