The Union Government will soon introduce Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems along with various other methodologies of integrating buyer-seller platforms through mobile applications to make mobile telephony the most potent and omnipresent tool for agriculture governance, administration and development, a top Agriculture Ministry official said at an Assocham event held in New Delhi.
“A large, stupendous scope of work is on the anvil to reach out to the farmer and to change his life,” said Raghav Chandra, additional secretary, Ministry of Agriculture while inaugurating a conference on ‘Mobile: Transforming Agricultural Value Chains Enabling e-Kranti,’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
“Increasingly there is the realisation that use of information technology has to become more pervasive and that is perhaps the only way we can achieve the next Green Revolution,” said Chandra.
“That is why a National e-Governance Plan has been carved out also in the field of agriculture, this includes the use of internet, touch screen kiosks, agri-clinics, private kiosks, mass media, common service centres, Kisan Call Centres, integrated platforms and others along with physical outreach of extensional personnel equipped with projectors,” he said.
“Ensuring food security, ensuring sustainability which includes environmental factors and others and ensuring a fair income to the farmers are three key challenges being faced by the country in the agriculture sector,” Chandra further said.
“The government is aggressively involved in dealing with these issues and therefore matching demand and supply, ensuring that there is no unreasonable over-exploitation of natural resources and ensuring viability of agricultural production are some of the key challenges before us which are being tackled and taken up on a very serious note,” he further said.
Talking about the significance of agriculture in India, he said that 13.7 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is contributed by agriculture and 56 percent of India’s population is directly connected with agriculture.
He also said that the government is hopeful of achieving a higher rate of agriculture growth in the 12th Plan. “In the 9th plan we had a rate of growth of 2.5 percent, in the 10th plan of 2.4 percent which has grown to 4.1 per cent in the 11th plan and we are hopeful that we will be able to achieve similar figures in the 12th plan.”
Chandra also said that total volume of foodgrains being produced in the country have been constantly rising as it reached about 265 million tonnes, milk production is a little more than the value of foodgrains and horticulture is again stupendous figure of 285 million tonnes and exports are constantly rising and today they stand at about US $45 billion.